Royal Manuscripts: the Genius of Illumination

Posted on: December 22nd, 2011

This winter the British Library is hosting an impressive exhibition of royal manuscripts. The exhibition contains 154 manuscripts and scrolls, which were the treasured possessions of the kings and queens of England from the ninth until the 16th centuries. The works are engaging on two levels 1) Their rich materials and large forms are astonishing and some touching is allowed of book materials samples and fine facsimiles, 2) The content is intriguing, for example Henry VIII’s commission for a book of Psalms with his portrait is interesting when one considers it was Henry VIII who stripped the English monasteries of their manuscripts. Highlights from the exhibition include the Bedford Hours, a 15th-century prayer book that rivals the world famous Très Riches Heures of the Duc de Berry, and Henry IV’s Great Bible, the largest work in the exhibit.

If you have a smart-phone or tablet, why not get a sneak peak with the Royal Manuscripts App here. Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination is at the British Library until March 13th 2012.