Current and upcoming exhibitions

Current exhibitions

Image of a Suffrage postcard

Sappho to Suffrage: women who dared

6 March 2018 - February 2019

Weston Library, Oxford

Pirates and poets; suffragettes and explorers - exhibition celebrating the achievements of women who dared to do the unexpected. Sappho to Suffrage showcases some of the Bodleian's most remarkable and treasured items.

 Bilbo comes to the huts of raft elves

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth

1 June - 28 October 2018

Weston Library, Oxford

This exhibition will explore the full breadth of Tolkien's unique literary imagination from his creation of Middle-earth, the imagined world where The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and his other works are set, to his life and work as an artist, poet, medievalist and scholar of languages.

For the first time since the 1950s, an unprecedented array of Tolkien materials from the UK and the USA will be reunited in Oxford and displayed together in this seminal exhibition. Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth will feature manuscripts, artwork, maps, letters and artefacts from the Bodleian's foremost Tolkien Archive, the Tolkien Collection at Marquette University in the USA and from private collections. The exhibition will delight both Tolkien fans as well as scholars, families and visitors of all ages.

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Current displays

 Articles of Glass by WH Fox Talbot - IV. Articles of Glass [on three shelves], June 1844


Articles of glass

21 July - 9 September 2018

Blackwell Hall, Weston Library

Around 1844 pioneering photographer WH Fox Talbot produced a photograph of glassware for his book The Pencil of Nature. On show will be the award winning work of artist Cornelia Parker who in 2016 borrowed that same glassware and produced a series of photogravure etchings in response to Fox Talbot's experimental work.

 Curious Cabniets display poster

Curious Cabinets

9 June - 27 August 2018

Proscholium, Bodleian Library

How did the cabinet of literature open a curious world of science, history, and language? Through exploration of John Marshall’s Child's Library, a cabinet of scaled-down educational books for young readers, this display uncovers the evolving technology of early nineteenth-century educational ephemera.

Upcoming displays


Songs of farewell: Hubert Parry and the end of an era

1 September - 20 October 2018

Proscholium, Bodleian Library

We relate the life and career of Hubert Parry using items from the Bodleian's collections, including the elegiac Songs of Farewell, completed shortly before his death in 1918, a month before the Armistice.

Unhealthy times of Kings and Queens

15 September - 11 November 2018

Blackwell Hall, Weston Library

Historically, great harms were caused to the health of the Kings and Queens of England. Charles II died from an apoplectic fit despite being subjected to various treatments such as bloodletting, purging and cupping. This display explores whether today's evidence-based interventions could have changed the outcome.


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