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The BNF and the British Library put on line 800 medieval illuminated manuscripts



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This unprecedented Franco-British collaboration between the British Library and the National Library of France reveals the "richness and magnificence of manuscripts in English and French" since the beginning of the Middle Ages, the BNF welcomed. It offers researchers and the general public access to exceptional documents.

Bestiario, late 12th century - early 13th century, British Library, Haley MS 4751: an elephant carrying a wooden tower and armed soldiers

Bestiario, late 12th century – early 13th century, British Library, Haley MS 4751: an elephant carrying a wooden tower and armed soldiers

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Documents accessible in two places

You have created two websites. The French site, entitled "France-England 700-1200: medieval manuscripts of the BNF and the British Library", brings together 800 Anglo-Saxon and Norman illuminated manuscripts, half-conserved on each side of the channel and selected according to "its importance for the history of Franco-English relations in the Middle Ages, its artistic, historical or literary interest, "says BnF.

Regarding the United Kingdom site, intended for the general public, it also offers video clips on various topics such as medical knowledge at the beginning of the Middle Ages or techniques to create an illuminated manuscript.

400 manuscripts from each of the two institutions have been digitized, restored, cataloged and accessible in these two places, which should allow students and researchers to go into depth in a little-known period.

Psalter of Canterbury, circa 1200, BnF, Department of Manuscripts, Latin 8846: Scenes of the Old and New Testament

Psalter of Canterbury, circa 1200, BnF, Department of Manuscripts, Latin 8846: Scenes of the Old and New Testament

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"Impressive manuscripts"

Charlotte Denoël, main conservative of the medieval manuscripts of the BNF, speaks of "800 amazing manuscripts".

Among these treasures are Benedictionary of Winchester (circa 1000), a collection of letters from Saint Thomas Becket (late 12th century) and the magnificent Psautier of Canterbury (circa 1200) with a trilingual translation in Latin, French, and English. English made in Canterbury.

"We hope to evolve the knowledge about this period of political and cultural conflicts: writers have continued to travel between England, France and Normandy, working in Latin on manuscripts, English and French, a beauty and" unprecedented refinement " , responds to Kathleen Doyle, curator in chief of the illuminated manuscripts of the British Library.

Illumination, presumably of a salteri, 3rd quarter of the 12th century, British Library, Cotton MS Caligula A VII / 1: Announcement to the shepherds

Illumination, presumably of a salteri, 3rd quarter of the 12th century, British Library, Cotton MS Caligula A VII / 1: Announcement to the shepherds

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