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315
ILLUMINATED Mss.


marks the illumination of the Carolingian school. The influence of the Celtic art, which has been described, imposed itself and combined with it. This combination was due to the Englishman, Alcuin of York, who became abbot of the Benedictine house of St Martin of Tours, and who did so much to aid Charlemagne in the revival of letters. Thus, in the finest examples of the Carolingian illuminated MSS., Celtic interlaced patterns stand side by side with the designs of classical origin; and, at the same time, it is interesting to observe that the older native Merovingian style of ornament makes its presence felt, now and again, in this or that detail. But with all the artistic effort bestowed upon it, it must be conceded that Carolingian illumination, as presented in the MSS., is not always pleasing. Indeed, it is often coarse and monotonous, and there is a tendency to conceal inferiority under a dazzling abundance of gold. The leading idea of the ornament of the great MSS. was splendour. Gold was used in profusion even in the writing of the text, and silver also in a minor degree; and the vellum, stained or painted purple, enhanced the gorgeous effect of the illumination. But undoubtedly the purer style of the Celtic school balanced and restrained the tendency to coarseness; and this foreign influence naturally was stronger in some centres than in others. For example, in the abbey of Saint-Denis, near Paris, if we may draw conclusions from surviving examples, the Celtic style was in great favour. Another peculiarity in the decoration of the Carolingian MSS. is the tendency of the artist to mix his styles, and to attach details on a small scale, such as delicate sprays and flourishes, and minute objects, to large-scale initial letters, as though he felt that grossness required a corrective contrast. The art became more refined under the immediate successors of Charlemagne, and under Charles the Bald it culminated. The most famous MSS. of the Carolingian school are the Evangeliarium, written and illuminated by the scribe Godescalc for Charlemagne in the year 787; the Sacramentarium written for Drogon, son of Charlemagne' and bishop of Metz; the Gospels of the emperor Lothair, once at Tours; the first Bible of Charles the Bald, presented by Count Vivien, abbot of St Martin of Tours; the second Bible, called the Bible of Saint Denis, in Franco-Saxon style; and the so-called Gospels of Francis II. There are also in the British Museum (Harleian MS. 2788) an Evangeliarium written in gold and known as the Codex aureus, of this school; and a Bible of Alcuin's recension, probably executed at Tours in the middle of the 9th century, with illustrative miniatures and initial letters, but of a less elaborate degree of ornament.

After this brilliant period decadence sets in; and in the course of the rrth century Frankish illumination sinks to its lowest point, the miniatures being for the most part coarse and clumsy copies of earlier models. The colours become harsh, often assuming an unpleasant chalky appearance.

We have now to trace the development of another kind of book decoration, quite different from the florid style of gold and colours just now described, which had a lasting influence on the early art of England, where it was specially cultivated, and where it developed a character which at length became distinctively national. This is the style of outline drawing which fills so large a space in the Anglo-Saxon MSS. of the 10th and r ith centuries.

We have already seen how the Celtic style of ornamentation was introduced into the north of England. Thence it appears Anglm to have spread rapidly southward. As ear1y as the 5, , x, ,, , beginning of the 8th century it was practised at Canterbury, as is testified by a famous psalter in the British Museum (Cott. MS. Vespasian A. 1), in which much of the ornament is of Celtic type. But the same MS. is also witness to the presence of another influence in English art, that of the classical style of Rome, certain details of the ornament being of that character and a miniature in-the MS. being altogether of the classical type. With little hesitation this element may be ascribed to MSS. brought from Rome, in the first instance by St Augustine, and afterwards by the incoming missionaries who succeeded him, and deposited in such centres as Canterbury and Winchester. But this importation of MSS. from Italy was not confined to the south. We have distinct evidence that they were brought into northern monasteries, such as those of Jarrow and Wearmouth and York. Thus the English artists of both south and north were in a position to take advantage of material from two sources; and they naturally did so. Thus we find that mingling of the Celtic and classical styles just noticed. In this way, early grown accustomed to take classical models for their drawings, the Anglo-Saxon artists were the more susceptible to the later development of the classical style of outline drawing which was next introduced into the country from the continent. The earliest MS. in which this style of drawing is exhibited in fullest detail is the volume known as the U trechl Psaller, once in the Cottonian Library, in which the text of the psalms is profusely illustrated with minute pen-sketches remarkably full of detail. The period of the MS. is about the year 800; and it was probably executed in the north or north-east of France. But the special interest of the drawings is that they are evidently copies of much older models and provide a valuable link with the late classical art of some two or three centuries earlier. The work is very sketchy, the movement of the draperies indicated by lightly scribbled strokes of the pen, the limbs elongated, the shoulders humped-all characteristic features which are repeated in the later Anglo-Saxon work. The drawings of the Utrecht Psalter are clearly typical examples of a style which, founded on Roman models, must at one time have been widely practised in western Europe. For instance, there are traces of it in such a centre as St Gallen in Switzerland, and there are extant MSS. of the Psychomachia of Prudentius (a favourite work) with drawings of this character which were executed in France in the 10th century. But the style does not appear to have taken much hold on the fancy of continental artists. It was reserved for England to welcome and to make this free drawing her own, and to develop it especially in the great school of illumination at Winchester. Introduced probably in such examples as the U trecht Psalter and copies of the Psychomachia, this free drawing of semi-classical origin had fully established itself here in the course of the 10th century, and by that time had assumed a national character. A fair number of MSS. of the 10th and 11th centuries which issued from the Winchester school are still to be seen among the collections of the British museum, in most of which the light style of outline drawing with the characteristic fluttering drapery is more or colours were also freely emthe

most elaborate specimen

less predominant, although body

ployed in many examples. But

of Anglo-Saxon illumination of the 10th century is one belonging Benediclional of the see of

to the duke of Devonshire: the

Winchester, executed under the direction of /Ethelwold, bishop from 963 to 984, which contains a series of miniatures, in this instance in body colours, but drawn in the unmistakable style of the new school. In the scheme of decoration, however, another influence is at work. As England had sent forth its early Celtic designs to modify the art of the Frankish empire, so the Carolingian' style of ornament now, in its turn, makes its way into this country, and appears in the purely ornamental details of the Anglo-Saxon illuminated Volumes. The frames of the miniatures are chiefly composed of conventional foliage, and the same architectural leaf-rnouldings of classical origin which are seen in the foreign MSS. are here repeated. Profuse gilding also, which is frequently applied, sometimes with silver, is due to foreign influence. But this character of decoration soon assumed a national cast. Under the hands of the Anglo-Saxon artist the conventional foliage flourished with greater freedom; and the colouring which he applied was generally softer and more harmonious than that which was employed abroad. Examples of outline drawing of the best type exist in the Harleian Psalter (No. 2904), of the same period as the /Ethelwold Benediczfional; in the register of New Minster (Stowe MS. 944), A.D. 1016-rozo; and in the Prudentius (Cotton MS. Cleop. C.ยป viii.), executed early in the 11th century. With the Norman Conquest naturally great changes were

effected in the illumination of English MSS., as in other