Patrons’ Programme - Exclusive Events

Exclusive Patrons' Programme events range from curator-led private tours of our exhibitions, to intimate 'show and tells' of handpicked items from the Library’s collection and visits to renowned arts and cultural organisations across London.

All the events listed below are by invitation only. For those wishing to join the Patrons’ Programme, you can do so online here or for more information, please contact Abby Wilson on or 020 7418 7331.

Current Patrons can reserve their place for any of the events below by contacting Abby.

Forthcoming events - Autumn/Winter 2014

Pre-publication book launch - A History of the 20th Century in 100 Maps
Thursday 18 September
Join Tom Harper, the Library's curator of antiquarian mapping, and co-author, Tim Briars, a specialist map dealer for a pre-publication launch of their new book. A History of the 20th Century in 100 Maps examines the tumultuous century through the example of maps produced over the course of it. Hear Tom discuss the special maps featured in this volume and also see the originals at first hand. Advance copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.

Opening reception and private view - Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Thursday 2 October
Join us for the opening of our winter exhibition which celebrates 250 years of Gothic Literature. Through more than 200 rare exhibits, including Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Bram Stoker's Dracula, the sinister fairy tales of Angela Carter and the modern horrors of Clive Barker, Terror and Wonder explores all aspects of the Gothic world.

Show and tell - James Cook's Expeditions
Tuesday 21 October
Join us for an evening of voyages and discoveries led by William Frame, Lead Curator of Historical Papers, and his colleagues. The display of items deriving from James Cook's three expeditions will include logbooks, journals and maps from the expeditions as well as original works by artists including Sydney Parkinson and John Webber. Manuscripts from the collection of Sir Joseph Banks, who accompanied Cook as naturalist on the first expedition, will be on display as well.

Opening reception and private view - Lines in the Ice: Seeking the Northwest Passage
Thursday 13 November
Opening in November, Lines in the Ice explores intrepid adventurers' desire to travel across the Arctic. Highlights include European maps of the Arctic, Inuit accounts of the coming of the explorers, writings and drawings by those searching for the Franklin and his crew and items detailing the science of the Arctic's changing landscape.

Annual Patron's Christmas Party
Monday 1 December
A sparkling celebration of the year for our Patrons, hosted by Roly Keating, the Library's Chief Executive.

Early morning private view - Out of hours at the Library: Terror and Wonder: the Gothic Imagination
Thursday 15 January
Tim Pye, Lead Curator of the Terror and Wonder exhibition will lead an early morning viewing of the exhibition for Patrons, in the final weeks of the exhibition.

Please note that all events are subject to change.

Past events:

Illustrated Talk - The Age of Wonder and Beyond
Friday 7 March
Historian Richard Holmes gives a lively account of the extraordinary late 18th century revolution in the physical sciences and traces their surprising metaphysical impact on the Romantic writers of the day, including Keats and Byron.

Show and tell - Shakespeare at the British Library
Tuesday 11 March
In 2016, the Library will be staging an exhibition to mark 400 years since Shakespeare's death. The Library's collection is rich in Shakespeare material, from early printed books, manuscripts, quartos, folios and music featured in his writings. Join our curators for an intimate 'show and tell' of this amazing collection. 

Tour and private view - India Office Records: The Qatar Partnership
Monday 7 April
The British Library has held the records of the East India Company and the India Office since 1982. In partnership with the Qatar Foundation and the Qatar National Library, we are re-cataloguing and digitising historical items from these records relating to the Gulf region, opening up over half a million pages of archives and manuscripts to anyone in the world. Join our tour and see at first hand th3e work involved, followed by a 'show and tell' of some of the fascinating items being digitised. 

Opening reception and private view - Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK
Thursday 1 May
Featuring some of the biggest names in comics, including Alan Moore (Watchmen, V for Vendetta), Neil Gaiman (Sandman), Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) and Grant Morrison (Batman: Arkham Asylum), the British comics tradition stretches back to the Victorian era and beyond. Our summer exhibition explores the full potential of the medium, demystifying the process of creating comics, while presenting work that is challenging to the status quo.