Apologies for being such a terrible blogger but I am deep into the frenzy of trying to finish a book by end of December – and I am determined to make the best of my lovely hero and heroine.
The heroine is a frustrated illustrator and art historian and by pure chance I discovered when I was doing some research that the British Library was releasing some of its vast collection of hand painted and written illuminated manuscripts for a very special exhibition of – Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination.
No hesitation – I booked the ticket online on Monday and went up to London at some silly hour of the morning.
And it was totally dazzling.
I have always had an interest in calligraphy [ despite my terrible hand writing ]and the masterpieces of art that were the illuminated religous works created by monasteries from 900 right through to the middle ages – with the peak in the 1400s.
Hand written on fine animal skins using quill pens and inks made from powdered imported minerals plus local dyes such as woad and galls these were miracles of design and geometry and skill. Gold, lapis lazuli from Aghanistan and malachite green were imported for these luxury items intended for a lucky few. Many of these bibles and prayer books were created to be given as gifts to royalty and important cathedrals.
And today was probably my only chance to enjoy them in person. Remarkable.
Oh – and as a bonus, the free permanent exhibition is an absolute joy and this morning I saw everything from Charlotte Bronte’s hand written and amazingly neat pages for Jane Eyre, Handel’s original sheet music for the Messiah, complete with scrubbings out, Mozart’s wedding certificate with his signature, to letters from Mary Queen of Scots, Leonardo da Vinci and most of the Tudors.
And the Magna Carta.
Books, Maps, Music…. bliss. Inspirational and much recommended.