Delve into the Middle Ages by taking our ten-part audio tour, The medieval imagination, based on the exhibition of the same name and narrated by exhibition curator Professor Emeritus Margaret Manion AO.
- 'The medieval imagination' audio tour: part 1
Learn about one of the few surviving Gospel books made by missionary monks in England and Ireland between the 7th and 9th centuries. Listen to the history behind the decorative patterns and text of this manuscript, which include a medieval spelling mistake!
Discover the meanings behind the evangelist symbols featured in the Glossed gospels. The fine initials, executed in gold and costly pigments, in this Gospel book are characteristic of the high-quality work found in books made for St Albans Abbey.
Listen to the legend behind the illustration of St Dominic and the ladder to heaven in the Antiphonal-hymnal. This choir book was made for the nuns of St Louis de Poissy, probably by master Parisian illuminator Jean Pucelle.
Discover a 13th-century Italian Antiphonal with illustrations based on legends popular in Byzantium and Italy. This splendid manuscript contains the music and chants of the Office from Christmas to Epiphany, together with the feasts of the saints for Christmas week.
Learn how a Psalter illustration might have related to the life of its owner. One such Psalter in the collection probably dates back to Pleshey Castle, Essex, at the Bohun family home in 1380.
Hear how the decorative richness, the bright and colourful palette, and the complex and lively approach to narrative – all qualities characteristic of the Bedford breviary – are present in this miniature of the 'Flight into Egypt'.
Discover Ptolemy's Almagest, the crowning glory of the translations made from Arabic into Latin by Gerard of Cremona in Toledo (1114–87). The most advanced work in astronomy in Greek antiquity, it addresses the relationship between theology, mathematics and astronomy.
Bestiaries (medieval book of beasts) describe, and provide theological and moral interpretations of familiar, exotic and fabulous creatures. Discover the strange beliefs that were bestowed on the elephant in medieval times in this bestiary, one of the oldest surviving English bestiaries.
Listen to how the young Master of the Cite des Dames' confident modelling of form, subtle use of colour and the tiled floors and angled objects of his interiors herald later Parisian illumination.
Hear how recent scholarship on Scriptores historiae augustae ('The Augustan History') provides intriguing insights into the Medici family. This high Renaissance manuscript was made for Lorenzo de’ Medici in 1479 and is still in its original binding.