The exhibition examines the relationship between Magna Carta and Parliament during the 800 years following the sealing of the charter at Runnymede in 1215.
The exhibition will feature images drawn from Parliament’s own collections as well as external institutions. On display will be key iconic documents held by the Parliamentary Archives, including the Petition of Right (1628), the Habeas Corpus Act (1679), the Bill of Rights (1689), the Great Reform Act (1832) and the Human Rights Act (1998). The organisers are also grateful to Lord Mitchell for the loan of a facsimile copy of the Salisbury Magna Carta.
Magna Carta established the principle of the consent of the realm for the levying of taxation, a key function of Parliament, and in the centuries that followed it was enshrined as a parliamentary statute. During the seventeenth century Magna Carta became a reference point for those engaged in the struggle with Charles I, and its values were reflected in the Glorious revolution of 1688-89 and the subsequent evolution of Parliament as it became the democratic body we know today.
Visitors to Parliament on booked tours will be able to view the exhibition between 9 and 26 February 2015.
The exhibition has been organised by the Parliamentary Archives. The Lead Curator is David Prior, Head of Public Services and Outreach in the Archives.
Image credit: ‘King John Assents to the Magna Carta 1215’, oil painting by Charles H. Sims, 1925-1927, WOA 2602 (detail).