21 August 2015
Visitors have just one month left to see the Bodleian Libraries' stunning Marks of Genius exhibition at the newly-refurbished Weston Library.
Closing on 20 September, the exhibition has already broken its own visitor targets, attracting more than 350,000 visitors to the Weston Library since the building opened to the public in March 2015.
Described by the Financial Times as a showcase of 'some of the textual cornerstones of civilisation,' Marks of Genius explores how people, ideas, and moments of genius have left their mark on papyrus, parchment and paper over the centuries. The exhibition of 130 objects, displayed across two stylish new galleries, includes the work of some of the giants of science, literature, music, philosophy, theology, art and politics, from the brilliance of Shakespeare to the scientific innovation of Isaac Newton and British Nobel Prize winner Dorothy Hodgkin.
'We're delighted at the response to our Marks of Genius exhibition,'’ said Richard Ovenden, Bodley's Librarian. 'We encourage visitors to make the most of the last few weeks of the show to enjoy the astonishing books, manuscripts and documents displayed in our new Weston Library, and to share the sense of the power of ideas that have shaped our world over the last 2000 years that you can see from these exhibits.'
Visitors have flocked to see a 1217 Magna Carta engrossment featured in the exhibition and have marvelled at the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, the First Folio, and the iconic Gough Map, believed to be the earliest map of the UK.
There's just a few weeks left to see this line up of treasures from the Bodleian's collections, some of which have never been on public display before. The majority of items in Marks of Genius will not be on display at the Bodleian for some years to come once the exhibition closes.
Marks of Genius has been a popular draw for Oxford residents as well as tourists, attracting visitors from more than 30 countries to the Weston Library, which opened to the public on 21 March following a three-year, £80m transformation by Wilkinson Eyre Architects. Thanks to the exhibition's popularity, the Weston Library is now on track to receive more than 800,000 visitors this year, more than twice the number of visitors originally anticipated.
The exhibition has received high praise from members of the public. The Weston Library and Marks of Genius received a 98 percent satisfaction rating from visitors, according to a survey conducted by the Bodleian Libraries in June. Visitors have called the exhibition 'an astonishing exhibition all round' and 'an exhibition of some of the most important books ever to see the light of day!'
Before opening as the inaugural exhibition at the Weston Library, Marks of Genius ran at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York in 2014, where it was extremely well received and was described by The New York Times as 'the history of awesome in one room.'
Marks of Genius is accompanied by a dedicated website, allowing visitors to explore digital versions of the exhibits and browse them by theme, date and on a map. A 360-page catalogue, Marks of Genius: Masterpieces from the Collections of the Bodleian Libraries by the exhibition's curator Stephen Hebron is also available. Visitors can also print high quality digital reproductions of the exhibits in Marks of Genius through the Bodleian Shops' print-on-demand service.
Following the closure of Marks of Genius on 20 September, the Weston Library will host two exhibitions opening later in the year. Armenia: Masterpieces from an Enduring Culture opens on 23 October in the ST Lee Gallery. In the Treasury gallery a selection of the Libraries' finest treasures will be on display, opening in December. For more information, visit www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/whatson.