One of the most wonderful sights in this world is the shimmer of gold leaf on a manuscript page as it comes into the light. It is of course most well-known from medieval manuscripts, but has never quite stopped being used altogether. Consider Phoebe Traquair’s illuminated manuscript of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese. A full page, or a full miniature, with a background of gold leaf, never fails to catch my breath, just for a moment. Thus I have chosen as today’s image of light just such a miniature from the Aberdeen Bestiary (Aberdeen University Library MS 24). This manuscript was produced in the 12th century, and has a most interesting history. It has been fully digitised and is available online here, complete with translations and transcriptions. The birds are beautifully realised and stand out wonderfully against the shimmering gold. I chose the turtle dove image because two of these birds were sent, along with a partridge in a pear tree, to the singer of “The Twelve Days of Christmas, on the second day.
Posts Tagged ‘Special Collections’
Posted in Blogging projects, Librarianship, Medieval studies, tagged Christmas, Gold leaf, Light, Phoebe Traquair, Rare Books, Sonnets from the Portuguese, Special Collections, The Aberdeen Bestiary, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Turtle doves on December 15, 2014| Leave a Comment »
For the past month or so, I have been receiving emails from Goodreads, asking me to choose my best books of 2014. I never did go to their website to make my choices, as I simply haven’t been reading enough new books thus year. The results of the votes cast by those who did take part are now in, so I have some ready-made reading lists available!
Posted in Arts and Culture, Librarianship, Medieval studies, tagged Insular art, Insular manuscripts, Mid-week Museum, Monymusk Reliquary, National Museum of Scotland, Rare Books, Scottish Independence Referendum, Special Collections, Women for Independence on August 7, 2014| Leave a Comment »
Having not long returned from an all-women discussion on the Scottish Independence Referendum, organised by Women for Independence, and thus being very inspired and much better-informed, how could tonight’s Mid-week Museum post not be about a Scottish work of art?The Monymusk Reliquary dates from the 8th century, and gets its name from Monymusk House, where it was kept for an unknown number of years before being acquired by the National Museum of Scotland in 1933. (more…)
Posted in Academia and Research, Languages, Librarianship, Medieval studies, Travel, Victorian Studies, tagged Canada, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, François Villon, Pre-Raphaelites, Rare Books, Special Collections, Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library, Toronto University, Translation, Victorian Vendredis, William Morris on August 1, 2014| 4 Comments »
Posted in Academia and Research, Arts and Culture, Food and Drink, Librarianship, Medieval studies, Technology, Victorian Studies, tagged CAIS, CILIP Rare Books and Special Collections Group, Digitisation, Dundee University, French Emblems at Glasgow, Historic Libraries Forum, Library and Information History Group, London Rare Books School, Rare Books, Rare Books in Scotland, Special Collections, Understanding and Managing Rare Books on June 7, 2014| Leave a Comment »
Posted in Arts and Culture, Film and TV, History, Medieval studies, Technology, Travel, tagged British Museum, Islamic Spain, jewellery, longships, Norse gods, Norse mythology, Roskilde 6, Special Collections, St Gall Priscian, Vikings, Vikings : life and legend, weaponry on April 5, 2014| Leave a Comment »
Thus are the Vikings described by an Irish monk in the 800s, in a short marginal poem in the St Gall Priscian, where he expresses his relief at the stormy seas keeping the long ships at home in Denmark:
The wind is fierce tonight / it tosses the sea’s white mane/ I do not fear the coursing of a quiet sea/ by the fierce warriors of Lochlann.
Is acher in gaíth innocht,
fu·fúasna fairggae findḟolt:
ni·ágor réimm mora minn
dond láechraid lainn úa Lothlind.
(Priscian’s Institutiones Grammaticae known as ‘The St. Gall Priscian, St Gall Stiftsbibliothek MS 904)
I went to the British Museum’s Vikings : life and legend exhbition very early last Sunday; the Saharan storms were yet to hit London, so I was confident that the marauders so feared by the anonymous monk would be present. In addition to a lifelong fascination with the Vikings, and with their mythology in particular, I was really looking forward to seeing this exhibition in the new wing of the British Museum. (more…)
Get Ready to ‘Save-As’: New Uploads to the Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts – Medieval manuscripts blog
Posted in Academia and Research, Arts and Culture, Librarianship, Medieval studies, tagged British Library, British Library Digitised Manuscripts, Open access, Sarah J. Biggs, Special Collections, User education on August 20, 2013| 1 Comment »