Monday, 6 February 2012

Illuminated manuscripts - surprisingly interesting

This weekend my Dad wanted to see an exhibition on illuminated manuscripts at the British Library. I was happy to indulge, but couldn't muster much enthusiasm in the subject. Turned out it was a nice surprise - a vast collection on both religious and non-religion texts, delightfully illustrated, from the Royal Collections held at the BL.

The works themselves were nothing without the context around them, which was succinctly presented and integrated into the displays. Plenty detail to the historical backdrop, mostly of the Was of the Roses and 100 Years War. Having studied Henry VIII at least twice in school history lessons, seeing the very Bible the King and Cardinal Wolsey pored over and annotated in their search for the justification for Henry to divorce his wife was pretty darned interesting, actually.

Most of the works were from between 1100-1500 and were real treasures. There were even a book of psalms from the Anglo-Saxon period, and the burned remnants of one work dating from around the year 500. I wonder if these artists realised their work would survive a thousand years later? Not bad for some cured hide, pigment and gold leaf.

Another fine example of just how much history the UK has to offer. Darn, I sound like a tourist-board advert. Highly recommended but I stress I have no affiliation with the BL!

I'd best bring this back to wargaming - the exhibition almost tempted me to grab some miniatures for Wars of the Roses/Medieval skirmish. Perry miniatures just happen to do a couple of boxes at a very reasonable price... Whilst I'd have fun painting them, I would never get a game with them, so I'll leave it as a project I could do as a diorama one day.

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