2023 Summer School

LIPS runs across two weeks, from 5 June to 16 June 2023 in person at Senate House, London.

Week one (5 –9 June 2023)

Introduction to the Codicology and Cataloguing of Medieval Manuscripts | James Freeman

Four-day course, Monday 5 to Thursday 8 June

  • The Codicology of Medieval Manuscripts

How were medieval books made? What material evidence of these processes do manuscripts contain? And how can this knowledge enhance our understanding of medieval cultural and intellectual life?

This course will take you from cow to codex, from membrane to manuscript, equipping you with all the skills you need to begin independent research into medieval manuscripts. It will cover each stage of the book production process, exploring how component materials were made, how texts were copied and decoration planned and executed, and how books were bound, with illustrative examples drawn from a variety of manuscript libraries. You will learn about variations in practice in medieval Europe, as well as cutting-edge scientific techniques that are enabling scholars to shed new light on old books. You will also learn to identify and interpret evidence of production in surviving books, through hands-on exercises with medieval manuscripts from the collection at Senate House Library.

  • The Cataloguing of Medieval Manuscripts

How – indeed, why – do we describe medieval manuscripts? How have these conventions evolved? And what functions might a catalogue entry fulfil?

This course will help you to establish good practice in identifying, gathering, interpreting and sorting physical and other evidence contained in manuscripts, enabling you to undertake medieval manuscripts research in a systematic and methodical manner. It will take you through the process of compiling a description step-by-step, using manuscripts from Senate House Library. You will study the various ways in which information about manuscripts has been presented, and learn how to read and comprehend published catalogues and the work of other manuscripts researchers. It will encourage you to develop a critical practice in thinking about the way in which information about medieval manuscripts is categorised and arranged, how cataloguing as a discipline has evolved, and what a description might tell you not only about a manuscript but about the methodology of its cataloguer.

  • Codicology and Cataloguing of Medieval Manuscripts: A Hands-on Workshop

This course provides the opportunity to begin the process of independent manuscript study, analysis and description in a supported environment. You will put into practice the theoretical skills that you have learned, in the process of compiling a detailed description of medieval manuscripts. You will work on both digital facsimiles and manuscripts from the collection at Senate House Library.

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Editing Latin Texts from Manuscripts | Daniel Hadas

Five-day course, Monday 5 to Friday 9 June

In this class, students will be introduced to the methods and problems of editing  a Latin text transmitted through medieval manuscripts. The focus of the class will be a practical exercise, in which we will work with online or in situ manuscripts of a Latin text. Student will learn how to collate a manuscript, and how to use those collations towards creating a critical edition of the text. The text chosen will be one for which these in no adequate modern edition.

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Introduction to Palaeography and Manuscript Studies | Katherine Hindley and Laura Cleaver

Five-day course, Monday 5 to Friday 9 June

This course introduces students to key skills for the study of medieval manuscripts, from the making of parchment to reading text and imagery. The course is designed for beginners, with no previous experience or language skills. It is suitable for undergraduate and graduate students, those working in libraries and archives, and anyone with an interest in medieval books. 

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Mundane and Sublime in Equal Measure: An Introduction to Manuscripts Produced in Italy from the Early Middle Ages to the Renaissance | Laura Nuvoloni

Four-day course, Monday 5 to Thursday 8 June

This four/five full-day course offers a comprehensive overview of manuscripts produced in Italy from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. We will explore the origins and developments of their codicological features, scripts, and decoration. We will investigate:

  • the evolution of early medieval scripts into the Carolina
  • its transition to Gothic script
  • the emergence of cursive documentary hands and their adaptations for texts in the vernacular
  • the invention and development of formal and cursive Humanistic scripts
  • the Renaissance survival of Gothic formal hands in books and cursive scripts in private documents.

The evolution of manuscript decoration will be amply illustrated: from monochrome to pen-flourished or white-vine-stem initials to epigraphic capitals, from illustrative vignettes of late-antique codices to all’antica frontispieces in humanistic manuscripts, from anonymous illuminated cycles to works by well-known artists. 

