The Lindisfarne Gospels, an 8th century illustrated Biblical text rich in historic significance, is the subject of an exhibition starting at the British Library this week, created by Ivor Heal Design.
Painted Labyrinth: The World of the Lindisfarne Gospels runs until 28 September at the London library. The exhibition aims to present this important religious artefact within its social and historical context, in order to redefine the ‘insular’ roots of Britain’s cultural identity, says exhibition curator Michelle Brown.
According to Brown, the book reveals eastern Christian and Islamic, as well as Celtic and German influences, showing Britain was at the time ‘a multi-cultural crossroads’.
Usually housed in the British Library’s Treasures gallery, the gospels have been moved to its Pearson Gallery temporary space to give the public greater access to their story.
Banners hung from the 6m-high ceiling create an ‘enclosure’ around the main altar-style display, says Ivor Heal senior designer Gary Egleton, to ‘reflect the low-level lighting and atmosphere of a church setting’.
A touch-screen DVD and two replica copies of the text, created by Swiss group Faksimile Verlag, let visitors ‘handle’ the book.
Ivor Heal won the work last November after a six-way pitch.
The original Latin manuscript dates from the early 8th century, with hand-written ink on 259 leaves of vellum.