British Library, Oriental 5024, f. 19r 

Author: Isaiah of Trani the Younger
Title: Decisions of Isaiah of Trani the Younger (Pisqei Rabbi Yeshayah Aharon)
Origin: Italy, Central (Bologna or Rimini)
Date: 1374

Decorated initial-word panel accompanied with a partial foliate border in the outer margin inhabited by a deer. In the upper margin, illustration of a man lighting the Hanukkah lamp, at the beginning of the section on Hanukkah. 


Lindisfarne Gospels and Luttrell Psalter

The British Library has a lot of digitized manuscripts online, which is awesome for SCA Scribes. Two of their best known treasures haven’t yet made the move from their old site, “Digitized Manuscripts”, to the new one, “Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts” – the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Luttrell Psalter. That’s because the Lindisfarne is a Cotton manuscript and the Luttrell is an Additional, and both of these collections haven’t yet made the transition yet.

The old site (DM) is actually really cool – when you click “View Bindings,” you get a viewer that allows you to page through the digitized manuscript and zoom in on elements. The new site (CIM) only gives you one high-res image and one slightly smaller one (in additional to thumbnails). They do have some detail scans, but it’s not the same (as you can imagine).

Lindisfarne Gospels (Cotton MS Nero D.IV)

[Link]c. 700-3rd quarter 10th Century
Lindisfarne, Northumberland
Eadfirth, Bishop of Lindisfarne (690-721)

Luttrell Psalter (Add MS 42130)

for Sir Geoffrey Luttrell, Irnham, Lincolnshire

You can see the BL’s Access/Reuse/Copyright notes concerning images here: [Link]

Images used in this post are from Wikipedia.

Searching for Digitized Manuscripts: The British Library, Part 2

(Psst! You can find part 1 here.)

So the British Library is in the process of phasing out one database of digitized manuscripts,  Digitized Manuscripts site (DM), in favor of another,  Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts (CIM).  This post is going to focus on searching the DM.

Before we get too far in here, remember that you’re not going to find everything in the DM.  The only things that can be found here reliably are the Cotton manuscripts – that is, any manuscript with the word “Cotton” in the shelfmark. So, the Lindisfarne Gospels, AKA Cotton MS Nero D.IV, are going to be in the DM.  Also note that the DM is being tinkered with because it is going away, so don’t be surprised if things don’t load correctly or you get an error.

Continue reading “Searching for Digitized Manuscripts: The British Library, Part 2”

What’s that thing called?

Did you know that the British Library has a glossary specific to illuminated manuscripts? If you’re like me, you’ve been reading metadata on a record and come across a term that made your eyebrows spike and your head get itchy.  Or maybe it was in one of those big coffee table books filled with beautiful glossy scans of manuscript pages.  Well, now you know where to go to find out what it means.

The Glossary for the British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts!

Or you could Google it, I guess. But I like going directly to a source that I know will give me a good definition.  Now then, let’s look at some fun terms!

Continue reading “What’s that thing called?”

Searching for Digitized Manuscripts: The British Library, Part 1

For whatever reason, there are two ways to search the British Library’s vast collection of digitized manuscripts. One is via their Digitized Manuscripts site (DM), and the other is via their Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts (CIM).  There are some items that are in one site, but not the other.  For example, the Cotton Manuscripts (the library compiled by Sir Robert Bruce Cotton, 1571-1631, which includes the Lindisfarne Gospels) is only available in DM, whereas the Harleian manuscripts are in the CIM.  I have run into issues in the past with searching the DM – I often get an error page, which may mean that the DM is getting phased out in favor of the CIM.  I think this is the case, given the wording on the CIM’s “About” page:

Manuscripts included in the Catalogue:

The illuminated manuscripts in the following collections are included in the Catalogue:Additional, Arundel; Burney; Egerton; Hargrave; Harley; Henry Davis; Hirsch; King’s;Lansdowne; Sloane; Royal; Stowe and Yates Thompson (Oriental, for Hebrew illuminated manuscripts).

Manuscripts in the Additional collection are currently being added to the Catalogue. At the moment they consist primarily of around 675 illuminated miniatures cuttings and Hebrew manuscripts (see Italian illuminated cuttings and Hebrew illuminated manuscripts), Anglo-Norman and Anglo-Saxon manuscripts.

PLEASE NOTE: manuscripts in the Cotton collection are not yet included in the Catalogue.

My rule of thumb is this: if I can’t find it in CIM, I look for it in DM. If I can’t find it in DM, I look elsewhere.  THIS post is going to focus on searching the CIM.

Continue reading “Searching for Digitized Manuscripts: The British Library, Part 1”