Cornelia Parker’s Magna Carta And Alice In Wonderland At 150 Celebrated At British Library

Cornelia Parker

The British Library has announced a new commission by the leading British artist Cornelia Parker, which responds to the legacy of Magna Carta in the digital era. At almost 13 metres long and 1.5 metres wide, Magna Carta (An Embroidery) will replicate the Magna Carta’s Wikipedia article as it appeared in its entirety on the 799th anniversary in 2014.

Stitched by over 200 people, from prisoners, lawyers and civil rights campaigners to barons and MPs, the commission aims to unpick Magna Carta’s rich history by collaborating with groups and individuals who have been associated with and affected by the document since it was first drawn up in 1215.

“This is a snapshot of where the debate about Magna Carta is right now,” says Cornelia Parker. “Echoing the communal activity that resulted in the Bayeux Tapestry, but on this occasion placing more emphasis on the word rather than the image, I want to create an artwork that is a contemporary interpretation of Magna Carta to sit alongside the British Library’s extraordinary show.”

The embroidery will be unveiled in a free exhibition in the British Library’s front hall on 15 May 2015 and will remain on display until 24 July 2015.

As part of the world-wide celebrations marking Alice in Wonderland’s 150th birthday next year, we are delighted to announce that the iconic manuscript and one of the best-loved treasures in the Library, ‘Alice’s Adventures Under Ground’, will go on major display in the US.

The manuscript, written and illustrated by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll), was bought by an American dealer at auction in 1928, but then presented back to the UK in 1948 in recognition of the part Britain played in the Second World War, making this trip back to the US particularly significant.

The manuscript will star in exhibitions at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York and The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia which will be accompanied by a series of events and celebrations.

On the manuscript’s return the Library will mark the anniversary with our own free exhibition exploring how Alice has been adapted and appropriated by successive generations, and the enduring influence of the original visions.

Since the first publication of the story in 1865, we have seen Alice inspire the likes of Walt Disney, Salvador Dali, Mervyn Peake and even Apple Inc, in the form of the company’s only ever video game, Through the Looking Glass, which was made in 1984.

We’ll also be bringing Alice firmly into the 21st century, via collaboration with the UK’s cultural centre for gaming, GameCity in Nottingham.

In December 2014 the BL is  launching ‘Alice’s Adventures Off the Map’,  a competition which challenges higher education students to create new videogames inspired by those iconic original Alice manuscripts and the British Library’s map, sound and book collections. The results will be unveiled in Autumn 2015, to coincide with the opening of the Library’s Alice exhibition.

150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland Autumn 2015 – Spring 2016


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