Queen Elizabeth Opens the British Library Royal Manuscripts Exhibition

Clare Breay, BL Head Curator Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts, with The Queen.  Photo: British Library

Clare Breay, BL Head Curator Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts, with The Queen. Photo: British Library

The Queen was on hand to open Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination exhibition at the British Library. On display are 154 manuscripts collected by British Royals over a period spanning 800 years. Her Majesty was particularly taken by a psalter annotated by Henry VIII, according to the UK Press Association release that is printed below.

The British Library’s unique collection of Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts were all once owned by Kings and Queens during medieval times. They are outstanding examples of the decorative and figurative painting of the era. The collection provides a vivid source for understanding royal identity, morality and religious beliefs. The Manuscripts also provide an insight into the learning, faith, artistic trends and international politics of
the times.

The Royal Manuscripts are on exhibit through the middle of March 2012. You can learn more about this exciting collection by tuning in to the BBC Four series Illuminations: The Private Lives of Medieval Kings.

Toast of the Town

In the tradition of a celebratory beverage, the Library has teamed up with the Gilbert Scott restaurant to provide guests the opportunity to drink to their health with an “Illuminated Cocktail.” Oliver Blackburn, bar manager, has created this very special drink with rum, ginger, pear, juniper, and finished with gold dust. Cheers!

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PRESS RELEASE (UKPA)

Scot McKendrick, BL Head of History and Classical Studies;  The Duke of Edinburgh, The Queen, Baroness Blackstone, The Lord Mayor of Camden.

Scot McKendrick, BL Head of History and Classical Studies; The Duke of Edinburgh, The Queen, Baroness Blackstone, The Lord Mayor of Camden.

The Queen had a glimpse into the past lives of her medieval counterparts at the launch of The Royal Manuscripts.

The exhibition, which opened last November, contains a number of manuals on how the royals should conduct themselves.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had a private viewing of five manuscripts on display, including monarchs’ prayer books; a charter commemorating the start of monastic rule of St Benedict in 964; and books made for King Edward IV.

It was Henry VIII’s manuscripts that appeared to grab The Queen’s attention the most. “She did linger over it,” curator Andrea Clarke said. “She called Prince Philip, who was looking at something else, to come and have a look.”Henry VIII’s psalter, a volume containing the Book of Psalms, has a painting of him as the biblical King David. Curator Scot McKendrick said this showed Henry identified himself with King David. He added that Henry’s psalter – which was bought from Ushaw College, Dublin, last year – was rare because it contained annotations written by the king.”Part of it has an annotation written by Henry before he was king and the other was written towards the end of his life,” Dr McKendrick said. “He had a typical aristocrat’s style of writing.”

Copyright © 2011 The Press Association.
All rights reserved.

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