Manuscript expo now open
Wadham College library’s online exhibition has opened a new floor to showcase 15 of its magnificent medieval and Renaissance manuscripts.
The online exhibition, which already features a selection of treasures from the library’s wonderful collection of early printed books, has been extended to display15 further items including two 13th century Bibles, a 14th century Book of Hours, and a spectacularly illustrated missal produced in 1521.
Occupying a ‘virtual gallery’, the exhibition now includes a new basement level where three rooms give the visitor the chance to read about and see images of a selection of manuscripts dating from the 11th to the 16th centuries. The captions for each display were written by Peter Kidd, a freelance manuscript specialist formerly of the Bodleian and the British library.
The virtual exhibition space, built by Wadham College Librarian Tim Kirtley using 3D modelling and image mapping software, allows the visitor to move from room to room by clicking on room pointers and exit signs, and to access information about the manuscripts by clicking on each display.
In many cases a digital ‘magnifying glass’ allows the viewer to examine parts of the manuscript in close detail: the scribe’s writing, the artist’s illuminations and, in some instances, annotations that were made by a manuscript’s owners at a later period. The exhibition also features the book’s bindings where they are of particular interest – a fifteenth century priest’s book for example survives in its original binding, as does a commission sent by the Doge of Venice to the Count of Sibenik in 1523.
In addition there is a ‘cinema room’ where a short film about the College’s earliest manuscript, an Anglo-Norman Gospel book that dates from around 1080, will be shown soon. The film features Wadham Fellow and Professor of Diplomatic, Richard Sharpe.
More about Peter Kidd
Peter Kidd is a freelance manuscript specialist formerly of the Bodleian and the British Library. Peter now works on a variety of manuscript projects in Oxford, London, Los Angeles, and elsewhere, and teaches a one-day course on the provenance of medieval manuscripts at the annual London Palaeography Summer School.