Classic storybooks filled with centuries of captivating fairy tales are being opened up this week as dragons land in Leeds for a spellbinding new exhibition.

Visitors to Leeds Central Library are being invited to step inside the pages of antique works by iconic storytellers such as The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen as the library explores the remarkable realm of fantasy.

And a jaw-dropping pair of mythical dragons are also carefully watching over their eggs in the library in an installation created by fantasy artist Anne Stokes.

Among the elaborately illustrated tomes on display in Fantasy: Realms of Imagination, will be vintage copies of Grimms Fairy Tales, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Gulliver’s Travels and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, complete with stunning illustrations by the renowned Arthur Rackham.

Other works on display will include an 1894 edition of The Story of the Glittering Plain by famed poet, artist and fantasy writer William Morris,  illustrated with black and white woodcut designs by Walter Crane.

As well as exploring the golden age of fairy tales, the exhibition will take library-goers on a quest through the historic building, with different spaces exploring the origins of fantasy stories in ancient cultures across the world as well as looking at how the genre has influenced pop culture today.

Also on display will be nostalgic memorabilia from popular fantasy TV shows including Xena: Warrior Princess, which starred Lucy Lawless as the titular ancient Greek heroine, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the hugely popular show about a teenage monster hunter.

A colourful, specially-commissioned pop-up style installation by artist Laura Slater will also be on display in the library’s entrance.

Fantasy: Realms of Imagination is inspired by a current exhibition also being held at the British Library and will feature a programme of events and activities through the exhibition.

Fantasy: Realms of Imagination is at Leeds Central Library is now open until January 17, 2024.

For more details or to see the events programme in full, please visit: Fantasy: Realms of Imagination (leeds.gov.uk)


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