Queens' Old Library participates throughout the year in the cultural life of Cambridge. The Library opens its doors to the public and offers various activities to make people discover the extraordinary collection hosted in one of the oldest libraries in Cambridge.
The Library also takes part in international initiatives that aim to promote the special collections of cultural institutions across the world.
Not a Day Without a Line:
Past lives of Renaissance books in Queens' Library
Exhibition public opening hours:
1-29 March 2018
1.30-4.30pm (open late until 7.30pm on Thursday 15 March)
Curator's talk every Wednesday at 1.30pm
This exhibition features unique discoveries made during the Library's two-year ‘Renaissance Queens’’ cataloguing and digitisation project, that provide fascinating insights into how and why Queens’ books were read in the Renaissance period, and the people who read them. Cryptic signs, messages, and poems (including a mischievous nun/friar poem scrawled onto a magnificent 15th-century bible), prayers, as well as mnemonic diagrams and hand-coloured decorations all record in unique ways the lives of early modern readers and the relationships they formed with the books they used (and misused).
Online exhibition: Books and Power in Tudor England
Our highly attended exhibition, Books and Power in Tudor England: The Renaissance Library of Sir Thomas Smith, which was included as part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas 2017, will soon be available online alongside the previous ones.
Sir Thomas Smith (1513-1577) was one of Queens' College's most eminent alumni. Though he achieved high office as Secretary of State to Edward VI and Elizabeth I, ambassador to France and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Smith is remembered as much more than a statesman; his remarkable annotated books, bequeathed to Queens' College, capture the mind of a man of singular intelligence and learning with an acerbic wit. These annotations and doodles reveal how humanist politicians like Smith used books as sources of power in Tudor England.
In the meantime, you can download and read the leaflet of the exhibition here.