Tag Archives: Folger Shakespeare Library

Henry VIII at the Folger Shakespeare Library

Two readers have detected what they feel is anti-Catholic bias in my review of the Folger Shakespeare Library‘s Vivat Rex exhibition, devoted to Henry VIII (who came to the throne 501 years ago). I think there’s an important difference between being critical of the Church as an institution which played a huge role in history, and being crudely anti-Catholic in a Know Nothing sort of way. My argument, in this piece, is that Henry’s initial breach with the Catholic Church plays an important role in determining the fractious, free-wheeling, English attitude to religion that was eventually implanted on our own shores. The images in this post, taken from the rich trove of material assembled by curator Arthur Schwarz, include a view of Nonsuch palace, Henry’s intended pleasure dome, eventually pulled down; and Henry, the big man himself, in a painting by Holbein.

Images: Nonsuch, courtesy the Folger Shakespeare Library; Henry, courtesy the Morgan Library

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Filed under Culture, Exhibitions, Museums, Uncategorized

Get thee to the Folger…

There’s only a week or so left on the Folger Shakespeare Library’s exhibition, “The Curatorial Eye,” which is billed as “discoveries from the Folger vault.” But it’s worth making an effort to get there. It’s a potpourri show, with various curators and specialists from the Folger highlighting curiosities they’ve uncovered. That might lead to a diffuse show but, as I argue in a review of the exhibition, just the opposite results:

Passion, it turns out, matters in the museum world. And a show that follows the curiosity and passion of the people most knowledgeable about the museum’s holdings turns out to be consistently fascinating. It might even be seen as a show about a question fundamental to the long-term purpose and the daily work of every important library in the world: What is interesting?

To read more about swimming manuals, magic books, censor’s notes and lost-and-found 7th century manuscripts.

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Filed under Culture, Museums