19/03/2019 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Explore old handwriting at Writing: Making Your Mark - new British Library exhibition


Writing: Making Your Mark explores 5,000 years of handwriting around the world, exploring one of mankind's greatest achievements.

The exhibition, which runs from 26 April to 27 August 2019 promises to deconstruct the act of writing and consider its future in the digital age. 

Works by famous hands, such as the final diary entry by Scott of the Antarctic and James Joyce’s autograph notes for Ulysses, will sit alongside tools belonging to unknown everyday people, including early 19th century Burmese tattooing instruments and modern reed pens, which will be seen in new light.  

Many items will be going on display for the first time and exhibition highlights include:

  • An 1,800-year-old ancient wax tablet containing a schoolchild’s homework as they struggle to learn their Greek letters 
  • The first book printed in England, Caxton’s 1476-7 printing of the Canterbury Tales
  • A 60,000 strong petition from 1905 protesting against the first partition of Bengal, signed in Bengali and English
  • Tools including styluses, brushes, quill pens, ball-point pens, typewriters and computers
  • Mozart’s catalogue of his complete musical works from 1784-1791, featuring his handwriting and musical notation
  • Alexander Fleming’s autograph notebook recording his discovery of penicillin from 1928

Laying down our collective memory

Adrian Edwards, lead curator of Writing: Making Your Mark at the British Library, said: ‘From hieroglyph to emoji and clay tablet to digital, Writing: Making Your Mark will demonstrate how writing is so much more than words on the page – it is how we communicate across time and space, how we express ourselves, and how we lay down our collective memory. 

'We hope that visitors will consider their own relationship with writing in the digital age and reflect on whether we will abandon pens and keyboards in favour of voice-activated machine writing and video messaging, or continue to carry the legacy of ancient times with us.’

For more information, visit the British Library website.

QUICK LINK: Discover top tips on reading Victorian handwriting at a special workshop live - only at Family Tree Live

(report and image courtesy of the British Library)


19/03/2019 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Get ready for RootsTech London!

RootsTech is heading from the US to London for the first time this October. Find out more

Genealogy project seeks descendants of Arbroath signatories

Descendants of signatories of the Declaration of Arbroath, which asserted Scottish sovereignty in 1320, are ...

Full-size reconstruction of the 7th-century Sutton Hoo ship to be created through national fundraising campaign

A national fundraising campaign is set to “Make Ship Happen” for a £1 million project to build a full-size ...

The sailing of the Mayflower Pilgrims - 400th anniversary

Make sure you’re up to speed with the Mayflower, as during the coming year you’re sure to hear a lot about ...

Other News

The Whitehall's family tree on 'Who Do You Think You Are?'

Jack & Michael Whitehall unearth skeletons at every turn … watch their story in ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’. ...

New research reveals 40% of people will take the family to their childhood holiday destination this summer

New findings revealed by Ancestry UK reveal that two fifths (40%) of UK adults are planning on taking their ...

Top 007 inspirational tips from James Bond star Naomie Harris’s Who Do You Think You Are? family history search

Learn how you can follow in your ancestors’ footsteps, like Naomie Harris, as Family Tree editor Helen Tovey ...

Hearth Tax Digital opens up 17th century family history records online

Genealogist David Annal reports on a free new website that aims to open up a remarkable 17th century resource ...