Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth/ A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown./ Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,/ And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard (1751)

Exhibitions

Current exhibitions

Thomas Gray: an anniversary exhibition

Until 13th December 2021, the Ward Library at Peterhouse is hosting an exhibition to mark the 250th anniversary of Thomas Gray’s death, the 305th anniversary of his birth, and the 270th anniversary of the publication of the ‘Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard’. The exhibit has been curated by the Perne and Ward Librarian, Scott Mandelbrote.

The exhibition considers Gray’s life and work from the perspective of the holdings of the two Cambridge Colleges with which he was associated from 1734, when he entered Peterhouse, until his death, which occurred shortly after he was taken ill at dinner in Pembroke. It focusses on three defining themes in Gray’s life and reputation: his relationship with Cambridge and the effect on him and on his work of the friends and enemies he made at the University; his activity as a reader, in particular as a user of the libraries of his two Colleges; and the publishing phenomenon of the ‘Elegy written in a country churchyard’, his most significant poem and one steeped in his appreciation and emulation of classical tradition, as well as his sense of place and of English history and the history of English poetry.

The exhibition includes a number of items from Pembroke College. We are very grateful for their generosity and support.

External visitors are welcome by appointment during office hours (email: library@pet.cam.ac.uk).

There are shelf-lists and catalogues at each of the main exhibit cases, including a large-print version on green paper in the front hall.

If you can’t make it, there is also a virtual exhibition: thomasgrayexhibition.com

 

Past exhibitions

Details of recent past exhibitions, exhibitions of Peterhouse materials mounted in the University Library, and of displays elsewhere in the College may be found on the Perne and Ward Libraries blog.

Printed catalogues of many past exhibitions are available on request from the Ward Librarian.

Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth/ A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown./ Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,/ And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard (1751)