1. picture from lewis caroll
    Photograph: Supplied
  2. picture from lewis caroll
    Photograph: Supplied
  • Art

World of the Book

Trace the rise and restyling of the beloved book at this free exhibition at the State Library Victoria

Saffron Swire

Time Out says

Lovers of the written word rejoice; a free exhibition over at the State Library Victoria is spotlighting the history of book design, production and illustration from the Middle Ages to the present day. World of the Book features more than 300 rare, remarkable, historically significant items in the State Collection, each unravelling a unique story from its pages. 

This year’s themes hone in on books and ideas; books and imagination; art and nature; artists and books; and Egyptology to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb. 

Exhibition highlights include a book on astronomy as far back as 336CE, a 17th-century book defaced by cat paw prints, rare editions of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass on display and an edition of Mary Shelley’s science-friction masterpiece Frankenstein. Printed during the author’s lifetime, it is the first edition to contain a preface where Shelley recounts the story of the novel’s inception: on the shores of Lake Geneva during a thunderstorm where Mary, her husband Percy Shelley and Lord Byron competed with one another to tell the best ghoulish story. 

World of the Book also includes several masterpieces by female writers on show for the first time, such as an embroidered binding that belonged to Henrietta Maria, the Queen Consort married to King Charles I until he was executed. The physicist Émilie du Châtelet’s most recognised achievement, her French translation of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, is also featured in the exhibit

Running until May 12, 2024, you’ll find World of the Book at the Dome Galleries, Level 4 of the State Library Victoria. For more information, visit the website here.

Love art? Check out what other art exhibitions are happening in Melbourne this month. Plus, these are the most beautiful libraries in Melbourne.


Opening hours:
Daily, 10am-6pm
You may also like
You may also like