In a new contemporary art exhibit at Blickling Estate, the UK’s National Trust offers an exciting argument for the continuing relevance of rare books to our modern life,
In a new contemporary art exhibit at Blickling Estate, the UK’s National Trust offers an exciting argument for the continuing relevance of rare books to our modern life, bringing them into conversation with the contexts that shaped these books and continue into the present.
While the National Trust, one of the UK’s largest charities, is mainly devoted to the natural and historic heritage of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland through preserving and maintaining lands and properties, it has recently turned its attention to its sizeable collection of nearly 400,000 thousand books. Along with more traditional exhibits, such as the one at Lord Peckover’s Estate (about which we posted here, too), it has also begun to use rare books as the inspiration for contemporary art, thereby shining light on the continued relevance of these works to our life.
The Edge of Things (through October 27th) draws on the Trust’s largest and oldest book collection and interprets rare books in works of art that bring them out of the past and make them continuous with our living heritage, inspiring and shaping encounters that fuel our imagination and lead us through our ever unfolding present. At the exhibit, the Eliot Bible (1663), one of the last remaining examples of written Wampanoag, is placed in an audiovisual encounter with the language as it lives on today in the voices and reflections of the Wampanoag people. Robert Hooke’s Micrographia of Minute Bodies (1665), the first book of its kind in microscopy and famous for its finely detailed drawings of the flea, is brought into a new context in the Orangery at Blickling, where tiny plankton fossils are projected onto the walls, providing the modern audience a newfound appreciation for one of the book’s enduring messages, that beauty and understanding are found through attention to the tiniest of details.
Check out the National Trust’s write-up here for more information about the exhibit, and if you can, do visit in person!
Image: National Trust / Rah Petherbridge Photography
May 17 (Friday) - October 27 (Sunday)