Waking up at 11 a.m. to the sound of my roommate coming back from class was a good feeling this morning. Last night my roommate and I stayed up late working on all of our class projects so we were exhausted. Thankfully, I was able to sleep in so my body was rejuvenated.

Since it is our last week in London we have done most of the tourist attractions, so today I took it easy. After class Lauren, Kayla and I went to the British Library. I didn't really know what to expect, I was just going to get out of the dorm. 

Once we found the library we visited the "Treasures of the library" room. This was incredible. They had everything from Japanese manuscripts to sacred texts. In the first display case, I saw Shakespeare's first folio published in 1623 along with books written by his contemporaries. Black ink covered the weathered paper proving its years of existence. It was so neat seeing the delicate handwriting of authors like Jane Austen and Wordsworth. I even saw the writing desk Jane Austen's father gave her. 

In the music section of the room, I saw Beethoven's tuning fork and music sheets as well as Mozart's music sheets and the marriage contract Mozart sent his father telling him of his marriage to Constanze Weber. 

One of the highlights for me was seeing the handwritten drafts of the Beatles song "Yesterday" by Paul McCartney. Seeing the messy handwriting and scratch marks on a simple piece of paper made me feel more connected to the band. There were also lyrics to "A Hard Day's Night" written on a birthday card to Lennon's son Julian and the lyrics to "Help!" scratched on a white sheet of paper. This exhibit gave me a glimpse of what it was like for these men as they rose to fame in the music industry. 

In the historical section of the exhibit, I saw Lady Jane Grey's prayer book which she gave Sir John Bridges before she was beheaded. A letter from Isaac Newton to Samuel Pepys written in 1693 also was on display and it gave insight to Newton's nervous breakdown. Leonardo Davinci was also represented by his journal in which he wrote with his left hand from right to left in a form known as "mirror writing." 

Before leaving the library, I saw the Magna Carta. Three copies are housed in the library. The Magna Carta means the great charter and was written in 1215 on parchment. This charter has 63 clauses limiting the King and making him subject to the law. Today, only three of the clauses are still used. Also on display was the Papal Bull mandate from Pope Innocent III which declared the Magna Carta "unlawful and unjust as it is base and shameful."

I may not always understand or remember historical events, but when I see artifacts like these books and documents I am reminded of those who have come before me who have struggled and fought for their beliefs. It gives me hope for the future and inspires me to remember where I came from.  
 


Comments

06/26/2013 12:59pm

Hello to Marybeth Grotheer, Jennifer Nicely and Jack Porter, all who have taken Art History Survey with me. I have been reading and enjoying the London Log to get a sense of the field trips and rhythm of your study abroad experience since I hope to teach there next summer. I hope I will be able to get enough students for the 2 courses: From Art in England from Stonehenge to Salisbury Cathedral (Art History Survey I) and Baroque Art in England (ART 486).
For the former course we will visit the British Museum multiple times, possibly the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archeology at University College, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London's ancient Roman theater under Guildyard Hall, Stonehenge, Avebury and Salisbury Cathedral, possibly Westminister Abbey and on the Paris weekend the Louvre (which houses the Stele of Naram-Sin, Stele with Law Code of Hammurabi, Seated Scribe, Niobid Krater, a panel from the inner frieze of the Parthenon, Nike of Samothrace, among others) and Sainte-Chapelle. I get very excited thinking about all that we will see!
For the latter course we will visit the National Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, Buckingham Palace, the Wallace Collection, the Dulwich Picture Gallery, St. Paul's Church and the Banqueting House by Inigo Jones and St. Paul's Cathedral and city churches by Christopher Wren in addition to the Louvre on the Paris weekend and National Gallery of Scotland if there is an Edinburgh weekend.

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    I'm Kasi Dickerson. Journalism is my passion. I'm a big family person, love to travel and I laugh all the time.

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