The Royal Visit to Royal Manuscripts

The British Library’s new exhibit, Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination, showcases the library’s incredible collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. The 154 colorful and gilded books on exhibit were made for and owned by England’s kings and queens between the ninth and the sixteenth centuries.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh had a private viewing just before Friday’s opening. And what did QE2 fancy? According to the BBC:

The Queen was said to linger most over Henry VIII’s manuscripts.

Curator Andrea Clarke said: “She called Prince Philip, who was looking at something else, to come and have a look.”

Dr McKendrick said Henry VIII’s psalter, a volume containing the Book of Psalms, was rare because it contained annotations written by the king.
That Latin psalter--showing Henry VIII as King David--was created in London c. 1540  is pictured here. It survives in its worn red velvet binding. Other highlights of the exhibit include the stunning Shrewsbury Book (Rouen, 1445), presented to Margaret of Anjou on her marriage to Henry VI by John Talbot, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, and the Genealogical Chronicle of the English Kings (c. 1300), created in a roll format measuring five meters long.

To see more, watch a four-minute BBC tour with curator Scot McKendrick here. The exhibit is open through March 13, 2012. 

Image credit: Henry VIII as David, Henry VIII’s Psalter, London c. 1540, Royal 2 A xvi © British Library Board.
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