The Lindisfarne Gospels : Three plates in colour and thirty-six in monochrome from Cotton MS. Nero D. IV in the British Museum with pages from two related manuscripts / With introduction by Eric George Millar, F.S.A. Assistant in the Department of Manuscripts, British Museum.

British Museum

RA Collection: Book

Record number




[London]: Printed by order of the Trustees of the British Museum ; sold at the British Museum and by Longmans, Green & Co.; Bernard Quaritch, Ltd.; and Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press,, 1923

Physical Description

[4], 52, [6] p., [3] (incl. frontis.), 39 pl.: illus.; 420 mm.


[Frontis., t.p.] - Preface (by J.P. Gilson) - Contents - [Text, and [2] pl.] - Bibliography - [Div. t.p., 'The Lindisfarne Gospels'] - List Of Plates - [Plates 1-36] - [Div. t.p., 'Plates XXXVII - XXXIX (For Comparison)'] - [Plates 37-39].

Responsibility Note

The printers are named on the title-page verso, 'Oxford Collotype Plates And Letterpress Printed At The University Press By Ferderick Hall Printed in England', and in the Preface, 'Of the coloured plates the first two are the work of Messrs. McLagan and Cumming, the third ... is by the Oxford University Press, who have also made all the collotypes.'


M. Spearman and J. Higgit (editors), The age of migrating ideas: early medieval art in northern Britain and Ireland (1993); J. Backhouse, The Lindisfarne Gospels (1981); J. J. G. Alexander, Insular manuscripts, 6th to the 9th century, I (1978), no. 9.

Summary Note

The work describes the manuscript of a Latin translation of the Gospels, written and illuminated in the 7th century in Lindisfarne, Northumbria, by Eadfrith (afterwards Bishop of Lindisfarne), who was a pupil of St Cuthbert. The work also contains a tenth-century inter-linear Anglo-Saxon translation by Fr. Aldred.

The codex and each Gospel begin with a 'carpet-page' representation of the Cross, and each Gospel opens with a representation of the Evangelist. The lettering and illustration are executed in an early Romanesque style, distinctively British and often known as 'Insular', but showing familiarity with Celtic, Germanic, Italian, Greek and possibly even Coptic work.

In the 17th century the manuscript was acquired by Sir Robert Cotton, and in the 18th by the British Museum.


A facsimile of the manuscript, Evangelium Quattuor Codex Lindisfarnensis, was published in 1956-60 (2 vols., Olten and Lausanne).


Presented by the Trustees of the British Museum in 1924.

Binding Note

20th century blue cloth, upper cover lettered 'The Lindisfarne Gospels'; spine lettered 'The Lindisfarne Gospels'.

Name as Subject


Bible. N.T. