Harry Potter: A History of Magic

British Library

20 October 2017 – 28 February 2018

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Muggles and wannabe wizards alike will love this major new show exploring the folklore and magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories.

A phoenix rising from the ashes in a 13th-century bestiary

Drawing on the British Library’s collection to unearth rare books, manuscripts and magical objects, Harry Potter: A History of Magic marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first book in JK Rowling’s globally popular series.

Combining centuries-old artefacts from the library's archives with original drafts and drawings by Rowling herself and illustrator Jim Kay, the exhibition’s structure is inspired by the subjects that Harry, Hermione and Ron study at Hogwarts, from Potions and Herbology to Care of Magical Creatures. Extensive details of what’s on show will be kept under wraps for maximum excitement, but pieces on display include early printed books depicting creatures that inspired characters like Fawkes the Phoenix, and items revealing the art of alchemy.

Presented in partnership with Rowling’s publisher Bloomsbury, Harry Potter: A History of Magic is the latest addition to the ever-growing Harry Potter universe, the ‘Wizarding World’.

Don't miss

The Ripley Scroll, a 16th-century document associated with alchemist George Ripley, that explains how to prepare a Philosopher’s Stone.

Venue information

Opening times

Main building

Mon – Thu, 9.30am – 8pm

Fri, 9.30am –​6pm (Sat until 5pm)

​Sun, 11am-5pm

Treasures Gallery and PACCAR exhibitions

Tue –Thu, 9.30am-8pm, Mon & Fri until 6pm, Sat until 5pm, Sun 11am – 5pm

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)