The illuminated opening of the Gospel of St Matthew

The illuminated opening of the Gospel of St Matthew

I was having a look through the British Library Website in the Virtual Books section, where you can view medieval manuscripts in detail online, particularly through their Turning the Pages programme. I came across the Lindisfarne gospels, which had the most incredibly beautiful illuminations that I thought I’d put up an image of one here – I admit it has already made it to my desktop wallpaper! Do go to the website here, because there’s no other way of viewing so many of the pages of the manuscript all in one place.
The illuminated opening of the Gospel of St Matthew

The Lindisfarne Gospels are thought to have been written by Eadfrith, Bishop of Lindisfarne early in the 8th century. The illuminations are an amazing example of Insular art, a combination of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic art and the intricacy of the detail and depth of colour are unusually well preserved. The original manuscript is written in Latin, but in the 10th century, it was translated into old English by Aldred, Provost of Chester-le-Street. It was kept in Durham Cathedral until the dissolution of the monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII, when it was removed, later owned by Sir Robert Cotton and then moved to London in the 18th century.

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