This unprecedented Franco-British collaboration between the British Library and the National Library of France reveals the "richness and sumptuousness of the English and French manuscripts" of the early Middle Ages, the BnF welcomed. It offers researchers and broad public access to exceptional documents.
Bestiary, the end of the 12th century – the beginning of the 13th century, the British Library, Haley MS 4751: an elephant wearing a wooden tower and armed soldiers
Documents accessible on two sites
Two websites have been created. The French site, titled "France-England 700-1200: Medieval Manuscripts of the BnF and the British Library", brings together 800 Anglo-Saxon and Norman illuminated manuscripts, half preserved on each side of the Channel and selected according to "their importance for the history of relationships Franco-English in the Middle Ages, their artistic, historical or literary interest, "says BnF.
As for the UK site for the general public, it also offers video clips on various topics such as Early Middle Age medical knowledge or techniques for creating an illuminated manuscript.
400 manuscripts from each of the two institutions were digitized, restored, cataloged, and made accessible on these two sites, which should allow students and researchers to deepen a little-known period.
The Canterbury Psalter, circa 1200, BnF, Department of Manuscripts, Latin 8846: Old and New Testament Scenes
Charlotte Denoël, chief curator of medieval manuscripts at BNF, speaks of "800 stunning manuscripts."
Among these treasures are Benedictionary from Winchester (about 1000), a collection of letters by St. Thomas Becket (end of the 12th century) and the magnificent Psautier in Canterbury (circa 1200), with a trilingual translation in Latin, French and English . English made in Canterbury.
"We hope to develop knowledge about this period of political and cultural conflict: scholars have continued to travel between England, France and Normandy, working in Latin on manuscripts, English and French, a beauty and" unprecedented refinement, "Kathleen Doyle , curator of the illuminated manuscripts of the British Library.
Illumination, probably from a psalter, the third quarter of the 12th century, the British Library, cotton Caligula VII / 1: The Annunciation of the Shepherds