More than a House for Books

More than a House for Books, curated by David Rundle and Cristina Neagu, considers the place of the Western manuscripts within the wider context of the Library’s eclectic riches. It delineates how what we now know as its ‘special collections’ came to be owned by Christ Church and considers what that tells us about the purpose and scope of a library. Unexpected items in the collections include: scientific and musical instruments, coins, drawings, a tapestry, a "porridge bowl", mandrakes and, allegedly, "Cardinal Wolsey's hat". There are also a number of unusual manuscripts and books. To read more about this, please see Mandrakes in the Library, by David Rundle.

The exhibition coincides with the publication of R. Hanna and D. Rundle, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Western Manuscripts, to c. 1600, in Christ Church, Oxford, the first in a planned series of manuscript catalogues offering detailed codicological, textual and historical descriptions. The lavishly illustrated volume is published by the Oxford Bibliographical Society in its Special Series of Manuscript Catalogues. The exhibition builds upon the insights that the new publication provides about the history of the Library, and  suggests routes for future research. The display was accompanied by a series of talks and workshops highlighting aspects of the exhibition. The first was about of the manuscripts on display Mus 783,

The exhibition was open in the Upper Library from 2 November 2017 to 23 February 2018.