Genius of Illumination Exhibition
I think this exhibition looks like a wonderful one to visit. I love looking at illuminated manuscripts and books, the almost talismanic quality of the illuminated text and the calligraphy. I shall definitely try to plan a visit to the BL to see the exhibition before it ends in March.
Magnificent explosion of colour. Many thanks, aeolium. I have put it on my list.
Morning Chris, 'Explosion of colour' certainly expresses it. What a beautiful thing to see on such a grey morning. Thanks aeolium.
saly, I second your opinion. This is all quite splendid. I love illuminated manuscripts.
Originally Posted by aeolium
Many thanks for your post. I would really love to visit this exhibition, it is good that it runs on till March.
We have been.
I can confirm it is definitely worth a visit - there are about 150 illuminated manuscripts, colour coded by age.
When you go, don't rush in as there is a very interesting display in the entrance explaining how the manuscripts are made; you can wander around this when you come out too.
Predominantly of course these are secular texts, and typically I tended to like either the ones that weren't, or the odder ones. Here are a few of my notes...
For example one illumination showed King Saul relieving himself in a cave,whilst behind him David cuts a bit of his cloak off to demonstrate his integrity - he could have killed him.
What a marvellous idea for a set of illuminations - I can imagine the visceral way in which it must have caught the viewers attention.
[I spent a lot of time wondering about who the viewers might have been -only those blessed few who could read?]
Another one that caught my eye was of John the Baptist marking his feast day with a lion,a unicorn and a hedgehog.
I didn't realise the hedgehog was held in such high regard.
Another showed the wreck of the white ship in 1120..
A hugely significant event in the history of England of which I had absolutely no knowledge - and another excellent illumination.
On a medical chart it appeared that the illuminator had become perhaps a little bored and added what can only be described as some bawdy cartoons - I particularly liked the sketch showing the physicians monkeys diagnosing patients urine by tasting it; the concentration needed by the illuminator must be so extreme that it was hardly surprising the mind must wander occasionally, just very surprising that they actually sketched onto the object of their attention.
My favourite was the humanistic book of hieroglyphs (from 1507) wonderful emblematic inscriptions - and one which the scholars are unable to interprete or explain. It is somehow satisfying to know there are still mysteries out there unexplained, and the hireoglyphs themselves were intriguing and immaculate.
The audience were of a certain age and type - I'm always comfortable when I find my peer group, but I do hope there are some schools and educational establishments running trips there and making these wonderful artefacts come alive.
Many thanks for this review, Globaltruth.
I too had no knowledge of the White Ship incident, or its impact on English history.
I hope to go to see the exhibition in late Feb or early March, and perhaps take in a concert as well.
Last edited by Globaltruth; 05-12-11 at 15:07.
I like the new BL building. I shall give Albertini's a try. I'm not sure about "slightly desperate part of London" - don't you like St Pancras International and the restored former Midland Grand Hotel building?
But I take issue with William of Malmesbury in the quotation contained in your "White Ship" link: "No ship ever brought so much misery to England". I'd say it was the ship that brought William the Conqueror here in 1066 (but that's another story)....