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Lady Margaret Hall Library: Current Exhibitions

Our changing exhibitions showcase some of the most interesting collections from LMH Library and Archives. You can view current exhibitions in the display cases on the middle floor - just lift the protective covers - and you can explore highlights on this page. Have a look at our previous exhibitions at to see more of the collection:

At the moment we don't have step-free access to the exhibition space, but if you contact the library (email items can be brought to the downstairs floor. External visitors can view exhibitions by appointment. 

Current Exhibitions

LMH Treasures

1 of 8 | The Qur'an

Compared to some colleges, LMH does not own many manuscripts (hand-written books): we have 20 given to us by Cynthia Borough that are stored in the Bodleian, the Barnacle Magazine shown next, and this copy of the Qur’an.

This book was hand-written in naskhī style, and signed by Ḥāfiẓ ʿAbdullah. As well as being one of our few manuscripts, it is one of the few books in our antiquarian collections that originate outside of the Western European cultural sphere.

Al-Qurʹān al-majīd (Istanbul, c.1700)

2 of 8 | The Barnacle Magazine

Many of the books in our collection relate to women’s education in the 19th and early 20th centuries – from Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman to early student magazines and pamphlets discussing university matters (like the debate around granting women degrees). 

The Barnacle Magazine was the magazine of the Gosling Society. This was a group of young ladies who were fans of the 19th-century high church historical novelist Charlotte Mary Yonge (1823–1901), who acted as ‘Mother Goose’ to the society. Each contributor hand wrote articles and sent them to Mother Goose, who then bound them and posted the magazine around the society. Most of the pieces are essays or stories (often historical novels) written in instalments but there are also poems and drawings. The contributors all had pen-names, such as Albatross, Bog Oak, Mockingbird, Ladybird, Gurgoyle [sic] and Frog.

Barnacle Magazine (UK, 1860s)

Titlepage for Saducismus Triumphatus

3 of 8 | Witchcraft

LMH holds a rich collection of 16th- and 17th- century books and pamphlets, given to us by Cynthia Borough and Katharine Briggs. This includes several books on the subject of witchcraft and witch hunting, such as this one.

Joseph Glanvill (1636–1680) was an English Puritan writer, clergyman, and, as a Fellow of the Royal Society, a keen advocate for the scientific method. In Saducismus Triumphatus he argued that people who denied the existence of witchcraft were as bad as the Sadducees who denied the immortality of the soul. To prove the existence of witchcraft he combined a mixture of Biblical evidence and contemporary stories, such as the ‘Drummer of Tedworth’ and the ‘Witches of Mohra’ (where huge numbers of adult witches were identified based on the testimony of children who claimed they had been taken to dances with devils). 

Glanvill’s book, and the trial at Mora, are said to have inspired and influenced the famous Salem witch trials in 1692–3. However, they were also the last gasp of the witch trial craze—the last execution for witchcraft in England was in 1712, and the Witchcraft Act 1735 said that witchcraft did not exist: instead it became illegal to claim that someone was a witch or had magical powers.

Saducismus Triumphatus / Joseph Glanvill (London, 1689)

4 of 8 | Botanicals

LMH has a collection of botanical books, straddling the period where book illustrations went from somewhat simplistic and stylised wood cuts like this (where the size and quality of the image was restricted by the qualities of the boxwood used) to full beautiful copper plate images.

John Parkinson (1567–1650), was one of the great English writers who straddled the divide between the last herbalists and the first botanists; apothecary to James I and Royal Botanist to Charles I. This copy of Theatrum Botanicum is particularly interesting because it includes numerous annotations in an 18th-century hand, updating the names of the individual plants to conform with Carl Linnaeus’ classification system. Here you can see that holly was originally called Agrifolium sive Aquifolium but the later annotation gives it the genus Ilex. We know the name of our careful annotator, Geo: Heyward, but sadly nothing else.

Theatrum botanicum: the theatre of plants / John Parkinson (London, 1640)

5 of 8 | Dante Illustrations

LMH has a major Dante collection, including over 300 books. This collection started in 1919 with the gift from Lucy Ethel Willock, including two sixteenth century editions, and expanded with the George Musgrave bequest in 1932.

