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Gold speaks in a universal tongue and has long held a special place in manuscript traditions around the world. Throughout the centuries, it has been incorporated into books and documents in all sorts of ways: as golden writing, as inscriptions on strips of gold, in illuminated paintings, and in gilded book covers. So intrinsic was gold to the craft of luxury book production that manuscript decoration is known as ‘illumination’ from the use of gold to light up the pages. This relationship is at the heart of the British Library’s new exhibition, Gold: 50 spectacular manuscripts from around the world, which showcases 50 golden manuscripts in 17 different languages, from 20 countries, ranging in date from around the 5th century AD to the 1920s. It includes many of the finest items within the Library’s collection. Some of these are very well known, and may be familiar from publications or […]

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