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.