Since its founding, the Bodleian Library has become home to treasures from throughout history and every corner of the globe. From among this remarkable and historically rich collection, David Vaisey has selected nearly one hundred treasures with a particularly fascinating story to tell.
Rare books, music, manuscripts, ephemera, and maps, many of the treasures photographed and described for this lavish volume are well-loved around the world, from Jane Austen’s manuscript of The Watsons to notebooks created by the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, a map of Narnia drawn by C. S. Lewis, and the original manuscript of the renowned children’s work The Wind in the Willows. Others are known for their beauty or historical significance, including the Gutenberg Bible, Magna Carta, and the extraordinary medieval manuscript the Douce Apocalypse. Still others hold poignant stories like the small handwritten book presented as a New Year’s present in 1545 to Katherine Parr by an eleven-year-old stepdaughter who would later become Queen Elizabeth I. Vaisey brings these and other treasures together in chronological order, showcasing the Bodleian Library’s renowned collections.