Today, Emma and I finally made it into Oxford for the Magical Books exhibition at the Bodleian Library. I am so glad that we did. The exhibition space at The Bodleian is small but we spent about an hour in there and I could happily have spent at least twice that in there. Based around the work of five authors connected to Oxford: Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Alan Garner, Susan Cooper, and Philip Pullman it brought in others and the older takes, history and follow that includes them.
For me it was an hour celebrating the work of my favourite and most-lived authors. There were maps. From Tolkien and Lewis to Pullman’s interpretation of Oxford – as Diana Wynne Jones (another author who was featured) says, fantasy always starts with a map.
There were also mention of undated Arabian amulet scrolls, the like of which was the inspiration for the scrolls in Sudan Cooper’s Over Sea Under Stone.
The fannish squee factor of this was nothing to my reaction when I turned around and was confronted by a plate. I recognize it immediately even touch I had never seen it before as The Owl Service. The china with the pattern that could be flowers or birds depending on how you look at it…
There was more, of course. Lots more. And it was quite busy with people enjoying it all, but I was so wrapped up in it and in awe of , what was my heaven that I scarcely noticed any of them. It’s on until the 27 October and I recommend that you all catch it is you can.