Upcoming Exhibitions

Under current circumstances, it is uncertain when exhibitions at the Fisher will be able to reopen to the public. It is our hope, however, that we will be able to mount the following exhibitions in the coming academic year.

Monday, 25 January 2021 to Friday, 30 April 2021

Image from Tennyson's Lady of Shallot

Exploring the ways that Victorians made books into beautiful objects gives us insight into their cultural values, particularly their changing constructions of gender. With a focus on experiments in format, illustration, and illumination, “Trophies and Treasures: The Victorian Luxury Book” examines the use of developing technologies to produce the feminised Victorian luxury book. Books made and designed by women are featured throughout the exhibition, including Victorian albums and annuals; publications by Emily Faithfull’s Victoria Press and the Yeats Sisters’ Cuala Press; and books featuring women artists, including Phoebe Anna Traquair, Jessie M. King, Florence Harrison, and HRH Princess Beatrice. Highlights of this exhibition include the 1857 Moxon Tennyson, with Pre Raphaelite wood engravings ; two manuscripts illuminated by Alberto Sangorski; the elephant folio edition of Henry Noel Humphreys’s guide to The Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages (1849); Tennyson’s Welcome to Princess Alexandra, illuminated by Owen Jones (1863); decadent Belles Lettres limited editions; and the Kelmscott Chaucer (1896), widely agreed to be the most beautiful book ever printed in English. Focused on British publications, the scope of the exhibition extends from the beginning of the nineteenth century until the onset of the First World War.

This exhibition is being curated by Holly Forsythe Paul, the Hilary Nicholls Fellow at the Fisher Library.

Monday, 17 May 2021 to Friday, 3 September 2021

Medieval image

The medieval bishop and bibliophile Richard de Bury describes books as an "infinite treasure," for they, more than any other human contrivance, are able to preserve the knowledge and the wisdom, as well as the follies and the failures, of previous generations – "in books I find the dead as if they were alive." This exhibition aims to bring the medieval world to life by drawing on the many treasures from the period to be found in the Fisher Library. It will celebrate the medieval book, and the medieval written word more generally, in all its variety in terms of both subject matter and physical form. Included will be books on topics from religion to science and history to the law and in formats from the codex to the charter to the tally stick. Though the main focus of the exhibition will be on medieval manuscripts – that is, books written by hand – it will also explore the transition from handwritten to printed books that began at the very end of the medieval period. Medieval books, and especially their aesthetic qualities, have been a recurrent source of inspiration for the makers of books in subsequent periods, and the exhibition will also examine this medievalist tradition in book production, especially in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

This exhibition will be curated by the Fisher Library’s PJ Carefoote, Timothy Perry, and Nadav Sharon.