A 16th century, 11-metre-long scroll illustrating the history of the world from Biblical times will be on show to the public for the first time, as the centrepiece of an exclusive exhibition of recent acquisitions from the Kerry Stokes collection, to be held at the University of Melbourne for Rare Book Week from July 14.

Cronica Cronicarum, a chronicle of French, English and world history, ranging from Creation to the year 1521, and other exquisite items including illuminated manuscripts on vellum from the same period will also be on show.
 
The items were recently acquired on loan from the Kerry Stokes Collection, and will be on display exclusively at the University's Baillieu Library, while three public lectures will explore the objects' unusual provenance and cultural significance.
 
Emeritus Professor Margaret Manion, is one of Australia’s leading experts on medieval art, and an advisor to Kerry Stokes on his collection, who has published widely on the subject of illuminated manuscripts.
 
“The Chronicle’s ninety-two woodcuts include early depictions of the cities of Paris, London and Rome as well as portraits of kings and rulers, biblical and historical scenes, and genealogical tables,” she says.
 
“Several hand illuminated manuscripts and early decorated printed works from around the turn of the century and later are included in the exhibition, which are fascinating.

“Not only have they not been available for many years for public display but they represent the work of some of the most distinguished and sought after patrons of the time, who worked for French Royalty and the Papal court in Rome. These works provide splendid examples of exquisite decoration and inspirational devotion.”

Mr Philip Kent, University Librarian and Executive Director, Collections, said the University was honoured to host the exhibition.

“Kerry Stokes is a dedicated and long-time collector of many aspects of world culture, including works of art, maps, ancient books and Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated manuscripts.’

“He is distinguished by the fact that he is always prepared to share his collections with interested members of the public and has facilitated public exhibitions of much of this material including previously at the University with the Rothschild Prayer Book.’

“We are honoured that he has again given the University an exclusive opportunity to showcase pieces from his extraordinary collection,” he said.
 
Rare Book Week is a partnership event between ANZAAB (the Australia New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers), the University of Melbourne and eight other literary institutions.
 
This year, more than 50 free events will be held at libraries, literary and historical societies and bookshops throughout Melbourne, attracting local, national and international visitors.
  
As part of this year's Rare Book Week the University of Melbourne will host Melbourne Rare Book Fair in Wilson Hall, for dealers and collectors alike.

For more information visit: http://events.unimelb.edu.au/rare-book-week