The 2014 Panizzi Lectures - Lecture 2
When: Thu 30 Oct 2014, 18.15-19.30
Where: Conference Centre, British Library
The Giant Bibles of Twelfth-Century England
A series of three lectures by Christopher de Hamel
The great Latin Bibles, in huge multiple volumes, are by far the largest and most spectacular manuscripts commissioned in England in the 12th century, decorated with magnificent illuminated pictures. The lectures will consider the purpose of such books and why they were suddenly so fashionable and also why they passed out of fashion in England during the second half of the 12th century
2: The Winchester Bible
The Winchester Bible is still in the cathedral where it was commissioned, doubtless by Henry of Blois, bishop of Winchester 1129-71. It too was illuminated by professional painters, who apparently also worked on frescoes in Spain. This year the manuscript is being rebound in preparation for exhibition in New York and eventual installation in a new display gallery in Winchester Cathedral.
The lecture will take advantage of its disbinding to make new observations about its production, and to suggest new dates for the different phases of the work, undertaken in parallel with a second (but lesser) giant Bible from Winchester, now in the Bodleian Library, MS Auct. E. Infra 1 and 2. These two Bibles were constantly changed and upgraded during production, which came to an abrupt end on the death of Henry of Blois on 8 August 1171. They were then taken up again a decade later, the Bodleian Bible was finally completed, and the two sets were corrected against each other. The Winchester volumes, however, were eventually abandoned a second time and were wrapped up still unfinished.