Synopses & Reviews
Illuminated manuscripts collected by successive kings and queens of England form the heart of a unique and visually stunning collection held by the British Library. A key figure in the formation of this collection was King Edward IV (1461–83), who commissioned a number of luxury manuscripts decorated with his arms. Subsequent monarchs added to this library, which was given to the nation by George II in 1757.
Over 150 examples from this exceptional collection are presented in this catalog, which accompanies a major British Library exhibition of the same name. These manuscripts contain paintings produced by some of the finest artists of the Middle Ages. Highlights include the Book of Hours, made for Henry VIII’s great grandmother, Margaret Beauchamp; Henry VIII’s Psalter, commissioned and annotated by the king himself; maps of an itinerary from London to Apulia and to the Holy Land; and the Shrewsbury book, presented to Margaret of Anjou on her marriage to Henry VI in 1445. The catalog features full-page illustrations from each manuscript included in the exhibition, as well as three illustrated essays which explore the wider history and context of this unique collection.
Written by the curators of the exhibition, along with contributions from several experts in the field, Royal Manuscripts will be a much-heralded event for scholars and collectors seeking to better understand the lives and aspirations of those for whom these stunning artifacts were made.
“Sumptuous and highly readable, this catalogue by McKendrick, Lowden, and Doyle for a recent British Library exhibition is beautifully produced and richly illustrated with numerous color plates, as befits its regal matter. . . . Recommended.” J. Oliver
"At a time when it is becoming ever more difficult to use books in the Manuscripts Room, this is a welcome reminder of work in progress."
What role did books play in the lives of English monarchs and their families? Besides Alfred the Great, Edward IV, Henry VIII, and George III, which kings and queens appreciated books and amassed enormous libraries full of them? Thisand#160;well-illustratedand#160;volumeand#160;presents a fresh and wide-ranging review of the evidence for royal interest in handwritten and printed books.and#160;Leading expertsand#160;offer new perspectives on the involvement of Englandandrsquo;s monarchs in the circulation and preservation of texts from Anglo-Saxon times to the present day. Some essays consider individual books or monarchs; others take a wider view of several centuries of evidence. At the heart of the volume is the remarkable array of royal books held by the British Library, including the Old Royal Library, presented to the nation by George II, and the Kingandrsquo;s Library, presented by George IV. Illustrated in color throughout, 1000 Years of Royal Books and Manuscripts will appeal to anyone fascinated by the British monarchy as well as the countryandrsquo;s rich and extensive literary history.
About the Author
is head of history and classical studies at the British Library.
John Lowden is professor of art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. He was elected member of the Academia Europaea in 2006 and corresponding fellow of the Medieval Academy of America in 2011. His extensive publications include The Making of the Bibles Moralisées, and Early Christion and Byzantine Art, awarded the 2002 Gruendler Prize for the best book in medieval studies, and Early Christian and Byzantine Art, which has been translated into French, Greek, Japanese, and Korean.Kathleen Doyle is curator of illuminated manuscripts at the British Library.
Table of Contents
Note to the Reader
Kathleen Doyle and Scot McKendrick
The Earliest English Royal Books
King Athelstanand#8217;s Psalter (BL Cotton Galba A. xviii)
The Provenance of the Morgan Golden Gospels (Pierpont Morgan Library, MS M.23): A New Hypothesis
James P. Carley
The Great Lost Library of Englandand#8217;s Medieval Kings? Royal Use and Ownership of Books, 1066-1272
The Livre du Sacre of Charles V of France: A Reappraisal
Makers of Royal Manuscripts: Court Artists in France and the Netherlands
The Manuscripts of Edward IV: The Documentary Evidence
and#8216;Preserved and Transmitted for the Good of Posterityand#8217;: The Transfer of the Old Royal Library from a Palace to a Museum
Royal Libraries in the Kingand#8217;s Library
The Royal Library at Windsor Castle
Index of Manuscripts