Learn the Ways of the Wizarding World with “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” on Google Arts & Culture

Staying at home for weeks at a time isn’t for everyone. Unless you’re a seasoned vet of crashing on the couch, you may be looking for activities to fill the time. So why not explore the world and history of Harry Potter in even more depth from the comfort of your own home? The British Library organized its entire collection of magical paraphernalia to be virtually displayed to the world. Google Arts & Culture is playing host to many valuable artifacts from the British Library. Harry Potter: A History of Magic is now available to view online.

The Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition unveils rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the British Library’s collection, capturing the traditions of folklore and magic [that] are at the heart of the Harry Potter stories. Here’s our little reminder that you can explore the exhibition again, or marvel at the magic for the very first time from your own home, through Google Arts & Culture.

Illustrator Jim Kay, whose art is featured in the illustrated versions of the Harry Potter series, has his own section of the virtual exhibition. “Visitors” can look through Kay’s depiction of the world of Harry Potter through his sketches. Pieces include a series of panoramas of Diagon Alley, personal portraits, and study sketches of various magical creatures.

If art isn’t quite you’re style, then head on over to the subjects area of the exhibit. Herbology, Charms, Astronomy, Potions, and so many more subjects are filled with magical history, culture, and folklore dating back centuries. For example, if you take a gander at the Potions portion of the digital exhibit, you’ll find a manuscript dating back to 1489. The image depicts “the first printed image of witches with a cauldron,” which was printed in Cologne, Germany. You might also find a very interesting and intriguing painted portrait of Professor Snape, painted by the one and only Jim Kay. The image looks like it’s been pulled straight out of the medieval time period and “is rich in symbolism.” If you look close enough, you can make out a single stalk of white lilies of the valley in the corner, symbolizing Snape’s love for Harry’s mother, Lily.

The entire exhibition is a mix of old and new magical culture to give you the most well-rounded magical education one can hope for outside of Hogwarts.

On the newer side of the collection, you can find some pieces by J.K. Rowling herself. Original sketches, synopses, and handwritten pages line the digital space, so to speak. The British Library provides an entirely new layer of learning the ways of our favorite witches and wizards.

Magical creatures also have an area all to themselves. A history of owls, cats, phoenixes, and spiders will give you an entirely new perspective on the concept of animal companions.

More can be found on Google Arts & Culture and Harry Potter: A History of Magic.


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