2021 marked the 250th anniversary of Thomas Gray’s death on 30 July 1771. Long known as ‘Eton’s poet’, Thomas Gray’s legacy extends far beyond his school: his ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ (1751) is among the most well-known and best loved of all English poems. His collected poems have long been the standard leaving gift to boys leaving the College.
Eton College Library marked the centenary with a special exhibition Eton’s Bard: Thomas Gray and his Elegy, now available in full online. Through the poems that he published, the books that he annotated and the remarkable manuscripts that reveal the evolution of two of his greatest works, the exhibition tells the story of Thomas Gray from young Etonian to respected poet.