A History of Illuminated Manuscripts
I purchased A History of Illuminated Manuscripts by Christopher De Hamel towards the end of my Advent 2005 trip to England (at the British Library if memory serves me correct). But I didn’t thoroughly read it (as opposed to just looking at the excellent illustrations) until now.
I am thoroughly impressed with this book. Its scholarship is impressive and helpful in my preparations to study medieval history at Oxford. And the thoughtfully written bibliography and through indexing of the manuscripts illustrated assist further studies. Even though it’s not on my official reading list and is certainly not a light nor compact book, I’m packing it and taking it with me.
But, as scholarly as this work is, if one simply wants an attractive coffee table book on the subject, this can certainly be one. If one wants a very readable, engagingly written, well illustrated introduction to illuminated manuscripts, this is for you as well.
There is even some helpful guidance on collecting the more available manuscripts such as Books of Hours. And as the Fellow Librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and with his 25 years experience in evaluating manuscripts for Sotheby’s, Dr. De Hamel’s knowledge is not just theoretical.
As if that is not enough to recommend purchase, I notice it’s on sale at Amazon at the above link at a very reasonable price as I write this.