Rare engraving of the Canterbury Magna Carta is bought at local auction by the city’s cathedral
The Magna Carta is one of the most important historical documents in British history. It was signed by the Great King John of England and stated that everyone was subject to the including the King himself.
Recently, a rare 1215 engraving of the renown Canterbury’s Magna Carta was purchased at a local auction by the city’s cathedral. The Canterbury Cathedral purchased the piece using funds from the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral and The Friends of The National Libraries.
The engraving was purchased by the local cathedral on November 28 for a 3400 Pounds, which was within the estimated sale value of 3000 to 5000 Pounds.
The engraving was printed on Vellum in the 18th century at around 1733. Experts believe that it was the copy of Magna Carta that was used by Archbishop Stephen Langton and was preserved among the cathedral records.
The purchased copy is among the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta that are present today. The other two are preserved at the British Library while the other one is at Lincoln Cathedral.
In the recent past, researchers have unveiled that one of the Magna Carta copies at the British Library was originally kept at Canterbury Cathedral. As a result, it has been renamed the Canterbury Magna Carta. However, the Canterbury Magna Carta with King John’s seal was damaged in a fire at around 1731. Efforts to restore the copy for future reference in 1830 failed and rendered the copy unreadable hence making the 1733 engraving of paramount importance.
John Pine (1690-1756) is believed to have made the engraving purchased at the recent auction. He was a publisher and map seller and also the Blumantle Pursuivant at the College of Arms. Pine produced this engraving on Vellum in 1733, and any further copies from the date are all printed on paper.
The newly acquired piece is set to redefine how the Magna Carta story will be told for generations to come. Cressida Williams who is in charge of the library and the archives at the Canterbury Cathedral attested to this noting that the engraving is the best item in their collection to tell the Magna Carta story. This is so because the engraving in itself has a far much greater effect than the registered versions already present in the cathedral. Williams expressed gratitude to the Friends of The National Libraries and Friends of Canterbury Cathedral for their role towards the new acquisition. She also thanked the Canterbury Auction Galleries for removing the buyer’s premium for the engraving, which aided in its purchase.
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