Page last updated at 14:20 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 15:20 UK

Royal books set for first showing

King Richard II receiving the book from the author Philippe de M Mezieres
King Richard II is shown receiving his book from its author

Illustrated books once owned by English monarchs are to go on public display for the first time.

About 150 medieval and Renaissance books and other literary artefacts will be put on display at the British Library in London in 2011.

They are among almost 2,000 manuscripts donated to the British Museum by King George II in 1757.

The exhibition follows a major research project supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Book of Romances

Each manuscript will be examined to discover who they were commissioned by and why they were produced.

Researchers will also try and unearth information about the works' illustrators, scribes and how they may have been received and used by the monarchs who owned them.

Manuscripts featured in the exhibition will include a copy of Philippe de Mezieres's letter to Richard II and the Shrewsbury Book of romances presented to Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI, as a gift for their marriage in 1445.

Dr Scot McKendrick, Head of Western Manuscripts at the British Library, said: "The Royal collection represents the only intact medieval and Renaissance English Royal manuscript collection."

"Its importance can hardly be overstated," he added.


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