TREASURES OF LAMBETH PALACE LIBRARY - 400TH ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION 1610-2010 400 years since its foundation, Lambeth Palace Library offers the public a fascinating exhibition opening in London at Lambeth Palace's Great Hall.
News-Antique.com - Feb 08,2010 - To celebrate 400 years since its foundation, Lambeth Palace Library offers the public a fascinating exhibition 'Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library - 400th Anniversary Exhibition 1610-2010', opening in London at Lambeth Palace's Great Hall from Monday 17 May until Friday 23 July 2010. The exhibition reveals centuries of history and hints at the depth and intellectual value of the items in the Library's care, some of which will be on display for the first time. It draws from the incomparably rich and diverse collections of manuscripts, archives and printed books, built up over the past four centuries. Richard Bancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1604 until his death in 1610, bequeathed his extensive collection of printed books and manuscripts “to the Arch-Bishops of Canterbury successively for ever,” resulting in the formation of Lambeth Palace Library.
On show are key items collected during Lambeth Palace Library's four hundred years as a working library, beginning with the founding collection owned and used by Archbishop Bancroft as his ‘theological arsenal’ in a time of religious controversy and as a scholar and patron of learning. Treasures include a Gutenberg Bible (Mainz, 1455), the first book printed in Western Europe from movable metal type; the 12th century Lambeth Bible, regarded as one of the monuments of Romanesque art; some unique witchcraft tracts collected by Bancroft through his interest in debates over diabolic possession and exorcism and Henry Jacob, To the right high and mightie Prince, Iames ... An humble suppliation for toleration, (Middleborough 1609), annotated angrily by King James I .
Founding collection treasures include manuscripts from the dissolved monasteries of Christ Church Canterbury and St Augustine's in Canterbury, Llanthony Priory and Waltham Abbey. Many books and manuscripts are linked with great names of the past – a set of the works of Aristotle, printed in Venice between 1495 and 1498, was owned by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, favourite of Queen Elizabeth I - handwritten inscriptions on each title page are thought to represent the entwined cipher signature of Elizabeth and Leicester; and King Richard III's 15th century manuscript Book of Hours, which was in his tent at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485.
In the 17th century, further manuscripts and books were added to the Library, including an account of Archbishop Laud’s trial, which had belonged to King Charles I and is inscribed ‘Dum spiro spero’ (‘While I breathe I have hope'). Others included George Carew’s papers on Irish history and journals of Elizabethan and Jacobean voyages to the Americas.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, the collections developed with the addition of historical treasures such as the 9th century Macdurnan Gospelbook, manufactured in Ireland during the early Middle Ages and owned by King Athelstan
of Wessex (reigned 924-939), a masterpiece of Insular book production; Greek manuscripts dating from the 10th century, many in their original Byzantine bindings; and physicians’ reports on the illness of King George III.
An important development in 1964 was the establishment of the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library.