King Henry's Prayer book in British Library Exhibition

Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination until 13 March 2012

A new British Library exhibition was opened by Her Majesty the Queen on 10 November, displaying the Library's impressive Royal collection, a treasure trove of illuminated manuscripts collected by the kings and queens of England between the 9th and 16th centuries.

Designed to show the taste, piety, wealth and power of the monarchs, these books were gifts or commissions and they reveal a great deal about the monarchy in medieval times, and even the individual kings and queens.

Several manuscripts have been picked out as especially important by the British Library curators, including a number commissioned by Edward IV and the private Prayer Book of Henry VIII. This latter book was recreated in a stunning facsimile by The Folio Society in 2009 to mark the 500th anniversary of his accession to the throne. The prayerbook is annotated in the king's own hand in the margin - revealing his innermost thoughts, while the portraits he commissioned identify him with King David. See our facsimile here.

The exhibition contains many masterpieces, and also has sections explaining how Edward IV's collection paved the way for the British Library itself. Those who can't attend might want to enjoy the free app offered by the British Library! Find out more about the exhibition here.

last modified: Tue, Nov 29th 2011Bookmark and Share
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