New Exhibition: Fragments of Note

06 November 2017

We are pleased to announce that the next Library & Archives exhibition will open to the general public on Thursday, November 23rd, 2017.

“Fragments of note: the afterlives of medieval manuscripts” will examine the numerous medieval manuscript fragments held at Magdalen, largely medieval books that have been dismantled in the early modern period and re-used as binding waste or covers. The main exhibition will take a particular focus on fragments featuring musical notation and will be complemented by a selection of contemporary watercolour, collage, and paper-pulp relief works by fine artist Janet Boulton.

The exhibition, co-curated by Dr. Giovanni Varelli (Prize Fellow in Music at Magdalen) and Mr. Daryl Green (Librarian), will run until April 19th 2018, and is open to both College and University members, and the general public, each Thursday afternoon from 2–4.30pm.

The exhibition is housed in the College’s Old Library, accessible via the Cloisters. Members of the public will need to pay the standard entrance fee in order to view the exhibition; members of the University can gain entrance by showing their University Card at the Lodge.

We’re also pleased to announce four accompanying talks:

20 November 2017, 5:30pm – Old Library: Grand Opening, with remarks from co-curators Dr. Giovanni Varelli and Mr. Daryl Green.

22 January 2018. 5:30pm – Summer Common Room: in conversation with Janet Boulton, fine artist, and lute recital of the Magdalen lute fragments by Dr. Lynda Sayce.

26 February 2018, 5:30pm – Summer Common Room: Dr. David Rundle (Corpus Christi College, Oxford), “Pastimes with Pastedowns: Neil Ker, father of fragment studies”.

9 April 2018, 5:30pm – Summer Common Room: Dr. Christopher de Hamel (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge), “Philip Bliss and Sir Thomas Phillipps and manuscript fragments from Magdalen College”.

All talks are open to the public, but advance booking is essential.

Please RSVP for any of the above to

There will be a parallel exhibition in the Longwall Library foyer, open exclusively to members of College. These exhibits will focus on examples of manuscript fragments used in the binding of later printed books.

Those unable to attend the exhibition in person might also be interested in this short film, specially produced by Magdalen Prize Fellow in Music Dr Giovanni Varelli. The video, entitled Singing the Collections: The Medieval Music Fragments of Magdalen College, is the fruit of a collaboration between Dr Varelli, Prof Christian Leitmeir, the Magdalen Choir led by Mr Mark Williams, the Dean of Divinity (the Revd Dr Jonathan Arnold), and the Library and Archives.