Medieval manuscripts blog

07 December 2010


Welcome to the Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts blog.  In the coming months, the British Library's curators will provide regular updates on our exceptional holdings of ancient and medieval manuscripts.  Keep an eye out for news on our forthcoming major exhibition on the Royal Manuscripts collection, which opens at the British Library in November 2011.

We launched in February 2010 as the Digitised Manuscripts Blog, to publicise the digitisation of our Greek manuscripts.  The scope has now been extended to embrace all the activities of the British Library's Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts section.  Our experts specialise in European manuscript production and use from Classical civilisation to the year 1600.  We will continue to provide news here on our medieval manuscripts digitisation projects.

  A page from a medieval bestiary, showing an illustration of a whale, with a ship anchored on its back and sailors lighting a fire.

Miniature of a whale and a sailing boat, from a Bestiary, with extracts from Giraldus Cambrensis, England (Salisbury?). Second quarter of the 13th century, British Library, Harley MS 4751, f. 69.

We are committed to enhancing knowledge of our collections through digitisation and cataloguing, exhibitions and publications.  Here are some of our current exciting projects:

  • We are entering the second phase of our Greek Manuscripts Digitisation Project, funded generously by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.  This will make a further 250 Greek manuscripts available in full online, in addition to the 284 manuscripts uploaded to the British Library's Digitised Manuscripts site in September 2010.
  • The Royal Manuscripts research project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, will culminate in an exhibition of some of our most exquisite Royal manuscripts, at the British Library from 11 November 2011 to 11 March 2012.
  • We are creating descriptions of all the illuminated European Hebrew manuscripts at the British Library, which - together with selected images - will be made available in the summer of 2011 as part of our Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts.
  • A project to catalogue and digitise 150 scientific and medical manuscripts in the British Library's Harley collection will begin in 2011.

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