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Cuttings: Manuscript fragments on the loose!

This exhibition is now in our archive.

A display of five cuttings from dismembered manuscripts. After the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, religious houses across Europe sold off their treasures, including illuminated books. As it was often easier to sell individual pages or details than entire books, these manuscripts were frequently disassembled and pages sold separately.

Among the cuttings are two collages by Luigi Celotti, assemblages made of details from different manuscripts looted from the Papal Sacristy in Rome in 1798. An album compiled by Phillis Paine (née Ellis) between 1894 and 1902 provides a rare insight into nineteenth- and early twentieth-century tastes and collecting practices. Poems by William Morris and drawings created by Edward Burne-Jones can be seen, as well as fragments of medieval manuscripts.

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