Exploring Medieval Manuscripts: An Interview with Erik Kwakkel

Erik Kwakkel - Photo by Willem-Jan Schipper

‘I love that something quirky and nerdy like the medieval book is becoming mainstream.’

A Needle’s Breadth Apart: The Unexplored Relationship Between Medieval Embroidery and Manuscript Illumination

Luttrell Psalter - British Library Add MS 42130

I am currently exploring records showing that there is evidence that some individuals were involved in both. In particular, mention of two nuns who were known as embroiderers and illuminators.

Medieval Manuscripts in Living Colour

Book of Kells, Folio 32v, Christ Enthroned.

How did medieval people get such magnificent colour, and how can it still be so brilliant a thousand years later? Here’s a five-minute look at colouring manuscripts.

Top 10 Most Beautiful Medieval Manuscripts

most beautiful medieval manuscripts lindisfarne gospels

Giovanni Scorcioni gives us his list of the most beautiful manuscripts of the Middle Ages

Medieval iconography of watermelons in Mediterranean Europe

Image of watermelon from the Tractatus de herbis, British Library ms. Egerton 747, which was produced in southern Italy, around the year 1300

With the objective of obtaining an improved understanding of watermelon history and diversity in this region, medieval drawings purportedly of watermelons were collected, examined and compared for originality, detail and accuracy.

Top 10 Medieval Book Curses

British Library Harley MS 2798, fol. 235v.

Christ’s curse upon the crook who takes away this book.

Simon Fraser University unveils its first medieval manuscript

SFU archivist Melanie Hardbattle peruses the SFU Library's first medieval manuscript, dated 1269. Photo courtesy SFU News

Written in Latin on parchment, and dated to 1269, it features student notes scrawled in the margins, as well as amusing decorative drawings.

High tech tools used to understand medieval manuscripts

Many documents are very delicate and sensitive, and ideally should not be touched or exposed to direct light. Photo by Nils Kristian Eikeland/NTNU Universitetsbiblioteket

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Gunnerus Library are developing new high-tech tools to unlock the secrets hidden in old parchment.

Touching the Past: The Hand and the Medieval Book

Getty exhibit rohan master and book of fables  - Photo by Danielle Trynoski

Touching the Past: The Hand and the Medieval Book invites visitors to get in touch. Well, not literally since we’re discussing medieval manuscripts, but the exhibition wants viewers to consider the tactile side of books and manuscripts

What is a Psalter?

What is a Psalter - St. Albans Psalter from the 12th century

Because they didn’t contain the entire Bible, psalters were nice and portable, making good girdle books for the devout – or those concerned with showing off – to carry with them.

Image and Meaning in the Floral Borders of the Hours of Catherine of Cleves

Hours of Catherine of Cleves 1

The Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves, produced in the Netherlands in the early 15th century, is one of the most beautiful and complex manuscripts of the late Middle Ages.

Qur’an manuscript discovered in England could be over 1400 years old

oldest quran manuscript - photo courtesty University of Birmingham

Experts at the University of Birmingham believe they have discovered a manuscript of the Qur’an that is at least 1370 years old, making it the oldest known copy of the Islamic Holy Book.

Exhibit: Magna Carta Through the Ages at the Society of Antiquaries of London

The Black Book of Peterborough. Photo by Medievalists.net

If you’re passing through London and want something to do that is very quick, free, and historical, check out this great little Magna Carta exhibit at Burlington House hosted by the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Medieval Parchment: Sewing Lines and Growing Surfaces

matthew paris map

Talks about growing a medieval parchment by stitching in items to it.

How to travel to the physical and heavenly Jerusalem without leaving home


By the fifteenth century numerous accounts of the holy places circulated in Western Europe, many of them in Latin, a few in various vernaculars such as French and Middle Dutch.

Rothschild Prayer Book comes to Australia

Virgin and Child on a crescent moon and The seven joys of the Virgin, fols 197v–198r in the Rothschild Prayer Book c.1505–1510, Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth

One of the most remarkable books from the Renaissance period, the Rothschild Prayer Book, can now be seen at the National Library of Australia in Canberra.

Ruralia Commoda – 14th century gardening manual on display in London

Ruralia commoda

Written in Latin between 1304 and 1309 by Petrus de Crescentiis, a wealthy lawyer from Bologna in Italy, Ruralia Commoda was the only publication of its kind during Henry VIII’s reign.

The Bible moralisée of Naples


The Bible moralisée of Naples (c. 1340-1350, Naples, Italy) is housed in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.

12th-century copy of Consolation of Philosophy was written in Scotland, scholar finds

Dr Kylie Murray with the Boethius manucript - photo courtesy the University of Oxford

A twelfth-century copy of the ‘Consolation of Philosophy’ by Boethius, has been revealed to have been been written in Scotland, making it the oldest surviving non-biblical manuscript from that country.

Angels and the Antichrist: The Cardeña Beatus

Cardeña Beatus 1

Take a look inside the pages of the 12th century manuscript Cardeña Beatus

Renaissance Splendors in L.A.

Renaissance Splendors of the Northern Italian Courts - photo by Danielle Trynoski

Danielle Trynoski takes in the new Renaissance Splendors of the Northern Italian Courts exhibit at the Getty Center in Lost Angeles

The Great Hours of Anne of Brittany

Great Hours of Anne of Brittany

The Great Hours of Anne of Brittany, created between 1503 and 1508 in Tours, France, is undoubtedly a masterpiece of French painting.

Sewing as Authority in the Middle Ages

Letter of Indulgence for the Herkenrode Abbey (Source: Flandrica.be | Limburg Provincial Library) [CreativeCommons BY-NC-SA BE 2.0]

Analysing manuscripts, relics, indulgences, and even a bishop’s mitre, the article argues that stitching was a way to enact, or intensify, the ritual purpose of objects, whether that was ceremonial, devotional, or authoritative.

Magna Carta: The Road to Runnymede

This is one of the two Magna Carta owned by the British Library (c) The British Library Board

A look at the creation of the British Library’s Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy exhibition.

Shining Light on Medieval Illuminations: Pigments through the Ages

shining light on medieval illuminations

Identifying the materials used in medieval illuminated manuscripts gives us an insight into the techniques and skills of the scribes and illuminators, as well as the sometimes complex trade routes of the times.

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