Mirror of the world: books and ideas

Delight in the Mirror of the world: books and ideas exhibition and discover the many rare and beautiful books held in our collections.

La fin du monde, Fernand Léger, 1919
01 January 201431 December 2016
Location Dome Galleries
Accessibility Has wheelchair access

Books have the power to spark the imagination and change the way we think. This exhibition showcases rare and significant works that trace the history of book design from medieval manuscripts to comics. Discover stunning artwork alongside powerful words in this visual feast for book-lovers. Highlights include the exceptional art of La fin du monde (1919), illustrated by French Modernist Fernand Léger, and the intricate life-sized drawings in Birds of America (early 19th century), one of the Library’s most precious books.

The exhibition's title is taken from William Caxton's Myrrour of the worlde (1490), one of the first illustrated books published in England.

Recent acquisitions and new stories are featured each year in this special exhibition, revealing different aspects of the Library’s Rare Books collection.

Opening hours

This free exhibition is open 10am–5pm daily.


Explore rare books at the Library

Inspired by Mirror of the world? Discover more about the rare and beautiful books held at the Library by delving into our History of the book collection. Uncover our collection of medieval manuscripts, artists' books or private press titles either online or in person at the Library. To learn more about artists' books in particular, watch this facinating interview with History of the Book Collections Manager Des Cowley.