Themed Sets of Manuscript Books

Vindolanda Tablets Online A comprehensive illustrated database with associated background material, for the writing tablets excavated from the Roman fort of Vindolanda. Not medieval, but very much the early part of our story.

The Princeton Charrette Project and The Charrette Project 2 are evidently now two manifestations of the same project, containing linked transcriptions of multiple versions of Chrétien de Troye's Le Chevalier de la Charrette, with some large scans of manuscript pages.

The Piers Plowman Electronic Archive Another linked multivariant set of texts, with a sample of some facsimiles of various manuscripts. Apparently much unfinished.

The World of Chaucer Extensive catalogue of an exhibition held at the University of Glasgow Library. It contains commentary and large images from manuscripts of Chaucer, his contemporaries and works influential to him. Quite delicious.

Julian of Norwich - Folio, Manuscript, Paleography, Codicology Part of a larger website on Julian of Norwich, it consists of a single page of great length with many images from manuscripts and some information about them.

Le Roman de la Rose From Johns Hopkins University and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, a a huge meta project on all known manuscripts of this work, with library reference material, commentary and digital facsimiles

Richard Rufus of Cornwall This project from Stanford aims to present the life, works and manuscript editions of said Richard. If you don't know who he was, just go to the site and find out.

The Planctus for William Longsword Five manuscript editions of this Norman poem are compared, with digital facsimiles for two of them.

Liederhandschriften A German language site with black and white images from four German music manuscripts. Transcriptions are included for three of them.

Medieval Music Database This site from La Trobe University in Australia gives information on the content of liturgical manuscripts, but also displays complete digital facsimiles of four such manuscripts.

Digital Archive of Medieval Music This site aims to produce a comprehensive catalogue of manuscripts and fragments displaying medieval polyphonic music from libraries around the world. There are digital images of some manuscripts, and while they are not available for all the works described, those that are present are of very high quality. It is necessary to register to use the site, but it is free and it is now possible to do it online for immediate access. As is usual with many British institutional sites, there are ferocious conditions on what you can do with the images. It even claims you are not allowed to download them. Do they still not know how the internet actually works?

Musical Treasures fron the Library of St Gall The site illustrates a project to compile the liturgical music of Notker Balbalus (840 - 912) from various manuscripts in the St Gall Library and have it performed by the musical ensemble Ordo Virtutum. The site allows you to look at pages from various manuscripts while listening to the music on them. Fantastic. If you love it you can buy the CD.

Celebrating the Liturgy's Books An excellent web exhibition from Columbia University using manuscripts from libraries in New York, with illustrations from and descriptions of the various kinds of books used in the liturgy.

Initiation aux manuscrits liturgiques If you are interested in the medieval liturgy and its books, this site is worth learning French for. It has nice clear expositions of the offices and rituals and their books, with many fine quality illustrations of relevant medieval manuscripts. If you prefer to read it on paper in a comfy chair, you can download the lot as a pdf and print it.

Gregofacsimil A French language site dedicated to Gregorian chant, including texts of some of the lesser known offices, with links to external sites displaying medieval musical manuscripts.

Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore di Firenze: Corali Digital facsimiles of a large number of liturgical manuscripts from Florence Cathedral.

Tammelahandskrifterna From Finland, this site has full digital facsimiles of three liturgical manuscripts with large images. This site is in Finnish, but there is minimal commentary, so just click on the obvious links and look.

Medieval Books of Hours A commercial antiquarian bookseller has put up full descriptions and images from all books of hours for sale, as well as an archive of those already sold. The images are high quality, mainly of illustration pages. There is also a tutorial on the book of hours.

Books of Hours in the Wellesley College Library Beautiful images of both text and miniatures from five books of hours.

Depicting Devotion: Illuminated Books of Hours from the Middle Ages An exhibition from Washington University Library showing the structure and format of a book of hours from ten 15th century French and Flemish manuscripts in the library. It concentrates on miniatures, but the image quality is not amazing.

Intimate Devotion: The Book of Hours in Medieval Religious Practice From the collections of the Bryn Mawr Library, this site works through the structure of the book of hours using ordinary and well used examples of the genre rather than the fancy commissioned editions so often reproduced.

Atlantic Bibles From the University of Geneva, a study of two 11th century Bibles of huge format with a uniform reformed text of the Vulgate, of 100 surviving that were produced in central Italy. The site contains a discussion of ongoing research on the manuscripts and a selection of images from each Bible.

Paradise Regained From Glasgow University Library, images of Christ's Nativity from medieval manuscripts.

The Bibliothèque nationale de France has a number of themed exhibitions, including Bestiare, on the illuminations in medieval bestiaries, and one on the 15th century illuminator Jean Fouquet, as well as the Gastronome médiévale site with manuscript images of food and cooking. Yummy! There is now a beautiful new exhibition on Carolingian books Trésors Carolingiens. And also Jeux de princes. Jeux de vilains, a lavish and elegant exhibition of the depiction of games. Not to mention Les mappemondes: Une image médiévale du monde on the mappa mundi, the medieval depiction of the map of the world, not as it exists in the literal sense but in medieval imagination and symbolism.

Paris 1400 - Les Arts sous Charles VI Online version of a Louvre exhibition on Paris in the reign of Charles VI (1380-1422). The exhibits include a number of ornate manuscript miniatures.

Library of Congress Vatican Exhibit Cyber version of an exhibition Rome Reborn: The Vatican Library and Renaissance Culture at the Library of Congress. Manuscripts, books and maps with images and catalogue descriptions.

Creating French Culture: Monarchs and Monasteries Another Library of Congress exhibition of manuscripts from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France on the relationship of French monarchs with monasteries from the 8th to the 15th centuries.

