The Lindisfarne Gospels
One of the finest examples of insular manuscript illumination. The manuscript was produced in the late 7th, early 8th century, presumably under Eadfirith, bishop of Lindisfarne. The pages were made of vellum, and it is estimated that over 120 calves’ skins were used to create the Lindisfarne gospels.
Each of the four gospels begins with a portrait of the title character. This is followed by a ‘carpet page’ - a fully decorated page depicting a cross. Each of the carpet pages has one deliberate mistake in the pattern to demonstrate that only God is capable of perfection. Following the carpet page is the ‘incipit page’, which features a highly ornamental first letter of the text. The number of decorative dots (rubrication) surrounding the letter shown above is 10,600, all done by hand.