Wizardry meets history at Harry Potter exhibition

Rare memorabilia from the creation of the Harry Potter books by J.K.Rowling go on display at the British Library in London.
Held at the British Library in London, the Harry Potter: A History Of Magic exhibition features items such as books (top), a painting of Professor Dumbledore (above) and the Battersea Cauldron (right). A drawing of Harry Potter and his broomstick on
Held at the British Library in London, the Harry Potter: A History Of Magic exhibition features items such as books, a painting of Professor Dumbledore and the Battersea Cauldron (above).PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Held at the British Library in London, the Harry Potter: A History Of Magic exhibition features items such as books (top), a painting of Professor Dumbledore (above) and the Battersea Cauldron (right). A drawing of Harry Potter and his broomstick on
Held at the British Library in London, the Harry Potter: A History Of Magic exhibition features items such as books (above), a painting of Professor Dumbledore and the Battersea Cauldron.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Held at the British Library in London, the Harry Potter: A History Of Magic exhibition features items such as books (top), a painting of Professor Dumbledore (above) and the Battersea Cauldron (right). A drawing of Harry Potter and his broomstick on
Held at the British Library in London, the Harry Potter: A History Of Magic exhibition features items such as books, a painting of Professor Dumbledore (above) and the Battersea Cauldron.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • The fans will be enchanted.

A new exhibition celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book's publication is offering fans with an interest in magic the chance to view rare memorabilia, combined with historic artefacts referenced in the popular series.

Harry Potter: A History Of Magic, held in the British Library in London, features Potter memorabilia, including author J.K. Rowling's first annotated sketch of Hogwarts school, as well as her handwritten list of its teachers and subjects.

Besides the items associated with Rowling and the book series, the exhibition also features historic artefacts from the library's own collection.

These include alchemists' scrolls from the 1500s and Chinese oracle bones from the 12th century.

"Our exhibition explores the history, mythology and folklore behind the Harry Potter stories," said Mr Julian Harrison, the exhibition's lead curator.

"We investigate broomsticks, cauldrons, unicorns and dragons. We've organised the exhibition around some of the subjects students would study at the Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry - from potions and charms to astronomy and divination."

The seven Harry Potter books have been translated into 68 languages and have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide, said Rowling's publishers.

 A History Of Magic exhibition features items such as books (top), a painting of Professor Dumbledore (above) and the Battersea Cauldron (right). A drawing of Harry Potter and his broomstick on
A drawing of Harry Potter and his broomstick on display. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The final book in the series was published in 2007, with the series spawning a series of blockbuster films, an American theme park and a hit stage play that have kept the franchise in the public's eye.

Rowling herself appears to have enjoyed the blend of her fictional world with the library's collection.

"Encountering objects for real that have in some shape or form figured in my books has been quite wonderful," the 52-year-old said.

The exhibition runs until Feb 28. A check on the British Museum's website shows that tickets for the first 10 days of the exhibitions are already sold out.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2017, with the headline 'Wizardry meets history at Harry Potter exhibition'. Print Edition | Subscribe