This exhibition drew on Eton College Library’s rich holdings of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, printed books and literary archives alongside materials from the wider College Collections, to explore historical travels and to reflect on travel as a literary theme and an act of the mind and imagination as well as the body.
Objects were selected to suggest a wide range of ways to think about travel and stimulate curiosity, thought and connection: pilgrimage, roads, voyages of exploration and scientific discovery, cultural travels, empire and migration, word and image, poetry. Exhibits included a manuscript of the Odyssey that belonged to the uncle of Amerigo Vespucci, the first edition of Joyce’s Ulysses, a portolan chart, the voyages of James Cook, a model of Darwin’s HMS Beagle, a Grand Tour passport, the inspiration for Robinson Crusoe, the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ the first book printed in Antarctica, unpublished materials by the 20th-century Etonian explorer Wilfred Thesiger and a travelling library.
In January 2019, Voyages: a journey in Books from Eton College Library, travelled to Bonhams Knightsbridge for a fortnight, supported by Martin Randall Travel, The Book Collector and Alban Shipping.
Curated by Dr Stephanie Coane, Curator of Modern Collections, Eton College.