A History of Illuminated Manuscript

Front Cover
Phaidon Press, Sep 26, 1997 - Design - 272 pages
Medieval manuscripts are counted among the greatest glories of Western civilization. With their gold and painted decoration and their charming miniatures, they have always had immense appeal, and images from them can be seen everywhere - from greeting cards and wrapping paper to expensive facsimiles. This entertaining and authoritative book is the first to provide a general introduction to the whole subject of the making of books from the Dark Ages to the invention of printing and beyond. Christopher de Hamel vividly describes the widely different circumstances in which manuscripts were created, from the earliest monastic Gospel Books to university textbooks, secular romances, Books of Hours and classical texts for humanist bibliophiles. As the story unfolds the wonderful variety of manuscripts and their illumination is revealed, and many fundamental questions are answered - who wrote the books, what texts they contained, who read them, how they were made and what purposes they served. Illuminated manuscripts have alway been highly valued, and among them are some of the world's great masterpieces of art. With its lively narrative and many new and superb illustrations, this new edition of a much-praised book provides the perfect introduction to a large and fascinating subject.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - goodda4 - LibraryThing

The first book that anyone interested in illuminated manuscripts should start with. De Hamel has an unparalleled mastery of the subject and presents it in a reader-friendly and engaging way. Included ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jcwords - LibraryThing

A beautifully written and illustrated history of illumination. De Hamel guides the reader through a user-focused (rather than chronological) history of book art without ever lapsing into dryness. This authoritative volume should be on every illuminator's shelf! Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (1997)

Christopher de Hamel is a Fellow Librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. For many years he was head of the Western Manuscripts department at Sotheby's in London. He is the author of The Book: A History of the Bible, also published by Phaidon, which has become established as a definitive work and magnum opus in itself.

Bibliographic information