frank davis memorial lecture

Royal Manuscripts at the British Library

Makers of Royal Manuscripts: Court Artists in France and the Netherlands

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

17.30 - 18.30, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

Vincent of Beauvais at work in scriptorium
Vincent of Beauvais from Speculum historiale (Le miroir historial) books 1-5; Bruges, c. 1478-1483, f.3; © The British Board, Royal 14 E 1

Speaker(s): Dr Catherine Reynolds (Christie’s)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Professor John Lowden (for further information, please contact Dr Jim Harris

Central to any definition of royal manuscripts must be those produced for the prince by his own retained artists. Their conditions of service varied: some like the de Limbourgs or Barthélemy d’Eyck, seem to have been on comparatively close terms with their patrons, while for others, like the illuminators of Philip the Good of Burgundy, the relationship seems to have been more impersonal. Courts made and preserved records: specific details are available to give substance to generalisations about the status of court artists and the nature of their works.

Two thousand manuscripts from the Old Royal library were presented to the British Museum by George II in 1757. About one hundred and fifty of the most richly illuminated will be displayed in a joint British Library/Courtauld Institute of Art exhibition, Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination, at the British Library from 11 November 2011 to 13 March 2012. Taking this extraordinary collection as their starting point, the Frank Davis Memorial Lecture Series for 2011 will explore aspects of the patronage, manufacture, function and collection of books in medieval England and France, and will provide a broad context for these precious survivors of the library of the kings and queens of England.

Catherine Reynolds is an International Specialist Consultant for Christie’s Department of Books and Manuscripts. Her research on painting and manuscript illumination of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, begun during a career teaching at the Universities of Reading and London and continued as an independent scholar, has led to numerous publications and she has made  significant contributions to many of the most important catalogues and collections of recent years, including Lambeth Palace Library, Treasures from the Collection of the Archbishops of Canterbury (2010), Quand la peinture était dans les livres, Mélanges en l’honneur de François Avril (2007), Illuminating the Renaissance, the Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe 1467-1561 (2003).

Sponsored by the FM Kirby Foundation

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