The investigation of Italian scripts will involve reading exercises from manuscripts sources, with the help of abbreviation guidelines and transcription rules.

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TEI and the Description of Medieval Manuscripts | James Freeman

One-day course, Friday 9 June

How do you describe a medieval manuscript in the digital age? What impact has digitisation had upon the methodology of manuscript description? And how might these new approaches prompt new questions and research directions? 

This course will introduce you to TEI, the Text Encoding Initiative, and the main outlines of the TEI manuscript description module. Through practical exercises – converting existing descriptions into TEI or encoding information directly from manuscripts – you will learn how to use the building blocks of TEI language in structuring and encoding a manuscript description, and discover how TEI affects how information is recorded and categorised. The course will prompt you to consider the strengths and weaknesses of a standardised, digital approach to these unique, analogue artefacts, helping you to develop a reflective practice as a manuscript scholar, and integrate digital approaches in your own studies.

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Early Modern English Palaeography | Nigel Ramsay

One-day course, Friday 9 June

Deciphering the handwriting of the past is just the first step in the process of presenting it for others to read. This course combines palaeography (the decipherment of Early Modern handwriting) with diplomatic (studying the form that past documents took) and the process of editorial intervention that enables us to present our transcription in a form that makes it accessible to others in a satisfactory scholarly way. The act of transcribing a document is always an act of editing: this day will aim to make that act a planned exercise that achieves the transformation in the best way possible. 

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Week two (12 – 16 June 2023)

Liturgical and Devotional Manuscripts | Jenny Stratford and Rowan Watson

Two-day course, Monday 12 to Tuesday 13 June

What is the difference between a missal and a breviary, a psalter and a book of hours, an antiphoner and a gradual? Who owned these books and who left them in their wills? This course will provide an overview of the liturgical and devotional manuscripts and the early printed books of Pre-Reformation Europe, their production and decoration. Particular stress will be laid on their textual characteristics and on ways of recognising different types of book. As well as secondary sources and facsimiles, teaching will be based on some original works.  

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Introduction to Scripts Written in Early Medieval England | Debby Banham

One-day course, Monday 12 June

This course provides a broad introduction to the varieties of handwriting in use in England before the Norman Conquest, concluding with a brief look at writing in English in the twelfth century. It covers both scripts shared with wider geographical areas (Uncial, Insular scripts, Caroline Minuscule) and those that developed within England (Alfredian or ‘Pointed’ Minuscule, Square Minuscule and Vernacular Minuscule). We shall therefore be examining specimens written in both Latin and Old English. There will be an explanation of the special characters used in the vernacular, as well as the most common abbreviations and symbols in both languages. We’ll include as much reading practice as we have time for.

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German Palaeography: 17th to 20th century | Dr Dorothea McEwan and Dr Claudia Wedepohl

One-day course, Monday 12 June

This German Palaeography class is a reading class. Its aim is to familiarize students with a number of different handwritings. A variety of texts (in photocopies) will be examined and read: private correspondences, official correspondences of German courts and the Habsburg monarchy, petitions by individuals, replies by authorities, appeals, etc., from the 17th to the 20th centuries. The course will be flexible in as much as it will be possible to present documents from different centuries and handwriting styles in order to suit the needs of the participants. It is therefore important to state on the Registration Form which particular research interests the applicant is pursuing.

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Introduction to Greek Palaeography | Laura Franco

Two-day course, Monday 12 to Tuesday 13 June

This is an introductory course in Greek Palaeography, consisting of two parts. Part I is devoted to a brief survey of the earlier history of the Greek script covering evidence from early inscriptions, through majuscule papyri to manuscripts of the Byzantine period up to the ninth century, including the first examples of Greek minuscule.  Part II concentrates on the Greek minuscule from the ninth to the 15th century and the first printed books. The development of the Greek script will be examined with relation to political events and cultural movements which shaped it through the centuries. Participants will learn how to transcribe a text from a facsimile of a Greek manuscript and examine basic codicological and palaeographical aspects, including the layout of the text, the use of ligatures, nomina sacra, abbreviations and colophons. This course will include practical transcription exercises which can only be undertaken with a knowledge of Greek script and of the Greek language, ancient or modern. However, students without Greek can be accepted on the understanding that they will remain passive during these exercises.   

