I don’t live in the past—I only visit—and so can you!


Working on a new version of the bibliography and sharing it here. These books are recommended—or warned against—by members of the group and other medievalists. Please write with any additions you suggest!


Alexander, J. J. G. (ed.). Insular Manuscripts: 6th to the 9th Century
Vol. 1 of “Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles,” with an introduction, 354 illustrations and a detailed catalog.

Backhouse, Janet. The Lindisfarne Gospels
All major decorated pages and several representative canon and text pages, along with a comparison with other Celtic art.

Bain, George. Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction
Basic work on Celtic knotwork, keywork, etc, first published in 1951.

Bayeux Tapestry, The
A primary primary source. Available in various sizes and editions, both in color and monotone, the larger and more accurate a reproduction you can find, the better. Note that some persons decry using it for primary documentation, citing artistic liberties such as the color of horses. For the most part, it is easy to distinguish between what is a fairly faithful observation and artistic interpretation.

Benson, John H. & A. G. Carey. Elements of Lettering
Good book of history & technique for experienced calligraphers. Most scripts are illustrated with no further instruction. The Rotunda is beautiful.

Bouet, Pierre (editor). The Bayeux Tapestry: Embroidering the Facts of History
Series of essays from a conference on the Bayeux Embroidery, including points of how realistic details are, how colors and were attained and a set of photos from the back side. Available in English but only through French sources. If you have any interest in so many subjects, very recommended!

Bridgeford, Andrew. 1066: The Hidden History in the Bayeux Tapestry
Fascinating look at the Embroidery, explaining its techniques, meanings and history and why it’s not just an act of Norman propaganda.

Brown, Michele. The Lindisfarne Gospels: Society, Spirituality & the Scribe
An innovative book that sets the Lindisfarne Gospels into the context of artistic influences of the time.

Dodwell, C. R. Anglo-Saxon Art. A New Perspective
Hazel Uzzell notes: “The title is deceptive as it covers: Art survivals and written sources. Anglo-Saxon tastes. Artists and Craftsmen in Anglo-Saxon England. Painting and carving. Textiles. Costume and vestments. Jewellery, silver and gold. Anglo-Saxon Art and the Norman Conquest. In my opinion, it is one of the best books that I have read on the period.”

Drogin, Marc. Medieval Calligraphy: Its History and Techniques
A perfect balance of history and technique. Reproduces period examples and explains what to look for. Half the plates have transcriptions. Available in an inexpensive Dover reprint.

Ehrman, Bart D. Misquoting Jesus : the Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why
Ostensibly about the Bible, religion and changes in scripture caused by a variety of sources, what it says about professional scribes and details of copying manuscripts is both useful and interesting.

Fox, Michael, and Stephen R. Reimer. Mappae Mundi: Representing the World and its Inhabitants in Texts, Maps, and Images in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
Overview of mapmaking with many color illustrations, though none of the maps themselves.

Graham-Campbell, James. Viking Art (World of Art)
An excellent collection of artwork of various kinds from the Viking Age.

Henry, Francoise (ed.). The Book of Kells: Reproductions
Coffee-table book in a slipcase, with color plates reproducing major illuminations, followed by an historical article.

Jackson, Eleanor. The Lindisfarne Gospels: Art, History and Inspiration.

A small but beautifully printed book on the Lindisfarne Gospels, dealing glosses among other things.

Johnston, Edward. Writing & Illuminating & Lettering
The first and one of the most consistently revered “bibles” of the art.

Lovett, Patricia. The Art and History of Calligraphy
A clear, well-illustrated book on calligraphy and manuscripts with a very interesting section on production of a manuscript. It dealswith a good many eras.

McKendrick, Scot and Kathleen Doyle. The Art of the Bible: Illuminated Manuscripts from the Medieval World
Period and non-period facsimiles of pages from mediaeval manuscripts, including marvelously detailed pages from the Harley Psalter. Large and wonderfully reproduced pages.

Nordenfalk, Carl. Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Painting
Introductory article on book illumination in the British Isles during the 7th through 9th centuries, with color plates and commentary.

Page, R. I. Runes (Reading the Past)
Easily read and not new agey

Pollington, Stephen. Rudiments of Runelore
Good, brief introduction to the Fuþark by a man who helped name our group.

Shepherd, Margaret. Learning Calligraphy
The book I recommend to all beginners. Only five alphabets are studied, but each is examined in depth.

Svaren, Jacqueline. Written Letters: 22 Alphabets for Calligraphers
Little basic instruction, but graceful, accurate interpretations of modern and historical scripts.

Temple, Elzibeta. Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts, 900-1066
Vol. 2 of “Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles,” with a short introduction, 370 illustrations and a detailed catalog of 106 manuscripts.

Thornbury, Emily V. Becoming a Poet in Anglo-Saxon England
An intriguing and informative examination of Latin and English Poetry from the early middle ages, with many samples and examples.

Watson, Aldren A. Hand Bookbinding: A Manual of Instruction
A good book. The illustrations are so clear you almost don’t have to read the text.

Webster, Leslie. Anglo-Saxon Art
Profusely illustrated of artwork from Anglo-Saxon England, including items from the Staffordshire Hoard.

Weitzmann, Kurt. Late Antique and Early Christian Book Illumination
Survey. This period had mostly pictorial instead of abstract decoration.

Whalley, Joyce Irene. The Student’s Guide to Western Calligraphy
The emphasis is on script, but there are examples of simple illumination.

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