This exhibition, curated by Cristina Neagu, together with Rowena Archer and David Rundle, highlights the process of creating new books during the period of transition from manuscript to print.
Particular attention is drawn to the materials, tools, styles of script and types used by scribes and miniaturists on the one hand and the first printers on the other. The manuscripts and incunables on display will give visitors an overview of the era and the books produced during that period.
The selection covers four broad topics: 1. History and Literature 2. Prayer and the Sacred Text 3. From Manuscript to Print 4. The Making of the Book. Among the manuscripts on display are Ranulph Higden's Polychronicon, an illuminated Gesta Romanorum, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, one of the oldest Wycliffite New Testaments, highly decorated Psalters and Books of Hours and rare incunables such as Augustin's De Civitate Dei (1468), Rolevinck's Fasciculus Temporum (1490) and the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493).
To illustrate how books were made, we are fortunate to be able to also include a fully functional reconstructed Gutenberg press. The press was built by Alan May for a programme commissioned by BBC 4, The Machine That Made Us, presented by Stephen Fry and broadcast in 2008.
The exhibition explores the relationship between manuscript and print and focuses on the importance of considering the two media not only as replacements one for another, but having a joint and interdependent existence during the fifteenth century.
From Scriptoria to the Printing House: The Story of the Book during the 15th Century will be open from 6 September 2013. Visiting hours Monday - Friday: 9.30 am - 1.00 pm; 2.00 pm - 4.30 pm (provided there is a member of staff available in the Upper Library).