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Issued Wednesday 3rd July 2013

Salisbury Cathedral’s Chapter House, home to its original copy of Magna Carta 1215, is the location for today’s global launch of the artwork for Jay Z’s latest album Magna Carta… Holy Grail. The album is inspired by the ideals of Magna Carta with its famous words “To no one will We Sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice”, and Jay Z’s personal conviction that these remain relevant today.

Image above by Ash Mills: Magna Carta 1215 and the album artwork for Jay Z’s 'Magna Carta… Holy Grail' with its classical reference brought into the 21st century with modern font with redacted text.

See further images.

The Dean of Salisbury, the Very Revd June Osborne, said “We are delighted that Jay Z has chosen Salisbury Cathedral, home to the finest of the four surviving original 1215 Magna Carta, as the location for the global premiere of his artwork for Magna Carta... Holy Grail. We know how important Magna Carta, and all it represents, is to people across the globe. The ideals it embodies are still relevant today. Jay Z, through his album, is creating a huge awareness of this historic document and its modern significance to a huge audience in the run up to its 800th anniversary in 2015. We hope to welcome many of his fans here this summer to see the artwork in the Chapter House alongside our Magna Carta.”


Brief background information on Magna Carta 1215

Magna Carta is one of the most celebrated documents in English history, regarded as the cornerstone of English liberty, law and democracy, and its legacy has been its enduring worldwide influence. It was written in Latin, the language of all official documents of the period, on a single skin of vellum (calfskin). It consists of 63 clauses written on 76 tightly packed lines, written with the standard medieval time and space-saving abbreviations. It is one of the most celebrated documents in English history whose importance cannot be exaggerated. It is often claimed to be the cornerstone of English liberty, law and democracy and its legacy has been its enduring and worldwide influence. The critical importance of the charter is that it imposed for the first time detailed written constraints on royal authority in the fields of taxation, feudal rights and justice, and limited unjust and arbitrary behaviour by the king. Magna Carta has become an icon for freedom and democracy throughout the world. Salisbury Cathedral is home to the finest of the four surviving original 1215 Magna Carta. The other surviving copies are held by the British Library and Lincoln Cathedral.


Why is Salisbury Cathedral the location for the global reveal of the artwork for Jay Z’s new album Magna Carta… Holy Grail?

Salisbury Cathedral is home to one of the four surviving original 1215 Magna Carta, a document that served as a foundation for liberty, justice and freedom.

Why is the album called Magna Carta… Holy Grail?
"To no one will We Sell, to no one will We Deny or delay, right or justice." These words and ideals are still relevant today. This album addresses the lack of rules governing all of our modern advances. We have new technologies and new ways of communicating with each other but we have no boundaries protecting our rights in this new world.

What is the relevance of the album artwork to the subject Magna Carta… Holy Grail and how does it connect?
Just as 1215 Magna Carta is a classic document, the classic image on the album cover represents the belief "when opposing thoughts are combined, beauty is created. When a man and a woman unite - on the most basic level - they create life."

Does Jay Z himself believe in Magna Carta and what it stands for?
It was his inspiration for the album.

How long will the artwork be on display in Salisbury Cathedral Chapter House?
Until the end of July.

Who designed the artwork?
Jay Z in conjunction with his creative director Willo Perron and photographer Ari Marcopoulos.

When and where can I see the original 1215 Magna Carta and Jay Z’s Magna Carta… Holy Grail album original artwork together?
1215 Magna Carta and Jay Z original album Magna Carta… Holy Grail artwork can be seen in the Chapter House at Salisbury Cathedral from 9.30am – 4.30pm Monday-Saturday and 12.45pm – 3.45pm on Sundays until the end of July.
Salisbury is 90 minutes from London and is easily accessible by frequent train service. The Cathedral is less than a 10 minute walk from the station.

Is Magna Carta 1215 still relevant to today’s society?
This is the very reason Jay Z entitled his album as such, to inspire this conversation.

Who is Jay Z and what is he known for?
Since 1996, 17-time Grammy award winner, Shawn "Jay Z" Carter has dominated an evolution in pop culture. Between multiple businesses and accolades spanning the recording industry to global investment leaders such as Warren Buffet, Jay Z personifies the "American Dream." He is Founder and Chairman of Rocawear and is majority owner of the 40/40 sports clubs.
Jay Z served as President and CEO of Def Jam Recordings, where he fostered the careers of international stars Rihanna, Kanye West and many others before entering into a partnership with Live Nation, forming the entertainment company, Roc Nation. In 2009, his release Blueprint 3 became his 11th No 1 album debut securing the record for most No 1 albums by any solo artist. In 2011, Watch The Throne, his collaborative effort with Kanye West marked his 12th No 1 album debut. 2012 saw Jay Z curate MADE IN AMERICA, a 2-day festival held in Philadelphia, and headline the opening of the Brooklyn NETS new Barclay's Arena with 8 sold out shows. In April 2013 he announced Roc Nation Sports, home to three-time NBA scoring champion, Oklahoma City Thunder's, Kevin Durant, All-Star New York Yankee second baseman, Robinson Cano and first round draft pick, Notre Dame all-time high scorer, Skylar Diggins, of the Tulsa Shock.
Jay Z continues his philanthropic work through Shawn Carter Foundation.

When is the album released and how can I get it?
The album is available for pre-order beginning on July 4 and on shelves July 8 internationally and July 9 in America. It can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon and all other major retailers.

Salisbury Cathedral Social Media Pages:

Jay Z Social Media Pages:


Salisbury Cathedral:

David Coulthard T: 01722 555 121 M: 07736 792998
Sarah Flanaghan T: 01722 555 148 M: 07771 510811

Ash Collins -
Jana Fleishman -

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