Exhibit | February 17, 2015

Les Enluminures Presents The Idda Collection of Romanesque Biblical Manuscripts

Catalogue cover.jpg

In this exhibition and catalogue of "The Idda Collection," LES ENLUMINURES presents sixteen extraordinary early manuscripts representing the transmission and use of the Bible from the Dark Ages into the twelfth-century Renaissance.

The manuscripts were the property of a European family, and are named after Saint Idda, the only Swiss female saint, a pious and beautiful countess who left her abusive husband, dwelled in the forest, and subsequently became a Benedictine nun. The collection they assembled reflects the monastic study and ornamentation of the Scriptures in the cloisters of medieval Germany, Italy and Spain.

This exhibition allows a glimpse directly into the treasure chests of Romanesque Europe. Included here are two early Gospel lectionaries from the Iberian Peninsula, two exceptional Psalters, biblical commentaries from some of the most important monasteries of twelfth-century Europe, and four glossed books of the Bible. Some are exquisitely decorated and in precious bindings. All are in beautiful condition.


The pinnacle of this collection is the famous tenth-century Liesborn Gospel Book, an Ottonian Gospel Book presented by an abbess to her convent of nuns. The last (and indeed only) time that this manuscript appeared in a bookseller’s catalogue was in the possession of Messrs Rosenbach in 1945, when it was described in capital letters as “ONE OF THE MOST VALUABLE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE GOSPELS IN PRIVATE HANDS.” If that was valid seventy years ago, it is even truer now.

Opening Reception:

Wednesday April 8th, 2015, 6 pm to 9 pm


April 9th through May 2nd, 2015
Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm

LES ENLUMINURES ?? 23 East 73rd Street, 7th Floor ?? New York, NY 10021


The Idda Collection
Romanesque Biblical Manuscripts c. 980 to 1240

Laura Light and Christopher de Hamel Preface by Sandra Hindman

First image: Catalogue for The Idda Collection at Les Enluminures. Courtesy of Les Enluminures.

Second image: The Liesborn Gospels: Gospel Book. In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment. Northwestern Germany (Liesborn Abbey?), c. 980-1000. Courtesy of Les Enluminures.