Tag Archives: Illuminated manuscript

New Illuminated Manuscript Digitisation Project with British Library & BnF: Polonsky Foundation

The Polonsky Foundation England and France Project: Manuscripts from the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, 700-1200

A new project is underway to open up further the unparalleled collections of illuminated manuscripts held by the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. In a ground-breaking new collaborative project the national libraries of Britain and France will work together to create two innovative new websites that will make 800 manuscripts decorated before the year 1200 available freely. The Bibliothèque nationale de France will create a new bilingual website that will allow side-by-side comparison of 400 manuscripts from each collection, selected for their beauty and interest. The British Library will create a bilingual website intended for a general audience that will feature highlights from the most important of these manuscripts and articles commissioned by leading experts in the field. Both websites will be online by November 2018.

Before the introduction of printing to Europe, all books were written by hand as manuscripts. The most luxurious of these were illuminated, literally ‘lit up’ by decorations and pictures in brightly coloured pigments and burnished gold leaf. All manuscripts — whether they are luxurious biblical or liturgical manuscripts, copies of classical literature or patristic, theological, historical or scientific texts — are valuable historical documents that can deepen and expand our understanding of the political, social and cultural life of the eras in which they were made. Their research value is inestimable.

The British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France have two of the largest collections of medieval manuscripts in the world. As a result of France and England being so closely entwined through periods of war, conquest and alliance and, in the medieval period, both nations claiming territory in France at times, both libraries have particularly strong holdings of French manuscripts produced in France or in Britain (but written in French or Latin).

tours

Decorated initial ‘I’(nitium) from western France, perhaps Brittany or Tours, 9th century (British Library Egerton MS 609, f. 46r).

 

This new project will add to the growing numbers of manuscript material available in full online as part of wider programmes to make these cultural treasures available to everyone around the world. At the British Library, over 8,000 items are currently available on our Digitised Manuscripts website. Similarly, thousands of items are available from the Bibliothèque nationale de France collections on its website, Gallica.

This exciting project is made possible by a generous grant from The Polonsky Foundation. Dr Leonard Polonsky remarks that ‘our Foundation is privileged to be supporting these two leading institutions in preserving the riches of the world’s cultural heritage and making them available in innovative and creative ways, both to scholars and to a wider public’.

The Polonsky Foundation is a UK-registered charity which primarily supports cultural heritage, scholarship in the humanities and social sciences, and innovation in higher education and the arts. Its principal activities include the digitisation of significant collections at leading libraries (the British Library; the Bibliothèque nationale de France; the Bodleian Library, Oxford; Cambridge University Library; the New York Public Library; the Library of Congress; the Vatican Apostolic Library); support for Theatre for a New Audience at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn, New York; and post-doctoral fellowships at The Polonsky Academy for the Advanced Study of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. Its founder and chairman, Dr Leonard S. Polonsky, was named a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for charitable services in 2013.

The focus on the digitisation project will be on manuscripts produced on either side of the English Channel between 700 and 1200. The manuscripts from this period open up a window on a time of close cultural and political exchange during which scribes moved and worked in what is now France, Normandy and England. Decorated manuscripts containing literary, historical, biblical and theological texts will be included, representing the mutual strengths of the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Online access to these manuscripts will support new research into how manuscripts — and people — travelled around Europe in this period. New connections will be made possible by studying the two collections side by side.

For example, the manuscripts selected will include a number of illuminated Gospel-books, providing a witness to the changing tastes, influences and borrowings reflected in the books’ design and script. So a 9th-century, a 10th-century and a late 12th-century Gospel-book all have colourful illuminated initials with geometric patterns, floral decoration or animals heads, yet their execution is very different. The script, colours, style and subjects of the illumination all provide clues to the time and place of their composition. With the digitisation of manuscripts all these features may be studied and enjoyed in detail.

As well as making 800 manuscripts freely available online, the project will be part of a wider programme of activities aimed at researchers and the general public. A number of the manuscripts digitised will be displayed in a major international exhibition on Anglo-Saxon England to be held at the British Library from October 2018 to February 2019, which will highlight connections between Anglo-Saxon England and the Continent.

