New Publication: ‘Frankish Manuscripts: The Seventh to the Tenth Century’ by Lawrence Nees

Frankish Manuscripts covers the earliest period in this series devoted to manuscripts illuminated in France. The two volumes explore those manuscripts that originate in the period before the kingdom of France emerged at the end of the tenth century. From the seventh to the tenth century most of modern France was ruled by kings of the Franks, from dynasties known as Merovingian and Carolingian, whose territories also included significant portions of other modern nations, especially the Low Countries, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

The introductory essay in Volume I offers an overview of salient issues in this creative period, formative for later medieval manuscripts produced in France and elsewhere, in the former Frankish territories and beyond; the volume includes 341 photographs from the manuscripts in the catalogue, the great majority reproduced in colour. Volume II comprises a detailed catalogue of 100 manuscripts from this large region, each with a detailed description, an interpretive commentary focused on the decoration of the text as well as illustrations, and a survey of previous scholarly literature, including digital access when available. The catalogue includes some of the most famous early medieval manuscripts, decorated with luxury materials and exceptionally beautiful script, ornament and illustrations. In the spirit of a survey intended to show the range of Frankish illumination, it also includes manuscripts of ancient and contemporary poems, scientific works, commentaries, a cookbook, and one manuscript in a vernacular language. Together, these two volumes provide the most comprehensive survey of manuscript illumination in Francia, its large corpus of illustrations making the manuscripts more readily available for study not only by scholars of illumination but also by others interested in early medieval culture.

Lawrence Nees is Professor in the Department of Art History and H. Fletcher Brown Chair of Humanities at the University of Delaware. He is a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

To purchase, visit Brepols.


Published by charlottecook

Charlotte Cook graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in European History from Washington & Lee University in 2019. In 2020 she received her Master’s degree in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, earning the classification of Merit. Her research explores questions of royal patronage, both by and in honor of rulers, in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England. She has worked as a researcher and collections assistant at several museums and galleries, and plans to begin her PhD in the autumn of 2022.

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