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This exhibition explores the history of a fascinating cultural phenomenon – magic.

Spellbound displays 180 objects from 12th-century Europe to newly commissioned contemporary works. They range from the beautiful and mysterious (crystal balls, books of spells), the bizarre and macabre (a unicorn’s horn, a human heart encased in lead), to the profoundly touching (the testimony of women accused of witchcraft, and lovers’ padlocks cut from Leeds Centenary Bridge).

Exploring the inner lives of our ancestors, the exhibition offers an insight into how people in the past actually felt and what they did to cope with the world they lived in.

It looks at human hopes, fears and passions and asks visitors questions about their own beliefs and rituals, showing how even in this sceptical age, we still use magical thinking.

Ashmolean Museum

Beaumont Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2PH

01865 278000


Opening times

Daily, 10am – 5pm Until 8pm on the last Friday of every month

Free to all

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Valid to 31 December 2020

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