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Insular Palaeography | Julia Crick and Colleen Curran

Two-day course, Tuesday 13 June to Wednesday 14 June

This class offers a brief introduction to the history of Insular script before and during the first viking age. It will discuss the classification of minuscule scripts written in the islands of Britain and Ireland (and in Insular centres on the Continent) before AD 850 using the principles developed by T. Julian Brown, identifying characteristic letter-forms, ligatures and abbreviations. Where practicable we will work from datable and localizable examples. Latin is not a prerequisite for enrollment but the course will include some voluntary reading practice in order for participants to gain familiarity with the practices of Insular scribes.

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Introductory and Intermediate Latin Palaeography | Marigold Norbye

Two-day course, Tuesday 13 June to Wednesday 14 June

This course will provide a brief overview of the main elements of Latin palaeography, concentrating on scripts of the later medieval period (1100-1500).  It aims to provide students with enough practical information and tips to enable them to approach the transcription of manuscripts with greater confidence.  The course will consist of practical exercises, transcribing several different types of script.  The most common abbreviation symbols will be explained from the start, and the evolution of letter forms illustrated during the transcription exercises.  Participants must have at least elementary Latin in order to benefit from the course.  The course is aimed at absolute beginners in palaeography, although it can benefit those with limited experience.  It would be useful if participants could indicate whether they have any previous experience of palaeography when applying. 

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Transcribing and Editing Manuscripts (after 1700) | Wim Van Mierlo

One-day course, Wednesday 14 June

This course will introduce students to the basic characteristics of ‘modern' manuscripts produced from 1700 onwards. This includes documents that belong to the composition and transmission of literary, philosophical and historical (notebooks, rough drafts, fair copies, etc.) as well as letters, diaries and other private documents. In this course, you will learn about changes in handwriting from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, about the conventions of writing in this period, and more generally about commonly-used methods of transcription and the principles of editing manuscripts. This in-depth study of theoretical and methodological issues will be rounded off with some practical exercises in which you will try your hand at transcribing a variety of materials. 

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Writing in Old English | Colleen Curran

One-day course, Thursday 15 June

This class offers will explore the history of vernacular writing in early medieval England (c. AD 800-1200). The course will begin with the earliest written instances of Old English, and will continue through to the Norman Conquest and the early middle English period. Lectures will be supplemented by (voluntary) reading practice to gain further familiarity of letterforms and their development. Knowledge of Old English is not a pre-requisite, but it would be beneficial.

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How Manuscripts Were Made | Patricia Lovett

One-day course, Thursday 15 June

From 600 to 1600 – how did writing styles develop from Uncials to Italic, how were the letters written, and how are quills cut and oak gall ink made? Using manuscripts as examples and demonstrations this course will focus on historical scripts. This half-day course will focus on the practical aspects of the scripts, including the letter-forms and how they change and the appearance on the page. Vellum and parchment, gold, pigments, quills – all contributed to the making of manuscripts to produce the brilliance of gold coupled with jewel colours together with the writing styles. This course will consider how the manuscripts were made, some of the practitioners, the sequence of manuscript production and the tools and materials used.

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Introduction to Middle English Palaeography | Anthony Edwards

Two-day course, Thursday 15 to Friday 16 June

This course will provide an introduction to Middle English scribal hands in literary manuscripts from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries. As such it will be aimed at students with little or limited experience of reading Middle English manuscripts. The aim of the course will be to give some overview of the range of scripts and of the questions of transcription they raise for the beginning student. It will include discussion of the procedures and protocols involved in transcribing Middle English manuscripts and will involve various exercises in transcription from facsimiles of manuscripts across the period, in verse and prose.