A conference at the British Library will coincide with the Anglo-Saxon exhibition (December 2018), and a project conference will be held at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. An illustrated book showcasing beautiful and significant manuscripts from the collections will also be produced. Another output will be a film on the digitisation project that, together with the other aspects of the public programme, will open up new paths into collections for a variety of audiences.

The original version of this blog post in the British Library Medieval Manuscripts Blog can be found here.

Adapted for Medieval Art Research blog by Amy Jeffs

Original text by Tuija Ainonen

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Colloque – Les marges

Le jeudi 18 mai 2017 se tiendra la journée thématique annuelle de l’IRHT consacrée aux marges. Ce thème, qui se trouve au carrefour des sciences du texte, rassemble toutes les sections du laboratoire, en ce qu’il touche aussi bien à la philologie, la lexicographie, l’histoire, la paléographie, qu’à la codicologie.

queen mary psalter f 133v

Marginalia from the Queen Mary psalter f 133v

Autour du texte, dimension essentielle de la culture et de sa transmission, les espaces laissés vides sont devenus le réceptacle de mentions, décors, marques codicologiques, etc. qui participent à son histoire. Sur tous les supports – papyrus, parchemin ou papier, manuscrit ou imprimé – et quel que soit le type de document, des écrits de la pratique aux livres liturgiques, en passant par les textes scientifiques et juridiques, ces ajouts, contemporains ou postérieurs, doivent être analysés. Il s’agira ainsi de rendre compte de pratiques éditoriales (rubriques, manchettes, références, iconographie), de pratiques de lecture et d’utilisation des textes transmis (marques de repérage, annotations, gloses, commentaires), mais également de tout autre type d’ajouts indépendants (mentions de noms, listes de livres, décomptes).

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Internship in Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts

Thanks to external funding, the British Library is pleased to be able to offer an internship in the Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts section of the Western Heritage Department, for doctoral and post-doctoral students in History, Art History, Medieval Language or Literature or another relevant subject.

Large zoo-anthropomorphic initial from the Historia naturalis of Pliny the Elder, Arundel MS 98, f. 85v

Large zoo-anthropomorphic initial from the Historia naturalis of Pliny the Elder, Arundel MS 98, f. 85v

The focus of the internship will be to enhance our Explore Archives and Manuscripts online catalogue, by creating or enriching catalogue entries for medieval manuscripts and publicising them in blog posts and other interpretative material. The intern will assist curators working on The Polonsky Foundation England and France Project: Manuscripts from the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, 700-1200. This may involve writing or researching short descriptions of manuscripts and groups of manuscripts. The intern will be involved in others aspects of the work of the Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts section, including responding to enquiries and providing talks for students and visitors, thereby gaining insight into various curatorial duties and aspects of collection care. During the internship at the British Library, the intern will enjoy privileged access to printed and manuscript research material, and will work alongside specialists with wide-ranging and varied expertise.

This internship is designed to provide an opportunity for the intern to develop research skills and expertise in medieval history and manuscripts, and in presenting manuscripts to a range of audiences. Previous interns have given feedback that they felt a valued member of the team, gained professional confidence and developed their career by carrying out a ‘real’ job with specific duties.

The programme is only open to students who are engaged actively in research towards, or have recently completed a PhD in a subject area relevant to the study of medieval manuscripts and who have a right to work in the UK full time.

The term of internship is full time (36 hours per week over 5 days) for 6 months. The salary is £9.75 per hour, which is the current London Living Wage. The internship will start in July 2017 or as soon as relevant security checks have been completed.

To apply, please visit www.bl.uk/careers.

Applicants are asked to include answers to the following questions within their Supporting Statement:

  1. Please give examples of your experience in cataloguing medieval manuscripts. 2. Please provide examples of your experience in writing about your research or about manuscripts for a general audience.

Closing Date: 1 May 2017

Interviews will be held on 19 May. The selection process may include questions about the date and origin of a particular manuscript to be shown at the interview.

