£1.9 million "Treasures of the Brotherton" gallery opens in Leeds

A £1.9m gallery has opened inside the Parkinson Building at the University of Leeds, following a £1.4m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Treasures of Brotherton Gallery features artefacts from the University’s special collection including rare manuscripts and books. It will be open to all and offers visitors the opportunity to explore, learn and interact with unique material, through exhibitions and events.

Notable items on display include Nobel Prizes, James Cook’s voyages and a copy of William Shakespeare’s first folio, dated 1623, printed seven years after the playwright’s death, which includes manuscripts of the plays Macbeth, Twelfth Night and The Tempest.

There is also a Babylonian clay tablet from around 2,500BC which was used as a receipt for barley in Ur in the Middle East.

Dr. Stella Butler, the keeper of the Brotherton collection, has stated that it was a ‘difficult pleasure’ to select one hundred or so items from the University’s extensive collection of over two hundred thousand rare books and hundreds of thousands of manuscripts and objects.

The first temporary exhibition focuses on conscientious objectors during the First World War, and includes a map and compass associated with Bertram Ratcliffe, Captain of the 1st Battalion in the West Yorkshire Regiment, who was one of the first soldiers to be wounded during the war.

The ‘delightful challenge’ will continue as the displays will be regularly changed to ensure the conservation of these objects and to give the University the opportunity to display the depth and breadth of their collections.

The Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery is free to the public and open between 1pm and 5pm on Monday, and 10am to 5pm on Tuesday to Saturday.

Jonny Chard

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