Dante’s Inferno: a version in the Spenserian stanza / by George Musgrave, with forty-four illustrations by John D. Batten (London, 1935)

Two engrave printing blocks depicting the same scene, Dante and Virgil on the back of a giant flying creature. One is a woodblock, one a copper plate.

6 of 8 | Printing Blocks

George Musgrave (1855–1932) collected Dante editions when preparing an English translation of the Inferno. He also commissioned John D. Batten (1860–1932), to produce a set of 44 woodcuts to accompany it. Musgrave left all of his Dante collections to LMH. This included a set of large collotypes of Batten’s illustrations, as well as the printing blocks and printer’s proofs (some of which are displayed here). For many years the collotypes hung in the corridor opposite the Chapel corridor, leading it to be known as ‘Hell’s Passage’ – there are still 3 of them hanging there now. In 2021, to mark the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, the collection was hung in the Jerwood Room and the LMH Fellow Peter Hainsworth published a book about them.

7 of 8 | Eglantyne Jebb

LMH Library holds many books written by our alumni and fellows, like these two books.

Eglantyne Jebb (1876–1928) rose to international fame as the founder (along with her sister Dorothy Buxton) of Save the Children, and author of the Declaration of Geneva regarding the rights of the child – the first human rights document approved by an inter-governmental institution. She was an outspoken critic of class divides, and railed against poverty in all its forms: she was known as the ‘White Flame’ due to her burning conviction and passion. Sadly Jebb suffered from a thyroid problem, and after three operations for goitre she died in Geneva on 17th December 1928. Her death is remembered in the Church of England liturgical calendar: she is the closest we have to a sainted alumna!

Donated by Cecilia Rachel Buxton, Eglantyne’s niece (LMH 1946–49, later a lecturer here).

Save the Child! A posthumous essayEglantyne Jebb (London, 1929)

8 of 8 | Malala

Malala Yousafzai (1997–) is the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, famous as a prominent supporter of the rights of all children to a full education, a critic of the Taliban, and an advocate for refugee rights. After surviving an assassination attempt she rose to world-wide prominence, speaking in front of the UN. Her family moved to Birmingham, and from there she got a place at LMH to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics – following in the footsteps of her role model Benazir Bhutto (1953–2007).

Malala’s Magic Pencil / Malala Yousafzai (UK, 2019)

Hoot Hoot, Hoot Hoot | Erin Hughes

Artwork installed in LMH Library: marbled paper collage of a tawny owl.

1 of 7 | Hoot Hoot, Hoot Hoot

In 2019, LMH alumna Erin Hughes (Fine Art 2009) contacted Allan Doig, her former LMH tutor. Since graduating from LMH, Erin had been doing extensive work with collages – originally focusing on depictions of interiors and modern life, particularly using ersatz materials and fake marble laminates. However, after moving to a remote hillside in Mid Wales, she has been turning more towards natural landscapes and birds, using hand-marbled paper to create images imitating inlaid stone Pietre Dure creations.

She was inspired to contact Allan Doig with an update of her work after she had read, in the 2019 Brown Book, an article on our book binding exhibition, and particularly admired the pictures of marbled papers from that display. He immediately saw the exciting potential for an art installation in LMH Library, to tie in with our book displays, and put us in touch.

Erin Hughes, Hoot Hoot, Hoot Hoot (2019).

Illustration of a tawny owl.

2 of 7 | Tawny owl from 'British Ornithology'

Visiting LMH and looking at some books from the Briggs Room, she was drawn to our second edition of British Ornithology (London: Graves, 1821), written and illustrated by George Graves. She was fascinated by the plates depicting owls, wanting to explore how caricatured and deadpan the drawing style is, particularly for the depiction of such symbolically intelligent and ethereal creatures.

George Graves, British Ornithology (London: W. and S. Graves, 1821). Briggs Room 598.2 9-11

Artwork installed in LMH Library: marbled paper collage of an eagle owl.

