Medieval calligraphy at its best – The Lindisfarne Gospels


On a small island off the Northumberland coast a Bishop takes on an enormous task: creating the Lindisfarne Gospels. It’s the early 8th century, the island is Lindisfarne (or Holy Island), where the community of St Cuthbert is located, and the Bishop is Eadfrith, who, with painstaking attention to detail, creates one of the best examples of British Medieval art over the length of several years. Or at least he was credited around AD960 with copying and decorating the Gospel on its own instead of delegating it to a group of several people. The Lindisfarne Gospels show excellent craftsmanship and combine Mediterranean, Anglo-Saxon and Celtic Elements which makes it so unique.

The book is usually on display in the British Library in London but I was thrilled to hear that there is a special exhibition in Durham showcasing the Gospels. Unfortunately still too far for a day trip…

As a huge fan of calligraphy, it was one of my favourite courses at university and I’ve done a fair bit myself, I especially like the intricate initials in these old scripts. The details and colours don’t stop to amaze me.


The opening of St Luke’s Gospel in the Lindisfarne Gospels

Page with Chi Rho monogram from the Gospel of Matthew in the Lindisfarne Gospels.


Folio 27r from the Lindisfarne Gospels, Incipit to the Gospel of Matthew.

So if these examples intrigue you and you are in the area around Durham between 1st July and 30th September 2013, go and see the exhibition. You can find more information here.

And maybe on day I’ll show you some of my calligraphy attempts as well. But don’t expect something like this…


5 thoughts on “Medieval calligraphy at its best – The Lindisfarne Gospels

  1. Great post, I love how much effort and time must have gone into putting those manuscripts together and the colours used were so lovely. Thanks for putting the pictures up, they are great to look at.


  2. Pingback: Caligrafitti | staceypetzoldgraphicdesign

  3. Pingback: Sacred Wonders of Britain – The Lindisfarne Gospels | design and dragons

  4. excellent submit, very informative. I ponder why the opposite specialists of this sector do not notice this.
    You should proceed your writing. I am confident, you’ve a great readers’ base already!


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