Treasures from the Library at the V&A and Hampton Court

We are thrilled to have lent items from Christ Church Library to two major exhibitions.

A large amount of material from the Lewis Carroll collection is now on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition which runs until 31 December 2021.

Exploring its origins, adaptations and reinventions over 157 years, this immersive and theatrical show charts the evolution of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland from manuscript to a global phenomenon beloved by all ages and has been described as  ‘a wonderful tumble down the rabbit hole’ (The Guardian) and ‘an unapologetic celebration of brain-expanding curiosity’ (Evening Standard).

The exhibition has been curated by Kate Bailey. It is  accompanied by a major new V&A publication, featuring specially commissioned illustrations by Kristjana S. Williams and contributors including Tim Walker, Little Simz and Chris Riddell.  Christ Church has lent a range of material including photographs of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), many of his original sketches for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (he was disappointed with the results and employed cartoonist John Tenniel to create the now-famous illustrations, manuscript material and prints from Salvador Dali’s interpretation of Alice in Wonderland.

Christ Church has also lent the Cardinal’s hat or galero traditionally said to have belonged to Cardinal Wolsey to the Gold and Glory: Henry VIII and the French King exhibition at Hampton Court Palace, which runs until 5 September 2021.   Wolsey was Henry VIII’s most powerful minister in the early part of his reign, created a Cardinal by Pope Leo X in 1515 and made Lord Chancellor by Henry the same year.  He founded Cardinal College (later refounded as Christ Church) and built the palace of Hampton Court.

The exhibition celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, Henry VIII’s legendary encounter with his great rival François I of France in a valley near Guisnes to the south of Calais.   The diplomatic visit was orchestrated by Wolsey and was a spectacle of the greatest magnificence with 18 days of feasts, tournaments, masquerades and religious services set amidst a sea of specially built — and very elaborate — tents, banqueting houses and 'portable palaces'.

Gabriel Sewell
College Librarian

* For other news related to Special Collections, please go the library Exhibitions and Research