Exhibition opening event with Andrew Motion

Alison Prince, Bodleian Libraries Web Manager

On Thursday evening last week (2 December) we had the opening event for the Shelley’s Ghost exhibition. As usual the invitations created by Bodleian Library Publishing were gorgeous and, apart from a few unfortunate people caught in the snow down south, everyone arrived at 17:30 to a beautifully lit Divinity School.

It was great to see so many people there who had contributed to the exhibition in so many ways and it felt like a good culmination to the whole project. Bodley’s Librarian, Sarah Thomas, spoke first, followed by the University Vice-chancellor, Prof. Andrew Hamilton. We were then treated to a short speech from Andrew Motion who recalled his own time at University College, Oxford (Shelley’s college) in the room next to the Shelley Memorial. He had some amusing tales of complete strangers / Shelley ‘enthusiasts’ knocking on his door and inviting themselves in on the assumption that it must have been the room Shelley occupied!

After the talks, the exhibition room itself was opened and all the guests got to go in for a sneak preview before the public opening the following day. I spent quite a lot of time staring at the computers in the corner of the room to make sure people weren’t having any trouble using the sites but did manage to tear my eyes away and spend some time looking at the exhibits too. Being surrounded by a combination literary masterpieces and very human (often incredibly moving) objects was a very special experience. It was such a treat to see everything come together on the night in this way too. Here’s to the success of Shelley’s Ghost!