Medieval Life, Personages, Celtic Art, Calligraphy and Illuminated Manuscripts
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Category — Illuminated Manuscript Galleries

The Book of Kells in the News

Image Detail from Gospel of Luke, Book of Kells

There may be no more famous example of an illuminated manscript than the Book of Kells. While it is well known as one of the most beautiful surviving illuminated manscripts, surprisingly, very little is actually known about the manuscript and its origins. Finally, modern science will be used to learn more about this treasure. From the Dublin Journal as reported in the New York Times:

Experts at Trinity College in Dublin, where the Book of Kells has resided for the past 346 years, are allowing a two-year laser analysis of the treasure, which is one of Ireland’s great tourist draws.

The 21st-century laser technology being used, Raman spectroscopy, encourages hopes among those with a romantic view for an ecclesiastical intrigue like “The Da Vinci Code” or “The Name of the Rose.”

But the precise subjects are more mundane. The laser will study the chemicals and composition of the book, its pigments, inks and pages of fine vellum. Experts estimate that 185 calves would have been needed to create the vellum on which the art and scriptures were reproduced.

This news happens to coincide with the opening of The Medieval Scriptorium’s on-line gallery of images from the Book of Kells. I have to admit that the gallery is not complete. I haven’t had time to finish all of the captions for the images but I decided to introduce it in this post in light of the recent story referenced above.

[tags]Book of Kells, illuminated manuscript, celtic, calligraphy[/tags]

May 29, 2007   1 Comment

The Bedford and Sobieski Books of Hours Now on Display at the British Library

The Bedford Book of Hours is going to be on display at the British Library next week. This is one of the most magnificent illuminated manuscripts in the world. It dates from the early 15th century and every single page in the over 500 hundred page book of hours is illustrated. The illustrations and illuminations are vivid and lush. On display with the Bedford Hours is the Sobieski Hours. It is also from the early 15 century. Both illuminated masterpieces are credited to an artist known as the “Bedford Master.” From the 24 hour museum:

The British Library is displaying two masterpieces of medieval art together for the first time in an exhibition celebrating the 15th century artist, the ‘Bedford Master’, and the collections of the manuscript owners.

Running until July 2 2007, The Bedford Hours: Owners and Illuminators, brings the Bedford Hours and the Sobieski Hours together, both lavishly illustrated medieval manuscripts by the Bedford Master (so called in honour of his noble patron the Duke of Bedford).

The 24 hour museum continues:

The identity of the Bedford Master remains uncertain, despite his having been among the leading and most prolific painters of his day. Some scholars tentatively identify him as the Alsatian artist Haincelin of Hagenau, recorded in Paris as a court painter to the Dauphin Louis de Guyenne.

This may very well be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the very best examples of Gothic Parisian illumination. These books are the pinnacle of Gothic calligraphic art.

Book of Hours

[tags]illuminated manuscripts, book of hours, bedford hours, sobieski hours, gothic alphabet, gothic calligraphy, british library[/tags]

April 16, 2007   Comments Off on The Bedford and Sobieski Books of Hours Now on Display at the British Library