Bringing together spectacular illuminated manuscripts, unique records and stunning archaeological objects, Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War (19 October 2018 to 19 February 2019) will provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity to encounter original evidence from a period when the foundations of the kingdom of England were laid and the English language was used and written down for the first time.

From the illuminated Lindisfarne Gospels to a unique manuscript of Beowulf and the earliest surviving will written by a woman in England, the exhibition will reveal the significant role manuscripts played in the transmission of ideas, religion, literature and artistic influences throughout England and across political and geographical boundaries.

Manuscripts from the British Library’s outstanding Anglo-Saxon collections will be presented alongside a number of exceptional loans, some of which will be on public display for the first time in the UK.  Exhibition highlights include:

  • Codex Amiatinus, one of three giant single-volume Bibles made at the monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow in the north-east of England in the early eighth century and taken to Italy as a gift for the Pope in 716, will be returning to England for the first time in more than 1300 years, on loan from the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence
  • Domesday Book, the most famous book in English history and earliest surviving public record, on loan from the National Archives, provides unrivalled evidence for the landscape and administration of late Anglo-Saxon England
  • The four principal manuscripts of Old English poetry will be on display together for the first time, as the British Library’s unique manuscript of Beowulf will be displayed alongside the Vercelli Book on loan from the Biblioteca Capitolare in Vercelli, the Exeter Book on loan from Exeter Cathedral Library and the Junius Manuscript on loan from the Bodleian Library
  • The St Cuthbert Gospel, the oldest intact European book with its original binding, which was acquired by the British Library in 2012 following the Library’s most ambitious and successful fundraising campaign for an acquisition
  • A number of major objects from the Staffordshire Hoard, found in 2009, including the pectoral cross and the inscribed gilded strip, on loan from Birmingham Museums Trust and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent

Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War will highlight a highly developed culture, deeply connected with its continental neighbours, and will explore the wide European connections of Anglo-Saxon England, from Ireland in the west to the eastern Mediterranean, as well as the sophisticated skill and craftsmanship of the artwork produced during the time. 

The exhibition will be accompanied by a full programme of events, which can be found on the British Library’s What’s On pages.

Group bookings:

Group visits (10 people or more) will receive a 10% discount on the ticket price, as well as special offers in the British Library’s on-site restaurant and cafés.

Bespoke group visits including a 20 minute introduction and entry to the exhibition are available Monday to Friday at £20 per person (subject to availability, no concession discounts permitted).  Please contact visit-tours@bl.uk to book. 

More information can be found here: www.bl.uk/groups

Exhibition ticket prices:

Full Price: £16.00
Member: £0.00
Senior 60+: £14.00
Student: £8.00
Registered Unemployed: £8.00
Disabled: £8.00
National Art Pass: £8.00

National Art Pass Senior: £7.00
Child 0-4: £0.00
Child 5-17: £5.00