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Houses in medieval illuminated manuscripts

Alex Johnson

E123991 Houses in medieval illuminated manuscripts

If you’re searching for homes online, give yourself a few minutes break and take a quick glimpse at the homes of yestercentury.

The British Library has not only put online its fantastic Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts , it has also effectively put them in the Public Domain, even though they are technically still in copyright in the UK until 2040. There are obviously lots of marvellous images there – in fact 35,661 of them from 4,231 different manuscripts – but if you click here then you’ll find what they have under “house” in their images.

Pictured are a couple of examples. Top is an initial ‘A’ of a builder trying to hold up a house built on sand which comes from James le Palmer’s Omne Bonum (Absolucio-Circumcisio) and dates from the south east England of c.1360-c. 1375. Below is a detail from a miniature focusing on rioters pillaging a house in Paris. It’s part of the Chroniques de France ou de St Denis and was produced sometime between 1380 and 1400 in Paris.

041v Houses in medieval illuminated manuscripts

Look out too for a miniature of a crow bringing lard to Cuthbert to atone for the crows carrying off straw from the house of his brethren (from Chapter 14 of Bede’s prose Life of St Cuthbert, illuminated at the end of the 12th century).

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