Les Enluminures: Salon International du Livre Rare & de l’Objet d’Art de Paris (Stand C5) April 7 to 9, 2017

Poster Salon International du livre rare & de l'objet d'art

International Showroom of Rare Books and Artistic Objects

Les Enluminures warmly invites you to visit us at the

SALON INTERNATIONAL DU LIVRE RARE & DE L’OBJET D’ART STAND C5

where we will be exhibiting an exceptional selection of illuminated manuscripts, Books of Hours, Text Manuscripts and miniatures.

 

Highlights of the exhibition

Address:

Grand Palais

Avenue Winston Churchill
75008 Paris

PREVIEW
Thursday, April 6, 5 pm – 10 pm

OPENING HOURS
April 7 to 9, 2017
Daily, 11 am – 8 pm
Sunday, 11 am – 7 pm

1, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau
75001 Paris
tel +33 1 42 60 15 58
info@lesenluminures.com

Exhibition: Les Enluminures (New York & Paris)

Vernacular-1This exhibition will seek to reveal a “new” history of medieval French literature by presenting a group of 15 very rare, previously unpublished, mostly illuminated manuscripts written in French between c. 1300 and c. 1550. The manuscripts encompass a wide variety of subjects ranging from literature and science, philosophy and theology, to history and government.

Of special interest will be a section within the exhibition devoted to the often overlooked but critically important role played by French medieval women in advancing the “mother tongue”.  As authors, subjects, patrons, and collectors, French women like the 16th- century patron and poet Catherine d’Amboise were important champions of the vernacular. Their advocacy helped ensure that French would overtake Latin in less than two centuries to become the national language of literature.

The exhibition will be on view at Les Enluminures New York, from April 2- 26, and Les Enluminures Paris, from May 13May 20. The INHA Paris Colloquium will take place on May 17.

For more information, please visit. http://www.lesenluminures.com/expodetail.php?cat=coming&expoid=47&

Call for Papers: Medieval Manuscripts in Motion (Lisbon, March 2015)

The 2nd edition of the International Conference “Medieval Europe in Motion” will take place in Lisbon, 4-6th March 2015.

The conference’s main scientific goal is to analyse the phenomenon of circulation, motion and mobility of people, forms and ideas during the Middle Ages.

This time the focus will be on the illuminated manuscripts. This three-day Conference aims thus to conduct a critical and constructive revision of research on Iberian Book Illumination in the Middle Ages, proposing new questions to be discussed. manu

The organisers invite abstracts for papers (20-minutes in length) along the following themes:

  1. The phenomenon of mobility in Medieval times
  2. Clients and promoters, both individual and institutional
  3. Material authors
  4. Models
  5. Image performance
  6. Manuscript Acquisition: Luxury Market, Collecting

Proposals in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian are welcome. Please, send a 300-word abstract and a short CV to medinmotion2015@gmail.com by June 30th, 2014. Accepted proposals will be confirmed by September 15th, 2014.

Fees:
Participation with paper: 50 €
Attendance: 30 €

Current Exhibition: Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim

SL-5-2013-1-1s3Current Exhibition: Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, September 17, 2013–January 5, 2014

Hildesheim Cathedral has one of the most complete surviving ensembles of church furnishings and treasures in Europe, with many masterpieces made between 1000 and 1250. As a result, it was designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1985. A major renovation of the cathedral provides an opportunity for this extraordinary exhibition of medieval church treasures. Consisting of about fifty works, the exhibition focuses primarily on Bishop Bernward of Hildesheim (960–1022), one of the greatest patrons of the arts in the Middle Ages. In addition to the famous monumental bronze doors and the column in Hildesheim Cathedral that cannot travel, Bernward commissioned many smaller precious works of art, mostly for his monastic foundation St. Michael’s. A silver crucifix and candlesticks and numerous illuminated manuscripts (that he is known to have commissioned), and the Golden Madonna (that he is believed to have commissioned), are part of the exhibition.

The exhibition also examines the artistic production of Hildesheim in the high Middle Ages, including the monumental bronze baptismal font that is a masterpiece of thirteenth-century metalwork.

For additional information see http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2013/medieval-treasures-from-hildesheim