The British Library
yesterday at 10:30. Facebook
For #NationalHandwritingDay, here's the opening of Jane Austen’s story Catharine or the Bower, written when she was a teenager. [ Link ]

See this and more of her writings at our Jane Austen Among Family and Friends display.
The British Library
01/20/2017 at 13:04. Facebook
Did someone say #PenguinAwarenessDay <(")?

This illustration of emperor penguins was created on a voyage of the Antarctic in 1839 to 1843.
The British Library
01/19/2017 at 16:50. Facebook
Perhaps most widely known for his gloomily insistent Raven, Edgar Allan Poe, champion of the dark and macabre, was born #onthisday in 1809.

The hugely influential writer was himself inspired by the Gothic authors who preceded him, as this evocatively illustrated collection of short stories demonstrates: ‘The Oval Portrait’, written in 1842, mentions Gothic pioneer Ann Radcliffe by name. [...
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The British Library
01/19/2017 at 10:51. Facebook
#ThrowbackThursday to our #BLVictorianFun event with Derren Brown and Nina Conti. Have you seen Victorian Entertainments: There Will Be Fun yet? [ Link ]
The British Library
01/17/2017 at 16:12. Facebook
“If you read every tract that is put into your hands by cunning and designing people… your talent of reading will become a source of sin and misery to yourselves and others.”

Youngest Brontë sister Anne, author of Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, was born #onthisday in 1820.

Growing up, the sisters read widely, and created inventive and often dark stories set in the imaginary...
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Something to brighten your #BlueMonday…

Our #BLMaps curators will be taking you on an out-of-hours #TwitterTour this Wednesday. Join us over on Twitter ( from 18.00!
Cecil Beaton, a leading photographer of the 20th century, was born #onthisday in 1904. In a career that spanned five decades, he shot iconic photographs of celebrities and high society that captured the high glamour, beauty and elegance of the age.

The Book of Beauty is Beaton’s first published book of photographs and showcases his early studio work. As well as portraits of debutantes and...
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Cecil Beaton's Book of Beauty © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's
Among the terms forced on the defeated Germany at Versailles in 1919 was the loss of its overseas territories.

Published in the same year as the Treaty of Versailles, this map shows the four victorious powers of the ‘Entente’: Britain, France, Russia and the United States of America. Each holds the reins of their national beasts (the lion, the cockerel, the polar bear and the bison or buffalo...
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Happy birthday Charles Perrault, born #onthisday in 1628. Regarded as the father of the fairytale, he was the first to record many of our best loved stories such as Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood), Cendrillon (Cinderella) and Le Chat Botte (Puss in Boots).

This version of Little Red Riding Hood, published in a small, hand-coloured chapbook in 1810, sticks closely to...
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Do you know what a herbal is? It's a book of plants describing their appearance, their properties and how they may be used for preparing ointments and medicines.

Elizabeth Blackwell's A Curious Herbal is notable for its beautiful illustrations of medicinal plants. It was an unprecedented artistic, scientific and commercial enterprise for a woman of her time. Blackwell drew, engraved and...
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This year marks the bicentenary of the death of Jane Austen. In a free display that opens today, three remarkable manuscripts of her teenage writings are brought together for the first time in 40 years, including a special loan from the Bodleian Libraries.

Austen’s treasured notebooks contain stories and poems she wrote to entertain her family and close friends and are accompanied by other...
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Did you know that when the British Expeditionary Force was sent to France in 1914 there was just one officer and one clerk responsible for mapping? By 1918 the survey organisation of the BEF had grown to about 5,000 men and produced more than 35 million map sheets.

Made for senior officers to help them visualise the battlefields from their headquarters behind the front line, this group of...
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'Would you not like to try all sorts of lives - one is so very small - but that is the satisfaction of writing - one can impersonate so many people.'

Katherine Mansfield died #onthisday in 1923. One of the most highly regarded short story writers of the 20th century, she helped re-define the genre and was considered a pioneer of the modern short story.

#DiscoverLiterature and explore close...
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Artist Gustave Doré, born #onthisday in 1832, teamed up with journalist Blanchard Jerrold to produce an illustrated record of the ‘shadows and sunlight’ of London.

Contemporary critics had severe reservations about their book: Doré disliked sketching in public so there were many errors of detail; it showed only the extremes of society, and Jerrold’s text was superficial. Despite these...
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It's #NationalBirdDay in the US. Considered the largest and most beautiful illustrated bird book ever, The Birds of America by ornithologist John James Audubon (1785 – 1851) features 435 hand-coloured, life-size prints. [ Link ]
Jacob Grimm, born #onthisday in 1785, and his brother Wilhelm were best known for their collection of German folk tales and legends, now commonly known in English as Grimm's Fairy Tales. These illustrations by Arthur Rackham were for an English translation published in 1925.
This beautiful illustration of carnations, the birth flower for January, was created by Augusta Withers. A natural history illustrator, she was appointed "Flower Painter in Ordinary" to Queen Adelaide and later to Queen Victoria.
#MapMonday: This beautiful map of Africa was created by artist H T Hawes and was the original artwork for maps included in Odham’s Atlas of 1957. Displaying so much detail and artistic quality, it was beyond the capabilities of any computer mapping program at that time. This particular handmade map was acquired by the Library in 2015 and is now part of the Philips Business Archive.

See it...
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Happy New Year to all from the British Library. Here's a toast to 2017!
We are closed for New Year on 1 and 2 Jan and we'll be open again on 3 Jan. Look forward to seeing you in 2017. [ Link ]