A two-year project that drew together and digitized 800 manuscripts from the collections of the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France has been completed and is available for perusing online. The manuscripts, all dated between 700 and 1200, are being made available to the general public for the first time.
Historically, manuscripts from this time were reserved for the upper classes, who could read and write. The manuscripts were illuminated using vivid color pigments and gold leaf, which gave the hand-crafted books an artistic flair. An argument can be made that the popularity of manuscript illuminations paved the way for the great oil paintings of the Renaissance.
Now, this project, The Polonsky Foundation England and France Project: Manuscripts from the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, 700-1200, and similar efforts are making it possible for the general public to examine these documents, which never would have been available to them 1,000 years ago. Even 10 years ago, only scholars and art historians could view ancient and delicate texts.
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** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
An interesting link found among my daily reading