“Harry Potter: A History Of Magic Explores Folklore And Magic” Exhibition

The New-York Historical Society

poster for “Harry Potter: A History Of Magic Explores Folklore And Magic” Exhibition
[Image: Pheonix, Illustration by Jim Kay © Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (2016)]

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British Library’s Most Successful Exhibition Marks the 20th Anniversary of J.K. Rowling’s
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Publication in the U.S. by Scholastic

Excitingly, the exhibition will display many new artifacts for the first time, and beginning today, tickets for trivia programs and a series of family events associated with the exhibition will also be available.

Capturing the traditions of folklore and magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories, the exhibition features centuries-old treasures, including rare books, manuscripts, and magical objects from the collections of the British Library, the New-York Historical Society, and other museums, as well as original material from publisher Scholastic and J.K. Rowling’s own archives.

Unique to the New York presentation—and on public view for the first time—are Mary GrandPré’s pastel illustrations for the cover artwork of Scholastic’s original editions of the novels; Brian Selznick’s newly created artwork for the covers of the anniversary edition of the Harry Potter series to be published by Scholastic this summer; cover art by Kazu Kibuishi featured in Scholastic’s 15th anniversary boxset; early letters between J.K. Rowling and American editor of the series Arthur A. Levine; and the enormous steamer trunk used to transport a signed copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on the Queen Mary to the U.S. The exhibition will also include costumes and set models from the new play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, now running on Broadway, as well as a collection of international editions of Harry Potter.

Also on display for the first time in the U.S. are handwritten first drafts from The Philosopher’s Stone and Deathly Hallows, the author’s hand-drawn sketch of the Hogwarts grounds, and portraits and sketches of Hogwarts professors and magical creatures created by British illustrator Jim Kay.

John James Audubon’s watercolor of Snowy Owls, a 1693 publication defending the Salem witch trials, a study of the Woolworth Building—the landmark New York location featured in the film Fantastic Beasts—and other artifacts from New-York Historical’s collection round out the original offerings. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Botanical Garden Library, Yale University, and the American Museum of Natural History Library are among other lenders to the exhibition.

“We are proud indeed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the U.S. publication of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by bringing this special exhibition across the pond to American audiences,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “The show offers a unique opportunity for Happy Potter fans as well as history lovers to engage in and enjoy the history of magic that makes J.K. Rowling’s works such extraordinary literature.”

Harry Potter: A History of Magic is organized around the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry:
· Potions and Alchemy, showcasing a bezoar stone that reputedly provided a powerful antidote to poison, the tombstone of Nicolas Flamel—the medieval Parisian rumored to be an alchemist who inspired a character in Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone—and Yale University’s Ripley Scroll depicting symbolic references to the philosopher’s stone;
· Herbology, featuring illustrated herbals (directories of plants and their powers), such as Giovanni Cadamosto’s 15th-century manuscript showing the harvesting of a mandrake plant with a root that resembles the human form, and an example of an 18th century-pressed plant from the New York Botanical Garden Library: the Adonis Vernalis, or fake Hellebore;
· Divination, with ancient oracle bone fragments on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art; a black moon crystal ball used by “Smelly Nelly,” a 20th-century British witch who used strong perfume to attract the spirits she believed helped her to see the future; and a 19th century fortune-telling doll from New-York Historical’s collection;
· Charms, which includes the first written record of the incantation ‘abracadabra,’ dating from the 13th century, and a 1693 edition of The Wonders of the Invisible World, written by Cotton Mather, a Congregational minister in Boston, as his justification for the Salem witchcraft trials;
· Astronomy, featuring a 1699 celestial globe by famed cartographer Vincenzo Coronelli, pages from a notebook compiled by the artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci that show the sun and moon revolving round the Earth, and a 13th century astrolabe thought to be one of the oldest geared instruments still extant, from the American Museum of Natural History Library;
· Defense Against the Dark Arts, featuring a magic staff (1998) carved from timber and Mary GrandPré’s original jacket artwork for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; and
· Care of Magical Creatures, including a 13th-century bestiary manuscript depicting a phoenix rising from the ashes, a narwhal tusk, and John James Audubon’s watercolor of snowy owls.

The original exhibition was organized by British Library curators Julian Harrison, Tanya Kirk, Alexander Lock, and Joanna Norledge. In New York, the exhibition is overseen by Margi Hofer, New-York Historical’s vice president and museum director, and Cristian Petru Panaite, assistant curator of exhibitions. Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Seymour Neuman Endowed Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.



from October 05, 2018 to January 27, 2019

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