3 of 7 | Hoot Hoot, Hoot Hoot

Their expressions are comparable to the contemporary comedy trope of looking directly at the camera, breaking the fourth wall. They are deeply serious, but also quite preposterous due to their facial discs making them look almost cartoon-like, and their stereoscopic forward-facing eyes humanising them compared to many birds.

Erin Hughes, Hoot Hoot, Hoot Hoot (2019).

Close up of marbled paper collage.

4 of 7 | Hoot Hoot, Hoot Hoot: Work in Progress

Erin decided to set each of Graves’ owls against a repeating backdrop of a simple landscape drawn from a Pietre Dure image, emphasizing their staged compositions. She hand-marbled all the paper, using a variety of styles – as well as natural marbles, she also used a loose nonpareil marble pattern to recreate the effect of the owl feathers. This technique is traditionally used on end papers and book bindings, further locating the work within the library context.

Work in progress detail; Erin Hughes, Hoot Hoot, Hoot Hoot (2019).

Artwork installed in LMH Library: marbled paper collage of a long-eared owl.

5 of 7 | Hoot Hoot, Hoot Hoot

The finished installation spans four corners of the library, holding the space with their curious expressions. They have been placed on cupboard doors, again tying it into the Pietre Dure tradition, which was often used for cabinet door inlays. When you first enter the library they grab your attention, brightening the whole space (several visitors have remarked that they thought they were images on back-lit flatscreens). However, it is only when you study them up close you begin to see all the details, and the different textures of marble, getting the full experience. The labour intensive, hand-made collage process creates an image that deeply rewards an active and close look.

Erin Hughes, Hoot Hoot, Hoot Hoot (2019).

The artist, Erin Hughes, standing next to one of the collages installed in LMH Library

6 of 7 | Hoot Hoot, Hoot Hoot: The Artist

The exhibition opened in September 2019, for the annual Oxford Open Doors ( day (when many colleges and spaces in Oxford put on free exhibitions or displays, and encourage visitors). Erin also returned to the college in Michaelmas 2019 to talk to our Fine Arts students about her life as an artist and the creation of the works. We are hoping that the installation will remain up for this year’s Gaudy Garden Party and Open Doors (coronavirus permitting!)

Erin Hughes, Hoot Hoot, Hoot Hoot (2019).

Artwork installed in LMH Library: marbled paper collage of a snowy owl.

7 of 7 | Hoot Hoot, Hoot Hoot

After completing her BA in Fine Art at LMH and the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Erin spent four years living and working in Berlin. She graduated with an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art, London in 2018. Whilst in Berlin she co-founded Cypher Space, which later led to co-founding Cypher Billboard in London, and she also curates Contemporary Collaborations at Robert Young Antiques in London. Recent exhibitions include; Surface Matters, Take Courage Gallery, London 2020; Adazzel, JGM Gallery, London, 2020; Autumn Show, Minerva Arts Centre, Llanidloes, 2019; Bounds,, 2019; A Raw Garden, Fitzrovia Gallery, 2019; Hidden, Mid-Wales Arts Centre, 2019; FAKERS, Thames-Side Studios Gallery, London 2018; Paper Cuts, Saatchi Gallery, London, 2018; Floored, Glass Cloud Gallery, 2018; Home Me 3, Cypher Billboard, London 2017; Mud, Tokyo and Swimming, presented by imlabor, Park Tower Hall Gallery1, Tokyo, 2017.

To see more of Erin Hughes’ work, visit or her instagram handle here:

Erin Hughes, Hoot Hoot, Hoot Hoot (2019).

Contact the Library

LMH Special Collections are open to visitors by appointment (email during staffed hours, Monday to Friday, 9.30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Lady Margaret Hall Library
Norham Gardens
United Kingdom


Telephone: (01865) 274361

The librarian, Jamie

Jamie Fishwick-Ford

(Librarian, they/them)

Sally Hamer

(Assistant Librarian, she/her)

Previous Exhibitions

Visit our online archive of previous exhibitions: