Golden Books

Gold book

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The art and meaning of precious metal in illuminated manuscripts

This event will take place at the British Library. It will be simultaneously live streamed on the British Library platform. Tickets may be booked either to attend in person (physical), or to watch on our platform (online) either live or within 48 hours on catch up.  Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.

This event will take place in the (air conditioned) British Library Entrance Hall. When you arrive at the Library please head to the main entrance and follow the signage.

Art historian Professor Lucy Freeman Sandler of New York University explores medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and books, such as those on display in our summer Gold exhibition.

She focuses on the ways gold was employed by scribes, artists, and goldsmiths to give meaning to written texts, painted images and metal book covers known as ‘treasure bindings’. 

The talk ranges across the varieties of gold script and the kinds of texts for which they were used, to the many aspects of the use of gold on pages, from gold motifs in border decoration, to gold in the figures, objects, and backgrounds of pictorial images.

In exploring the art and meaning of the use of precious metal in the golden books of the past, we can come to understand an important element of the history of human artistic creation.

Introduced by Dr. Kathleen Doyle, Lead Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts at the British Library.

This event accompanies our summer exhibition Gold: 50 Spectacular Manuscripts from around the World (20 May – 2 October).

Professor Lucy Freeman Sandler is Helen Gould Sheppard Professor of Art History emerita at New York University and author of Penned and Painted, being published by the British Library this summer.

Image: Girdle book, England c.1540; Stowe MS 956

Supported by:

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Name: Golden Books
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546