Archive for March, 2014
We were thrilled to host Eric Johnson, Curator of Early Books & Manuscripts at the Ohio State University, from March 10-13 for a series about medieval manuscripts. On Tuesday he delivered a great talk on the notions of “value” or “worth” that underlie our understanding and appreciation of medieval manuscripts by examining the life of the Hornby-Cockerell Bible (OSU MS.MR14).
An example of a rare “proto-Paris” Bible likely produced in a Parisian workshop sometime in the early 1220s, this Bible survived intact until 1981 when it was sold at auction and promptly broken by its purchasers to be sold off leaf-by-leaf. Johnson is purchasing those leaves as they come back on the market and re-assembling them at Ohio State. He discussed the manuscript’s original value as an objet d’art, its destruction and “re-packaging” into 440 constituent units of sale, and the slow, methodical process of reconstructing it at The Ohio State University.
Then on Wednesday Dr. Johnson spoke to the students in Jonathan Elukin’s course on the history of the Bible, where he discussed the transition from manuscript to print, using leaves from both the Watkinson and Ohio State University Libraries. Later, we had well over a dozen staff, faculty, alumni and students take part in a guided workshop on medieval manuscripts, when Dr. Johnson spoke at length about the production of parchment, inks, and other elements of the medieval book.