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Medieval Britain in Colour: 500 Years of Illuminated Manuscripts

Medieval book artists - known as illuminators - were remarkable innovators. This focussed display charts the changing use of pigments and gold by British illuminators from tenth to the fifteenth century, looking at themes such as Discovery and Innovation, The Story of Blue, and Working with Gold.

The 14 manuscripts on display are drawn principally from our own collections and include the Macclesfield Psalter and the Peterborough Psalter. Exceptional loans from Cambridge colleges, including the second volume of the Bury Bible from the Parker Library, are also on display.

The manuscripts have been selected from over 70 that we have examined as part of an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded research collaboration with Durham University, and several have their origins in our local region of East Anglia. The display showcases the pioneering contribution the Fitzwilliam’s heritage scientists and curators have made to manuscript studies.

Image: The Bird Psalter, London, c. 1284. Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 2-1954, fol. 1r.

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