Online Lecture Series: Medieval Manuscripts Seminar Spring 2021 (Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London)

The seminar covers current research into the intellectual history of book production in the Middle Ages, into the history of medieval texts and script and into manuscript culture more generally. The great value of the seminar, which was founded in the 1970s, is that it draws on a wide pool of expertise from the academic world, the British Library, and the commercial world of books. It is linked with the London Palaeography Teachers’ Group and so acts as the meeting place for many of those involved with the teaching of the London International Palaeography Summer School.

Please register for seminars here. Once you have registered you will receive the Zoom meeting link.

Find out more about the Medieval Manuscripts Seminars here.

Meeting on Zoom, 5.30 p.m. London time.


23 February 2021, 5:30pm (GMT): Dr Stewart J Brookes, Lyell Fellow in Latin Palaeography, Bodleian Library, & Dilts Fellow in Palaeography, Lincoln College

Computer-Assisted Palaeography: What? Why? Whither?

With many of us locked away at home and unable to spend time with our beloved manuscripts, the large-scale digitisation projects of recent years have taken on an unanticipated importance. Arguably, the current situation has sharpened our awareness of the limitations and strengths of encountering medieval manuscripts in the digital arena. With that in mind, this paper will explore a number of questions: what would we like to do beyond browsing with the “Turning the Pages”-style and IIIF viewers provided by repositories? How might letter-forms or iconographic motifs be catalogued, curated and compared to support evidence-based scholarship? How fine-grained should our descriptions be? And do Digital Humanities projects and Machine Learning change the scope or even the nature of our research questions?

2 March 2021, 5:30pm (GMT): Dr Ainoa Castro Correa (University of Salamanca)

The Secret Life of Writing: A Holistic Palaeography Project

Dr Castro has been recently awarded an ERC-funded project entitled ‘The Secret Life of Writing: People, Script and Ideas in the Iberian Peninsula (c. 900-1200)’. In this seminar she will tell us about how this project came up to being, discussing the new and somehow strikingly holistic method upon which it builds, its aims and first results.

30 March 2021, 5:30pm (GMT): Early Career Researcher double bill

Stephanie Azzarello (History of Art, University of Cambridge)

Divine Riddles & Monastic Puzzles: Palaeography and the Dismembered Manuscript

During my PhD, I focused on reconstructing a now-dismembered series of illuminated choir books, produced in Venice in the early fifteenth-century. This series of manuscripts—made for the Camaldolese monastery of San Mattia di Murano—was lavishly illuminated and contained script and music notation. In this talk, I will present some of the intellectual tools that I used to ‘recreate’ the original liturgical order in which the excised images once existed. I will discuss how palaeography played an important role in this process.

Dr Alison Ray, Carnegie Project Archivist (Medieval Manuscripts), Trinity College Dublin Library

The pecia system of the Paris university book trade and its users, 1250-1330

Paris was the leading centre of the university book trade in the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, and the study of wide-ranging written and visual evidence available in surviving pecia manuscripts demonstrates the major influence of Paris intellectual life on English scholars, preachers and illuminators. The textual content, decoration and user-added marginalia of university-produced manuscripts provides a unique insight into the workings of the English cultural community at Paris during this period.


Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: