This curated selection explores medieval manuscripts that were digitised as part of The Polonsky Foundation England and France Project: Manuscripts from the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, 700–1200. Discover stunning highlights of illuminated manuscripts set in their cultural and historical context and explored in a range of articles.

All of the 800 manuscripts digitised in the project are included in full on the website France et Angleterre: manuscrits médiévaux entre 700 et 1200 where you can view manuscripts side by side, and find manuscripts by date, language, place of origin, author or subject.


Historians of the Early Middle Ages

Historians of the early Middle Ages

Throughout human history, one of the main functions of story-telling has been to create and strengthen shared identities that hold communities together. Jaakko Tahkokallio explores the historical works of leading medieval writers.

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Medieval Libraries

Medieval monastic libraries

Through the evidence of surviving manuscripts, Alison Ray explores the collections of medieval libraries and how these libraries grew and changed over time.

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Franco-Saxon Decoration

Franco-Saxon manuscript decoration

Manuscripts decorated in the Franco-Saxon style are some of the most visually stunning signs of the flow of inspiration and connections across the English Channel in the early Middle Ages. Emilia Henderson examines the design and production of these works.

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BnF Collections

The origins of the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s collections of manuscripts

Charlotte Denoël provides insight into the historic collections of illuminated manuscripts now in the national library of France.

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BL Collections

The origins of the British Library’s collections of manuscripts

The manuscript collections of the British Library are rich resources for understanding the literary and historical culture of the Middle Ages. Kathleen Doyle highlights the works digitised through The Polonsky Foundation England and France Project.

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Art and illumination

Learn more about manuscript art from the illumination and decoration found in medieval books.

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History and learning

Explore the spread and exchange of medieval culture and language before 1200.

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Science and Nature

Science and nature

From medical surgery to the stars of the constellations, what were the scientific works of the early Middle Ages and how were they transmitted?

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Making Manuscripts

Making manuscripts

Learn more about book production in the Middle Ages and how to illuminate a manuscript today.

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