Lindisfarne Gospels to go on display in the North East in 2022

A colourful and elaborate Chi-Ro in the Lindisfarne Gospels

We are pleased to announce that the Lindisfarne Gospels, the most spectacular surviving manuscript from Anglo-Saxon England, will go on display in the North East of England, on loan from the British Library, in 2022.

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The manuscript will feature in a new exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, with a supporting exhibition at neighbouring Newcastle City Library aiming to attract visitors from across the North of England and beyond.

To celebrate the Gospels going on display, venues across the North East will be invited to host supporting events and there will be an accompanying programme of activity for community groups and schools, as well as a high profile artist commission to reimagine the Gospels for a 21st century audience.

The plan to display the Lindisfarne Gospels in Newcastle was co-ordinated by the North East Culture Partnership (NECP) and the British Library. Following a competitive process Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) in partnership with Newcastle City Library was selected as the preferred bidder and approved by the Association of North East Councils (ANEC), receiving warm support by local leaders across the area.

This is the fifth time since 1987 that the Lindisfarne Gospels has been on display in the North East of England. Most recently, in 2013, the manuscript was the focus of an exhibition at Durham University, which attracted nearly 100,000 visitors, and told the historic story of the Gospels and its spiritual significance.

The 2022 exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle will focus on the meaning of the Lindisfarne Gospels in today’s world and how its themes link to personal, regional and national pride and identity.

What is the Lindisfarne Gospels?

The Lindisfarne Gospels has long been acclaimed as the most spectacular manuscript to survive from Anglo-Saxon England. It is a copy of the four Gospels, the biblical books recounting the life of Christ, along with the associated texts that typically form part of Gospel-books, such as chapter lists and letters written by St Jerome (d. 420).

The copying and decoration of the Lindisfarne Gospels represent an outstanding artistic achievement. The book includes five highly elaborate full-page carpet pages, so-called because of their resemblance to carpets from the eastern Mediterranean. The Lindisfarne Gospels is also celebrated for the intricately decorated words that open each Gospel, and the portraits of the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Where can I find out more about the Lindisfarne Gospels?

Although our doors may currently be closed, when it is safe to reopen our exhibitions the Lindisfarne Gospels will go on display in the Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery, before heading to the North East in 2022.

You can also learn about the Lindisfarne Gospels by exploring the digitised collection items on our website. Zoom in on the book’s intricate illuminations, or see if you can decipher the Old English gloss added between the lines of the main Latin text by a priest named Aldred – the earliest rendering of the Gospels in the English language.