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Major Thomas Becket Exhibition To Open At The British Museum

The British Museum have announced that a major exhibition will open on Thomas Becket on the 22 April 2021, to run until August 2021. Thomas Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his shocking brutal murder in 1170. He was later to be venerated as a saint and martyr by the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.


Lloyd de Beer, co-curator, said “The violent death of Thomas Becket is the ultimate true crime story. It’s a real-life tale as dramatic as Game of Thrones and we’re going to lead visitors through every twist and turn of this remarkable plot. There’s drama, fame, royalty, power, envy, retribution, and ultimately a brutal murder that shocked Europe.”


According to the press release, the story will be told through an array of over 100 artefacts from around the UK and Europe. Its centrepiece will be the loan of a stunning six metre medieval stained glass window from Canterbury Cathedral. It will be the first time the glass, one of only seven that remain, has ever left the Cathedral since it was made 800 years ago.


Leonie Seliger, Director of Stained Glass Conservation at Canterbury Cathedral, said:

“The Miracle Windows are medieval versions of graphic novels illustrating the experiences of ordinary people. They greeted the pilgrims at the culmination of their journey to Becket’s shrine with images that would be reassuring and uplifting.”


Other objects featured in the exhibition include precious jewellery, sculpture, and illustrated manuscripts. Titled Thomas Becket: murder and the making of a saint, it will be displayed in the Joseph Hotung Great Court Gallery at the British Museum on Great Russell Street in London. It was originally due to open in October 2020, but was delayed to 2021 by the coronavirus pandemic.


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