Monumenta Germaniae Historica - Digitale Bibliothek Links to various digital projects on manuscripts ancestral to this gigantic printed German compilation of historic writings.

Images from History This site of images of objects of historical significance, including books and manuscripts, has been relocated and is being reconstructed, albeit with the same spartan look as it had before. The medieval section had not been updated at last look.

Gallica From the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, this calls itself an "encyclopaedic digital heritage library", and includes assorted presentations of French culture under various themes. There are images from manuscripts under various topics.

The Crusades This site has a range of resources about the crusades, including a set of relevant manuscript images. It now has an English version.

The Manuscript of Dvur Kralove and The Manuscript of Zelena Hora This site provides images, transcriptions and discussion of two Czech manuscripts which may be medieval, or may be 19th century forgeries. Something a bit different.

Medieval Manuscripts in the National Library of Medicine An online version of an exhibition, with an extensive collection of digital images and very good notes on this specialised area of medieval medical manuscripts.

The Index of Medieval Medical Images Description and index of content of all medieval medical manuscript images in North American collections. Images are being added to the records. A strangely neglected corner of medieval manuscript illustration.

The Saga Library This site reproduces images and catalogue information for manuscripts and books published before 1901 on medieval Icelandic literature. There is a preliminary general exhibition on the collections.

Kemble: The Anglo-Saxon Charters Website The original Anglo-Saxon Charters website seems to have moved, evolved and developed and has been hunted down here. Everything you could wish to know about Anglo-Saxon charters.

Image Collection of Medieval Dance A collection of images from various sources depicting dancing. You can select manuscript images from a dropdown menu. The site is bilingual German/English.

Medieval Gastronomy A French site only partially translated into English, with links to digitised manuscripts and texts of medieval cookery books from all over Europe.

Küchenkunst & Tafelkultur From the National Library of Austria, 32 illustrations, some medieval, relating to food culture. This is the English version of the site.

Illuminating the Law One tends to think of legal texts as plain, unillustrated works with crabbed, abbreviated writing, but this exhibition, which was held in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge in 2001, shows a range of elaborate illustrations that show how certain medieval legal concepts could be conceptualised pictorially. There is also an introduction on medieval law and its texts.

Early Medieval Maps A site with large numbers of images of medieval maps with accompanying notes. There is also an extensive bibliography.

Mapping Our World An interactive exploration of a number of maps that were exhibited at the National Library of Australia in 2014, including medieval and early modern treasures from around the world.

Good News for Fans of Medieval Maps This is just a British Library blog post with some beautiful pictures and information, but it is flagging an upcoming campaign of putting medieval maps online. Keep an eye on it.

Dagelijks geloof: Vrouwen en religie in de laatmiddeleeuwse stad From Leiden University, an exhibition of manuscripts which relate to women's devotion in the late middle ages. It is Dutch language, but even if you don't read it, take a look.

Figurae - in Monastic Matrix a selection of manuscript pages with images relating to women's religious communities. There are many other resources relating to women's religious communities on this site.

Manifold Greatness A site from a exhibition on the King James Bible, itself neither medieval nor manuscript, to be seen in real life at the Bodleian Library, Folger Shakespeare Library and Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin. There is a section on precursors to the King James Bible, with images from manuscript Bibles through the ages.

Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages Based on an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2009, it contains a guide to the themes of the exhibition, illustrations of manuscript drawing and a series of articles on various aspects of medieval drawing. No, not paleography, but definitely the craft and design of manuscripts.

Códices de la Capella Sixtina From the Biblioteca Nacional de España, an exhibition of miniatures from the 15th to the 17th centuries in works in Spanish collections, from manuscripts produced in Rome. Spanish language site.

The Romance of the Middle Ages From the Bodleian Library, Oxford, the website of an exhibition on medieval romance. There is also an entry in the British Library blog under Sir Gawain and the Romance of the Middle Ages.

Wellcome Images 100,000 freely accessible images of medical themes, many from medieval manuscripts.

Marie de France - Manuscript Sources A portal site for the study of this enigmatic lady, with links to digital facsimiles, editions and other material. Set up by a person with whom I had some correspondence in the early days of the medieval internet, when I called myself Dr Dianne Tillotson and he called himself TennesseeBob. Now he calls himself Dr Robert Peckham and I have a tendency to call myself Hipster Bookfairy. Don't know what that says about internet evolution.

The Moving Word From Cambridge University, an exhibition of French medieval manuscripts in Cambridge. There are numerous themes and excellent full page graphics.

Medieval Scrolls at Harvard Sample images and background matierial from an exhibition in the Houghton Library, Harvard. Gives an idea of what kinds of material were written on scrolls in the age of the codex.

Manuscript Sources - Guillaume de Machaut A list of locations and library references for manuscripts of the works of Machaut, inluding links to digital facsimiles where available.

Manuscrits Médiévaux d'Aquitaine Very stylish presentation of manuscripts from Aquitaine, with background material on types of manuscripts, languages etc, with numerous illustrations but not full facsimiles.

Islamic Medical Manuscripts as the National Library of Medicine A site which displays some manuscript images, and provides catalogue resources and background material. Arabic, not Latin paleography, but still part of the cultural history.

The Internet Biblia Pauperum Not strictly manuscript, but another aspect of medieval book production, the blockbook of Biblical imagery. Fascinating.

The Planets and their Children - A Blockbook of Medieval Popular Astrology Another site which investigates the late medieval blockbook.


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This site is created and maintained by Dr Dianne Tillotson, freelance researcher and compulsive multimedia and web author. Comments are welcome. Material on this web site is copyright, but some parts more so than others. Please check here for copyright status and usage before you start making free with it. This page last modified 6/7/2014.