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A History of Illuminated Manuscripts
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A History of Illuminated Manuscripts

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  323 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Medieval manuscripts are counted among the greatest glories of Western civilization. With their gold and painted decoration and their charming miniatures, they have always had immense appeal, and images from them can be seen everywhere - from greeting cards and wrapping paper to expensive facsimiles. This entertaining and authoritative book is the first to provide a genera ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published September 26th 1997 by Phaidon Press (first published 1986)
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Moses Operandi
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most beautiful and fascinating books I have ever opened. It is the best "book about books" I have ever read.
Dec 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Christopher De Hamel's "A History of Illuminated Manuscripts" (now in its second edition) is certainly the definitive history for lay readers, but it is probably the best starting place for aspiring professionals as well. It is well-written, faultlessly researched, and copiously illustrated. I happily use it in my university course on illuminated manuscripts together with Ingo Walther's "Masterpieces of Illumination" (published by Taschen)--in my opinion, the perfect companion piece.

The second e
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic - informative, interesting, well written absolutely loved it. So much information, ordered approximately chronologically with wonderful example illustrations. I'll have to read it again because there is so much I missed on the first read.
Steve Anderson
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a very useful book for understanding the history, development and production of illuminated books. me reviewers find the words inadequate. Not this user, who found cause to refer to it again and again. It is clear that Christopher de Hamel has a deep and broad understanding of his subject, yet he manages to write in a way that elucidates his subject.

Mr. de Hamel's work contributed greatly to my understanding of illuminated manuscripts and the writing of BOOK OF HOURS: THE BEGUILEMENT OF
David Lafferty
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
While in Rome last year I saw many incredible examples of Illuminated manuscripts, I wish I had taken this book! This is a gorgeous book, but also a comprehensive and fascinating look at Illuminated manuscripts. This is arguably my favorite art book. Beautiful color plates as well as very readable text for the reader like myself, who loves all things medieval, but is far from an art scholar. Highly recommended!

ps. If you love Italy take a look at the Goodreads group "All Things Italy"

Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This might seem like a niche-interest esoteric read, but I think it's actually quite contemporary. Living in a digital age when we are witnessing physical print become obsolete before our eyes (folding and bankruptcy of newspaper bureaus, development of digital book readers), it is particularly interesting to think about how people read, how books were created and why, before the advent of printing even began with gutenberg. A truly rich and wondrous introduction to the book as object.

also the p
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is absolutely one of the best books that I have ever "had" to read. It is big, bold, colorful, and littered with over 200 scans and photos of beautiful manuscripts.

This book has the power to appeal to a wide variety of readers: lovers of history, art, literature, and books. It is, without a doubt, an all-encompassing book for myself, as its subject is aimed at almost everything that I love.

Whole-heartedly recommend.
Nov 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not a book I would ordinarily read but it is on the reading list for fabulous recent course I took at the Morgan Library "Introduction to Illustrated Medieval Manuscripts." It was perfect background for that. Of course reading about these great treasures is a pleasure, second only to actually seeing them!
Oct 03, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a lovingly written and lavishly illustrated history of medieval manuscripts. The work is detailed and scholarly referencing hundreds of books through this work. For the casual reader like me this may be a little tedious but for the person who has interest in this subject this is a great book.
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
The words are sort of only so-so which, of course, is precisely not the point. Lovely, and the editor gets lots of points for making it a big book so that you can see all the fantastically intricate detail.
Sarah Fisher
Oct 10, 2009 rated it liked it
It's a very pretty book but the writing is basic. If you already have a basic introduction to medieval manuscripts and the time period, go onto something a bit more in-depth.

And by that I mean, read everything else Christopher de Hamel has ever written.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This beautiful, well-written book belongs on the shelf of anyone who loves calligraphy, illumination, or typography. I read it through some time ago, but return to browse or study models when working on a project of my own.
Sep 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I took a class from him over the summer. He worked for Christies and is now at Cambridge. He is one of the world's leading experts on Medieval Manuscripts and I believe it! He can look at a manuscript and instantly date it, localize it, and perhaps even tell you the artist. AMAZING!
May 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book is informative and has beautiful illustrations of illuminated manuscripts. A must for anyone interested in the subject.
Feb 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Interesting. Could have been more compelling, but definitely not bad.
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
The author knows his stuff. A must for anyone interested in this subject.
May 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
If you're into this kind of stuff...BEAUTIFUL!!!
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked it
A lot of data, but a helpful resource.
Jun 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, books
This is a grand introduction to the world of illuminated manuscripts. There are plenty of color photographs, and the history is enjoyably written. It has a nice balance of text and photos.
Mar 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: book nerds
Consulted this one when researching for a project...
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Could not put this book down!!! Exquisite!!
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Mar 23, 2010
Thu Linh
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Jun 09, 2013
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Jul 22, 2013
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Aug 30, 2014
Bocheng Shen
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Nov 12, 2012
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Dr Christopher de Hamel is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and is Fellow Librarian of the Parker Library, one of the most important small collections of early manuscripts in Britain. For 25 years from 1975 he was responsible for all sales of medieval manuscripts at Sotheby’s. He has doctorates from Oxford and Cambridge and honorary doctorates from St John’s University, Collegeville, ...more
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