WhatMuseums & Galleries
8 years +
96 Euston Road, London
20 Oct 2017–28 Feb 2018
Harry Potter: A History of Magic a&u review
A show devised in association with Bloomsbury to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, in Harry Potter: A History of Magic JK Rowling is really taking her position among the Greats, sharing this exhibition space with, among others Leonardo Da Vinci.
It starts with the text. The original, rejected, manuscript is on display, as is the handwritten scrap paper verdict of the 8 year old editor's daughter with her famous pronouncement, “The excitement in this book made me feel warm inside. I think it is possibly one of the best books an 8/9 year old could read.”
Descend the stairs under a canopy of fluttering, open books and you are taken back into a world of ancient spells, potions, magic and wonder. The space is divided thematically - Potions, Herbology, Divination, the Dark Arts, Magical Beasts etc and is a wonderful mixture. Learn the 12th century charm for snakebite, find Sirius in the stars above a 17th century globe, have your cards read in a teacup-hung fortune teller's room. The disctinction between historical artefacts - Culpepper's original 'Herbal', da Vinci's mirror drawings of the universe, the 16th century Ripley Scroll which describes how to make the Philosopher's Stone - and the creations of JK Rowling's imagination are deliciously blurred.
Chief highlight among the Rowling material on display is the line drawings of the characters - more evocative, to me at least, than the Jim Kay artwork that features heavily. Maybe a new generation of readers is coming to Potter via the illustrated editions but for my children, the magic started without pictures and Harry and Hermione can now be no one but Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson. Don't less this small quibble put you off though. This is an utter joy of a show that is an absolute must for all Potter nuts.
Tickets are in hot demand. Half term is almost completely booked, as are weekends to the end of the year. Try a mid week slot at the start of the Christmas holidays. Or there is still availability on the Harry Potter Family Day on 2 Dec (ages 5–11).
Click here to book.
20 Oct 2017–28 Feb 2018
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