The Art of the Bible

Illuminated Manuscripts from the Medieval World



ISBN: 9780500026168 Category:

Scot McKendrick, Kathleen Doyle


An extensively illustrated compendium of 45 expertly selected illuminated bibles that transport the reader through 1,000 years of history and across the Christian world.

For two millennia the Bible has inspired the creation of art. Within this legacy of remarkable art and beauty, illuminated biblical manuscripts offer some of the best evidence for our understanding of early Christian painting and artistic interpretations of the Bible.

Compiled and written by two internationally renowned experts, this beautiful book immerses the reader in the world of illuminated manuscripts of the Bible. Through its pictures we are transported across 1,000 years of history, passing chronologically through many of the major centres of the Christian world. Starting in Constantinople in the East, the journey moves on to Lindisfarne in the North, to imperial Aachen, back to Canterbury, then to Carolingian Tours in western France. Later we view some of the riches of Winchester, Mozarabic Spain, Crusader Jerusalem, the Meuse valley, northern Iraq, Paris, London, Bologna, Naples, Bulgaria, the Low Countries, Rome and Persia. Our journey ends in Gondar, the capital of imperial Ethiopia. Forty-five remarkable books – each a treasure in its own right – provide our itinerary through time and across continents. Together they enable us to explore and revel in the extraordinary art and beauty of illuminated biblical manuscripts, some of the finest but least-known paintings from the Middle Ages.

Additional information

Weight 1832 g
Dimensions 25.2 x 38.9 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 23 February 2023
Number of pages 336
Format Hardback
Dimensions 25.2 x 38.9 cm
Weight 1832 g


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Dr Scot McKendrick is Head of Western Heritage Collections at the British Library, and Dr Kathleen Doyle is the Lead Curator, Illuminated Manuscripts at the same institution. Scot and Kathleen edited and contributed to 1,000 Years of Royal Books and Manuscripts (2013) and, with Professor John Lowden, Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination (2011), which was shortlisted for the William M.B. Berger Prize for British Art History (2012). Together they wrote Bible Manuscripts: 1,400 Years of Scribes and Scripture (2007), and contributed to Sacred: Books of the Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam (2007).