Thursday 19 February 2004

British Library

Today R* took me on a tour of the British Library. She went with her class last week and it's a place I've always meant to go visit. So we went down there this afternoon (she's on term break) and she showed me around. I found the permanent exhibition breathtaking. Wow! The original Alice in Wonderland, Robert Scott's last diary entry, Leonardo's notebook, the Magna Carta and much, much more. There was a 4th C bible in Greek - almost the original bible! Not to mention the original music scores by Handel, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin. In the Valentine's display was the original "How do I love thee, let me count the ways" written in tiny cursive handwriting by Elizabeth Browning. There was the original Jane Austen's writing desk with the original transcript of "Persuasion". Very exciting!

I'll have to go back again. R* was quite patient but I could spend a lot of time pouring over the exhibition. More than an eight year old would tolerate.

The exhibition on printing was very good as well as a temporary exhibition on Chinese Printmaking Today which was excellent. It covers woodblock printing in China 1980-2000. One print description remarked that the Chinese regard minority nationals as sensual and pleasure seeking. I wonder how much truth is behind that? We wandered around the exhibition at R*'s pace which was quite quick as you might imagine.

Anyway, the British Library is a cool place to take your children. You can check in your coats for free. The bookshop is nice and they make a great latte in the cafe. It's a winner.

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