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The binding on the St Cuthbert Gospel

I have just received an advance copy of the British Library's new book of essays about the St Cuthbert Gospel (The St Cuthbert Gospel: Studies on the Insular Manuscript of the Gospel of St John (BL, Additional MS 89000), edited by Claire Breay and Bernard Meehan, London: The British Library, 2015). The volume celebrates the Library's acquisition of this remarkable book in 2012, and two chapters discuss the binding in detail. My own looks at the history of the study of the binding as well as its construction and the techniques used in its decoration. Following CT scans of the left board it is now possible for the first time to understand how the raised decoration was executed. The second chapter, by Leslie Webster of the British Museum, discusses the decoration, its origins and it symbolism. Three appendices describe the analytical work which was also carried out. Other chapters look at the text, Irish pocket gospel books, the cult of St Cuthbert and the history of the manuscript before and after the reformation.

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