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Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts
 Detail from the Roman de la Rose
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An introduction to illuminated manuscripts

Overview Before 800 800-1000 1200-1400 1400-1600

3: 1000 - 1200

Romanesque art includes a highly decorative ornamental form in which gymnastic human and animal figures inhabit vibrant plant shapes, their expression in manuscript form perhaps equating to the stone carvings of the cloister. Byzantine illumination continued to exert a stylizing influence on figural art, for example in the damp-fold drapery style, resembling the clinging folds of wet cloth. Monumental Bibles, scholastic texts, and commentaries dominated the work of the scriptorium to ensure that the churches and monastic libraries were well stocked with essential study texts, as well as works from the classical period.

(Click on an image for an enlarged view and detailed description.)


Arundel 155, f.133
The Eadui Psalter, made at Canterbury in the eleventh century by one of the few Anglo-Saxon scribes who ever signed his name to his work, and containing a possible self-portrait.
Arundel 155, f.133


Cotton Tiberius C VI, f.14
The Tiberius Psalter from eleventh-century Winchester, demonstrating a late Anglo-Saxon style where vibrancy is achieved through vivid drawing rather than use of colour.
Cotton Tiberius C VI, f.14


Additional 19352, f.191
The Theodore Psalter, written in eleventh-century Constantinople by a scribe called Theodore, includes 435 marginal illustrations that act as a visual commentary on the text of the Psalms.
Additional 19352, f.191


Additional 11870, f.151
A Greek collection of saintsí lives arranged by the day on which their feast was celebrated, written in Constantinople in the eleventh century.
Additional 11870, f.151


Additional 28107, f.136
The Stavelot Bible, written over four years at Stavelot in what is now Belgium in the late eleventh century, by at least two named monks who may have been the manuscript's scribe and artist.
Additional 28107, f.136


Additional 15304, f.35v
A plain, clearly legible copy of the Four Gospels written in France in the twelfth century, with decoration included to help the reader find divisions in the text.
Additional 15304, f.35v


Egerton 1139, f.5v
The Melisende Psalter, made in the twelfth century in the crusader territories of the Middle East for Queen Melisende of Jerusalem.
Egerton 1139, f.5v


Harley 2803, f.229
The Worms Bible, made in the middle of the twelfth century in what is now Germany, with decoration marking the beginning of each book.
Harley 2803, f.229


Additional 5112, f.135v
An illuminated Greek copy of the Four Gospels written in the twelfth century, with decorated headpieces marking the start of new texts.
Additional 5112, f.135v


Harley 2799, f.155
The Arnstein Bible, a large two-volume manuscript written at Arnstein in the twelfth century by a single scribe, a monk named Lunandus.
Harley 2799, f.155


Overview Before 800 800-1000 1200-1400 1400-1600

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