Books Held by Kings

Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination

an exhibition at the British Library, London, November 11, 2011–March 13, 2012
Catalog of the exhibition by Scot McKendrick, John Lowden, and Kathleen Doyle
London: British Library, 448 pp., $65.00 (distributed by the University of Chicago Press)

A reader climbing the great staircase of the British Library’s modern premises near St. Pancras Station in London is confronted suddenly by that wonderful building’s most wonderful feature. Behind the glass walls of an internal tower six stories high, more than 60,000 sumptuously bound books stretch upward, shelf upon shelf, a cliff-face of leather and gilt lettering gleaming softly through the tinted glass. In that architectural coup de théâtre, a world of learning serves as the visible core of a building created to contain all the learning of the world.

This article is available to subscribers only.
Please choose from one of the options below to access this article:

If you already have one of these subscriptions, please be sure you are logged in to your nybooks.com account. If you subscribe to the print edition, you may also need to link your web site account to your print subscription. Click here to link your account services.