Directory: Churches and People

Lincoln's Magna Carta to tour the US in 2014

07 March 2014

Lincoln Cathedral's Magna Carta will tour the United States later this year

Lincoln Cathedral's Magna Carta will embark on a tour of the United States later this year.

The document will travel to the United States for three major exhibitions celebrating the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the document by King John at Runnymede in June 1215.

The Lincoln Magna Carta will be exhibited first at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), from July 2 to September 1 and in partnership with the Massachusetts Historical Society, will be on view in the Art of the Americas Wing alongside other historical loans, as well as portraits and works of art from the Museum's collection.

Focusing on Massachusetts' and America's ongoing relationship with Magna Carta, additional objects include The MFA's Sons of Liberty Bowl (1768) by Paul Revere which is engraved with the words ‘Magna/Charta' and ‘Bill of/Rights' and two manuscript copies of the Declaration of Independence, originally penned by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

Ann and Graham Gund Director at the MFA, Malcolm Rogers, said: "I am proud to bring Magna Carta to Boston, where it inspired so many Sons of Liberty and Founding Fathers to action, and am grateful to the Lincoln Cathedral for this extraordinary loan.

"This foundational document will hold a place of honour among American masterpieces and colonial treasures that bring some of Massachusetts' most famous patriots to life."

In September, Magna Carta will then move to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts for an exhibition from September 6 to November 2.

The final exhibition will be at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, where it will be on display from November 6 until January 19, 2015. In addition to the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the exhibition will also commemorate the 75th anniversary of the November 1939 deposit of the Lincoln Magna Carta at the Library for safekeeping during World War II.

Librarian of Congress James H Billington said: "We are honoured to place on exhibition Magna Carta, one of the lasting treasures of human history. The principles that underlay Magna Carta are the foundation of our liberties, inspiring this country's Founding Fathers in shaping the U.S. Constitution and the laws of this land.

"We especially welcome the return of the Lincoln King John 1215 Magna Carta, because the Library of Congress played an important role in its safekeeping during World War II."

There are four 1215 Magna Carta in existence. Two are held by the British Library and one by Salisbury Cathedral. All four of the original surviving 1215 Magna Carta manuscripts will be brought together for the first time in history at a three day event at the British Library from February 2 to 4, 2015.

The Dean of Lincoln, the Very Reverend Philip Buckler said: "The Lincoln Cathedral Magna Carta is a source of great pride for the people of Lincoln and its Cathedral. It has been met by great enthusiasm whenever it has travelled to the United States in the past and we look forward to it being a source of inspiration to all those who visit the exhibitions, so much so that they are encouraged to come and visit Lincoln - the place where so much of the story begins."

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