THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Medieval manuscripts blog

02 March 2019

Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: a huge thank you

When the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition finally closed last week, over 108,000 people had visited it. We would like to thank again the 25 lenders who loaned over half of the manuscripts and other objects. We are very grateful for the generosity of all the institutions that loaned so many great treasures. They were displayed alongside 80 books and documents from the British Library, ranging from Beowulf and the St Cuthbert Gospel to the oldest surviving charter from England. Half of the Library’s own exhibits – 40 books and documents – came from the remarkable collection of Sir Robert Cotton, recently inscribed on the Memory of the World register.

Codex Amiatinus, an enormous medieval bible, in its display case in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition.

Codex Amiatinus, loaned by the Biblioteca Laurenziana Medicea in Florence, returned to England for the first time in over 1,300 years (image credit Tony Antoniou)

Dr Claire Breay, lead curator of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition, turns the pages of the Lindisfarne Gospels

The Lindisfarne Gospels (Cotton MS Nero D IV) was one of the many manuscripts on display in Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms.

Spong Man, an Anglo-Saxon pottery lid in the shape of a seated human figure.

Spong Man was loaned to the exhibition by Norfolk Museums Service (image credit Tony Antoniou).

Thank you too to all the donors whose support enabled us to bring together so many loans, to all the members of the advisory group who guided the development of the exhibition and related programmes, and to everyone who contributed to the exhibition catalogue and our sold-out ‘Manuscripts in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms’ conference in December. A selection of papers from the conference will be published next year. And very many thanks to all the members of the Medieval Manuscripts Section and all the other teams across the Library who supported the delivery of the exhibition, whether in visible or unseen ways.

The front cover of the exhibition catalogue for Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms.

The exhibition catalogue, edited by Claire Breay and Joanna Story, features every item on display in Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms.

A framed medieval charter being installed in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition

Installing Wynflaed's will (Cotton Ch VIII 38): many teams across the Library were involved in preparing and supporting the exhibition.

Although the exhibition has closed, and the exhibits have been returned to the lenders and the British Library’s shelves, our Anglo-Saxons website remains online, updated last week with new articles, collection items and videos from the exhibition. And, as regular readers of this Blog will be well aware, to support future research on the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms, almost all of the British Library’s Anglo-Saxon manuscripts have been fully digitised through a programme funded in memory of Mel Seiden and by The Polonsky Foundation England and France 700–1200 Project.

A page from The Caligula Troper, with an illustration of 'The Naming of John the Baptist' and a Latin text accompanied by musical notation.

The Caligula Troper was among the British Library's Anglo-Saxon manuscripts digitised in advance of the exhibition: Cotton MS Caligula A XIV, f. 20v

A medieval Gospel-Book with a treasure binding, on display in the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition.

The Judith of Flanders Gospels, with its magnificent treasure binding, was kindly loaned to Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms by the Morgan Museum and Library, New York (image credit Tony Antoniou).

And finally, to everyone who came to the sold-out programme of public talks and to the exhibition itself, thank you very much.

 

Claire Breay

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