The opening session of the day will allow students the opportunity of first-hand examination of original Middle English manuscripts in Senate House Library so as to consider scripts in their material contexts. Facsimiles from the Library will be used in other sessions.

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Illumination Masterclass | Patricia Lovett

One-day course, Friday 16 June

A one-day practical course where participants will choose their own bestiary animal from a selection to copy using gold leaf and agate burnishers, vellum and focusing on traditional miniature painting processes to produce an illuminated animal to take home.

Please note this course has an additional fee of £21 to cover the cost of tools and materials.
 

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Book of Kells and its Contemporaries | Carol Farr

One-day course, Friday 16 June

A day’s study of the Book of Kells, its art and its relationships to decorated Latin manuscripts ca. AD 800. Beginning with a concise survey of Kells’ contents to see how it is both unique and typical of its time, we will explore questions of its date and place of origin, as well as its later medieval history. Its art, design and scripts will be compared with other decorated manuscripts from Ireland and Britain and with its contemporaries from selected continental contexts. At the end of each lecture section, we will have an informal group discussion. The course will conclude with a study of the 1990 facsimile alongside print and digital facsimiles of some other manuscripts. N.B. The manuscript art has fine detail: students should, if possible, bring a laptop or tablet for optimum views of the images. Images will be provided in advance to registered students.

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Short courses

Introduction to Latin Palaeography - Marigold Norbye

Dates and times:

  • 1 and 2 December 2022, 2pm-5pm GMT

Cost:

  • Standard: £100
  • Student: £75

Held over two afternoons on Zoom, this online short course will provide a brief overview of the main elements of Latin palaeography, concentrating on scripts of the later medieval period (1100-1500).  

It aims to provide students with enough practical information and tips to enable them to approach the transcription of manuscripts with greater confidence.  The course will consist of practical exercises, transcribing several different types of script.  The most common abbreviation symbols will be explained from the start, and the evolution of letter forms illustrated during the transcription exercises.  Participants must have at least elementary Latin in order to benefit from the course. 

The course is aimed at absolute beginners in palaeography, although it can benefit those with limited experience.  It would be useful if participants could indicate whether they have any previous experience of palaeography when applying.

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Women Patrons, Scribes, and Makers of Medieval Manuscripts - Vicky Walker

Dates and times:

  • 8 and 9 March 2023, 2pm-5pm GMT

Cost:

  • Standard: £100
  • Student: £75

This course will look at some of the women, named and anonymous, who participated in the manuscript culture of the early Middle Ages in Europe as patrons, scribes, book producers, authors and readers. We will explore these various roles in relation to individuals and communities and the extant manuscripts through which their activities can be traced. Through these case studies, we will also learn about the movement of women, books and ideas between centres of literary production and learning in England and on the Continent. Our subject matter will include a continental manuscript from St Gall containing an anonymous Life of Gregory the Great composed in Whitby in the eighth century, a collection of prayers for (and possibly by) women known as the Book of Nunnaminster, and the eleventh-century Encomium Emmae Reginae (‘In praise of Queen Emma’).

Introduction to Music in Medieval Manuscripts - Brianne Dolce

Dates and times:

  • 23 and 24 March 2023, 2pm-5pm GMT

Cost:

  • Standard: £100
  • Student: £75

This course offers a brief introduction to medieval music paleography, especially between the ninth and fourteenth centuries. It provides an overview of musical scripts used in medieval Europe, the graphic features that distinguish them, and developments in music writing technologies over the course of the period. By considering various regional notational styles, students will learn how musical notation can aid in situating manuscripts chronologically and geographically. In addition, students will briefly be introduced to resources that can help identify the content of musical manuscripts.

Rather than focusing on the transcription of medieval musical notation, or its semiotic qualities, this course focuses exclusively on its paleographic features. No knowledge of modern musical notation is required, nor is musical experience necessary. In your application, please indicate your previous experience in paleography and codicology.