- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Phaidon Press; 2 edition (September 26, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0714834521
- ISBN-13: 978-0714834528
- Product Dimensions: 10 x 1.2 x 11.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A History of Illuminated Manuscripts 2nd Edition
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From Library Journal
This 1986 title throws light on the world of illuminated manuscripts, which function as works of both art and literature. De Hamel provides a full history of the illuminated manuscript through text and dozens of glorious color illustrations.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"It is no mere history, but an original, lively and richly illustrated commentary."-Times Literary Supplement "Gorgeous and informative. A wonderful introduction to handwritten books from the Dark Ages to the invention of printing in the fifteenth century."-Houston Chronicle "Lavish, beautiful and sweeping look at the beginning of the printed word."-Graphic Arts Monthly "Along with excellent illustrations, this large volume includes a bibliography and index of manuscripts."-The Good Book Guide
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Top customer reviews
The second edition of De Hamel's book is structured as was the first: an informative introduction is followed by chapters which divide and discuss the manuscripts according to their intended users (missionaries, emperors, monks, students, aristocrats, everybody, priests, and collectors); an extended bibliography precedes several useful indexes. This Phaidon paperback edition is a beautiful book, with a white paper cover adorned with a full-color dust-jacket. Many new illustrations have been added, and there are many more color illustrations than there were in the first edition. More importantly, the text has been updated to reflect ongoing research in the field.
My only complaint about this edition is that many of the important full-color and full-page illustrations in the first edition (to which I often referred in my classes) have either been reduced in size or eliminated entirely in the new edition. There are also significant (and inexplicable) differences in the color reproduction of illuminations between the first (David R. Godine, Publisher) edition and this second (Phaidon Press) edition--sometimes the differences are so radical that only a close inspection (or a familiarity with the actual documents) reveals they are photographs of the same manuscript. And since many of these manuscripts are from private collections (to which Mr. De Hamel apparently gained access by reputation or through associations established during his tenure at Sotheby's), it would be impossible for most readers to know which of the differing reproductions are the more accurate. My own experience would suggest that not all the changes in the new Phaidon edition are indeed improvements.
Publishing faults aside, this is a fine book by a scholar with impeccable credentials and a gift for clarity and sensibility in his writing. I highly recommend it.
But once I managed to calm down and start reading the text, I fell in love with the book even more. It is clearly written, yet technical enough to give a full understanding of the astounding illuminated manuscripts. Putting them in a historical context added so much more to my understanding and therefore appreciation. I have quite a few books on the topic. This one draws them all into a single fabric.
Some of the photographs are so detailed that you can see the individual brushstrokes and the colors are incredibly vibrant. This is by far the best book on illuminated manuscripts I have seen. Other books simply pale in comparison to the beauty, detail and color of this one.
As others have stated, there are prints of manuscripts in this book that have rarely been seen before. For those interested in re-creating manuscripts, there are several "unfinished" examples which allow you to see the sketches behind the color.
The book is divided into sections covering "books for students", "books for clergy", "books for everybody" etc. It is quite interesting to see the differences between the quality of the various books as well as Latin vs vernacular languages.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in art, illuminated manuscripts or medieval history.