The Lindisfarne Gospels

As with the Book of Kells this is an early handwritten and illuminated version of the Four Gospels [126537]. It was made around 720 and since then has had several adventures ~ mainly as a result of Viking raids 150 years later. It now resides ~ safely ~ in the British Museum.

The Lindisfarne Gospels
Lindisfarne Gospels ~ a Carpet Page

The Lindisfarne Gospels
Lindisfarne Gospels ~ The ChiRho Page ~
compare with a similar page in the Book of Kells [126537]

Lindisfarne is a small tidal island off the coast of north-east England. A monastery was established there in the 7th century. They trained missionaries ~ who needed visual aids ~ so a specialist book-making-section was established ~ a scriptorium. The elaborate designs of the many books produced there helped to add marvel to the Christian message that was being spread around. Those involved with its production ~ which would have taken ten years or so ~ are named within it. The artist ~ the binder ~ and the metalworker who produced the original highly and bejewelled and decorated covers. These were subsequently stolen by Viking raiders.

I draw attention to one feature of note in that as well as ornate illumination on the first page ~ first word ~ first letter ~ of any passage ~ each Gospel has its own ~ separate ~ entire page of decoration. These are known as Carpet pages. Enthusiasts will find much more to compare between the two books ~ as have dozens of specialist scholars over the years. Both are regarded as being brilliant masterpieces in similar, and in different, ways.

I read in Wikipedia that 150 calf-skins were used to make the vellum. The folios were gathered into sections of eight pages, and that the basic layout-grid was pricked trhough each section to ensure conitnuity of design. There is a great deal more information there, and in similar sources. There is nothing to be gained by my repeating it here. I am gratefulfor the opportunity to display two of their images, since there is no way for me to be able to see them for myself. There are some interesting digitally-re-coloured versions on the WWW. They emphasize some of features of the intricate iconography.

For those interested in other precious books I have notes ~

~ The Book of Kells [126537]

~ St Cuthbert's Gospel [117143] ~ another Lindisfarne product

~ The Great Omar [115032]

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