08 August 2013
Under the microscope with the Lindisfarne Gospels: name that folio – the answer
We recently took you Under the microscope with the Lindisfarne Gospels in a previous post and shared some incredible images of medieval artistry. The four gospels are introduced by an illumination of the saint, a carpet page, and a major initial opening a folio of decorated text. We asked you to identify the folio from one of our zoomed in images. Did you figure it out..?
As you can see below, it is part of folio 2v, the carpet page of St Jerome!
Carpet pages typically occur at the beginning of a gospel in illuminated manuscripts and exhibit geometric and colourful designs that consume the entire folio. They are referred to as carpet pages due to their resemblance to oriental rugs or prayer mats. Prayer mats were used to prepare worshippers for prayer and the carpet pages in the Lindisfarne Gospels serve a similar function in preparing readers for the Gospel message. The carpet pages feature a cross set against a background of highly ordered ornamentation. Each carpet page in the Lindisfarne Gospels contains a different form of cross representing different church traditions.
Folio 2v is dominated by an interlace motif controlled by the eight-ribbon knot with cruciform breaks pattern. As observed in our image they surround a cross consisting of panels filled with step and key patterns. The folio is borded by ribbon birds and dog heads.
Carpet pages were influenced by early Coptic manuscripts and contain ornamentation with similar motifs found on contemporary metalwork and jewellery.
Christina Duffy, Imaging Scientist