Dr Carol Farr
Full-day, from 10.00 to 17.00
Maximum: 15 students
Venue: Senate House

Two gospel books, usually attributed to the late seventh and early eighth centuries, are considered the earliest surviving major examples of Irish and British manuscript art and the script known as Insular half-uncial or Insular majuscule. The Book of Durrow and the Lindisfarne Gospels will be studied as part of a larger context of early Latin book production. We will look into their scribal and artistic backgrounds to understand broadly their origins, consider questions surrounding their origins—especially for the disputed Book of Durrow—and reveal the ways in which they represent developments in early medieval manuscript art and textual presentation. Looking to the wider context, we will put them in relation to eighth-century manuscripts that survive—often in fragments—from centres such as Wearmouth-Jarrow, Canterbury and Echternach, as well as Insular manuscripts that migrated to the continent and now are in continental collections such as the Stiftsbibliothek in St Gallen, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich, Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan and Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. The course will finish with a look at print and online facsimiles of some of the manuscripts studied.



Moss, Rachel, The Book of Durrow: Official Guide. London, 2018.

Nees, Lawrence. Early Medieval Art. Oxford, 2002. Accessible art historical survey.

Webster, Leslie. Anglo-Saxon art. London: British Museum, 2012. Excellent survey of early medieval art from Britain, in all media.

Barbet-Massin, Dominique. L’Enluminure et le sacré: Irlande et Grande-Bretagne VIIe-VIIIe siècles. Paris, 2013. Thorough survey of book art of Ireland and Britain.

Henderson, George. From Durrow to Kells: the Insular gospel-books 650-800. London, 1987. Still the best survey in English of Insular manuscript art.

Meehan, Bernard. The Book of Durrow: a medieval manuscript at Trinity College Dublin. Dublin, 1996

Brown, Michelle. The Lindisfarne Gospels: society, spirituality and the scribe. London, 2003.

Gameson, Richard, ed. The Lindisfarne Gospels: new perspectives. Leiden, 2017.

Netzer, Nancy. Cultural Interplay in the Eighth Century: the Trier Gospels and the making of a scriptorium at Echternach. Cambridge, 1994.