Fantasy, Realms of Imagination Exhibition

Yesterday, I visited the Fantasy, Realms of Imagination exhibition at the British Library in London. Partly from interest and for photo opportunities I could use in social media posts.

The exhibition has four sections: Fairy and Folk Tales, Epics and Quests, Weird and Uncanny and Portals and Worlds.

The exhibition includes over a hundred items, including historical manuscripts, rare first editions, drafts of iconic novels, scripts, maps, and costumes. The manuscripts include Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, The Owl Service and The Colour of Magic. I was attracted to a beautiful modern copy of Gilgamesh episode one, Gilgamesh and Enkiuv, translated by Bill Griffiths and illustrated by Nicholas Parry (1992). Sadly, I later discovered this is a rare book and not commercially available. I discovered a few speculative fiction books I had not heard of to add to my TBR list.

Drawings and illustrations include Ursula K. Le Guin’s drafts and drawings for her Earthsea novels, Original sketches and outlines for Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake. The exhibits include costumes from The Lord of the Rings and The Dark Crystal.

Film clips are shown on loop from Princess Mononoke, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Pan’s Labyrinth.

Allow an hour to explore the visit, although there are other attractions, including an exhibition tracing the life and work of Malorie Blackman and the British Library Treasures Gallery. Fantasy, Realms of Imagination runs until 25th February 2024.

I’ve included a few photographs. How many can you recognise?