South Bank London

Her Booke; Early Modern Women and their Books

An eclectic collection of historic books explores the power of books in the world of famous and unknown women from history.

Opening Hours

OpenMon–Fri 9:30am–5pm, Thu until 7pm

Closed Sat, Sun

Monthly Saturday open days on: 6 July, 3 Aug,  7 Sep, 5 Oct, 2 Nov from 10am–5:30pm


01 Jul - 21 Nov 2024

Ticket Information

Entrance is free

Location Info

Lambeth Palace Library, Lambeth Palace Road, London, UK

The latest exhibition at the Lambeth Palace Library highlights material owned, written, commissioned, and translated by women during the long early modern period.

Her Booke celebrates the ways in which women and their books were an integral part of England’s devotional, intellectual, and bibliographical cultures.

Beginning in the late fifteenth century, the exhibition examines the production and use of books for personal and spiritual practices; books as a statement of power and piety; the development of the commercial trade in books; books as a site to demonstrate women’s intellectual ability; and the material evidence of women’s book ownership.

Among the collection on display are books belonging to some of the most prominent women in medieval British history, including: manuscripts written by the sisters of Syon Abbey on the cusp of the Reformation; Elizabeth I’s newly identified translation of Tacitus; correspondence from a future Archbishop of Canterbury about Jane Austen; and first editions of the works of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley.

These books by prominent women from history are displayed alongside other works related to known and unknown women from the Lambeth Palace Library’s vast historical collections.

Talks and lectures

Accompanying the exhibition is a series of free talks and lectures hosted in the library’s impressive rooftop function room. These events are all free to attend although prior booking is essential.

Thu 19 Sep, 5:30pm–7pm 
Helen Smith (University of York): Guest lecture on early modern women and printing

Wed 23 Oct, 5:30pm–7pm  
Julia King (Lambeth Palace Library): Curator’s Lecture on Syon Abbey and cultures of women’s reading

Wed 6 Nov, 5:30pm–7pm 
Curator’s Forum: Julia King (Lambeth Palace Library) and Eleanor Jackson (British Library)

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