First look at Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition artwork

The British Library has unveiled artwork for Harry Potter: A History of Magic, and new companion books will be launched from Bloomsbury and Pottermore all about the exhibition.

The artwork features Jim Kay’s illustration of a phoenix, as well as other nods to the world of magic and myth.

Senior designer at the British Library John Overeem said that the poster artwork is a combination of ‘the old – positively ancient – and the new'.

‘It was a long and very rewarding selection process,’ said Overeem. ‘We have a host of magical creatures to choose from but the phoenix seemed symbolically the most hopeful and dynamic; the Jim Kay version is in such vivid colours it soars right off the page.’

Jim Kay’s award-winning illustrations will feature throughout the exhibition. This particular depiction of the phoenix is from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Illustrated Edition.

Here, the phoenix is flying across some ancient writing in the background, and eagle-eyed readers will notice a recognisable name: ‘Flamel’.

Nicolas Flamel was the creator of the Philosopher’s Stone in the first Harry Potter story, and was a real-life historical figure reputed to be an alchemist.

The artwork offers a glimpse into over 100 artefacts going on display at the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition at The British Library in London, which opens on Friday 20 October. You’ll also be able to see all of the artefacts in a new set of companion books, to be published in time with the exhibition.

A new batch of tickets for January and February 2018 has just been released.

The exhibition has been created by the British Library to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. All the artefacts featured in the exhibition are rooted in the mystical and magical, capturing the traditions of folklore and magic which are at the heart of the Harry Potter stories.

From art, drawings, books and beyond, visitors will get to explore magic and the Wizarding World in new and exciting ways. The items on display will also include special contributions from UK Harry Potter publishers Bloomsbury and hand-picked items from J.K. Rowling’s archives, such as handwritten notes and sketches.

The exhibition and its artefacts will also soon feature in two books which will accompany the exhibition.

British Library Harry Potter A History of Magic book adult edition cover

The adult edition, Harry Potter: A History of Magic, will be available in both print and eBook editions, published by Bloomsbury and Pottermore respectively, and include interviews with the curators, exhibit information and beautiful artwork, as well as fun interactive features in the eBook.

British Library Harry Potter A History of Magic  family edition book cover

There will also be a family edition for younger readers: Harry Potter: A Journey Through a History of Magic, available in print and as an eBook too.

Both of these books will be available from Friday 20 October: the same day the exhibition opens.

You can buy tickets for Harry Potter: A History of Magic here. Tickets to see the exhibition in 2018 are also now available.