|King John hunting, from British Library MS Cotton Claudius D II|
1,215 members of the public will be able to view the four surviving original Magna Cartas of 1215, which will be brought together at the British Library on 3 February 2015 to mark the 800th anniversary of the Charter’s endorsement. The British Library holds two engrossments of the 1215 Charter; a third is preserved at Lincoln Cathedral and a fourth at Salisbury Cathedral. This will be the first time that all four originals have been brought together. Members of the public can apply for the chance to attend the event via a ballot, which opened this week.
The British Library will also be holding a major exhibition to commemorate the 800th anniversary (Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy), which will open on 13 March 2015. Members of the Magna Carta Project are advising on the exhibition and will provide chapters for its catalogue. Further information can be found on the Medieval Manuscripts blog.
In preparation for events next year, conservators at the British Library have been subjecting one of their Magna Cartas to multispectral analysis. The document was badly damaged in the Cotton Library fire of 1731, making much of its contents impossible to read with the naked eye. As a result of the images produced by this analysis the text can now be read once more. Further details of the conservation work can be found on the Collection Care blog.