Magna Carta: past, present and future

Culture and Anarchy

painting-john-unknown-49805If you’re anything like me, you’ll be vaguely aware of Magna Carta and – in a vague way – that it is important as a historical document, and that it was written 800 years ago. I must admit I’d never given it much thought, though, so the British Library’s new exhibition, Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy, taught me a lot. On the first Sunday of the Easter holidays, it was packed and probably the slowest-moving exhibition I’ve ever visited (partly because you need to look closely and read every information panel), but it’s well worth spending time here. The exhibition shows documents from well before 1215 which were precursors to the Charter granted by King John at Runnymede, and it’s fascinating to have the opportunity to look at the tiny script and often rather scrappy documents of these hugely significant papers (I enjoyed mentally comparing them to official papers…

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