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Cathedral Library treasures opened up in collaborative project

: Copyright: Canterbury CathedralA collaboration between Canterbury Cathedral and the University of Kent's Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS) has enabled the public to view for the first time some of the many treasures stored within the Cathedral Library's archives.

Known as ‘Picture This’, the collaboration features a monthly online post of a carefully selected image from one of the Library’s books with an accompanying descriptive article written by a student or researcher at the University.

Published at, these articles hope to provide a fascinating commentary on the symbolism of medieval art, as well as an explanation and understanding of hidden language that can give an insight into the workings of the medieval mind.

Cathedral Librarian Karen Brayshaw said: 'Picture This reveals some of the treasures hidden within the Cathedral Library. Our aim is to make items from our collections more widely available and provide an awareness, both of some of the symbolism and meaning within the images, and of their historical significance.'

Jayne Wackett, 'Picture This' editor and a lecturer at MEMS, said: 'Picture This is a wonderful testimony to the partnership that exists between the University and the Cathedral. MEMS really values this special relationship which allows students first-hand access to the Cathedral's treasures. It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to offer on Masters and PhD courses. This venture means that access to some hidden gems is made easier for absolutely everyone, which is fantastic.'

Containing a wealth of fascinating and historical literature, the Cathedral Library houses some 30,000 books and pamphlets printed before 1900, and has an expanding collection of some 20,000 books and serials published in the 20th and 21st centuries. Although available for research purposes with prior notice, the delicate condition and age of some of the collections has meant that there are limitations on viewing by the general public.

To see the latest post in the 'Picture This' series visit:


Story published at 2:44pm 30 April 2013

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Last Updated: 23/05/2013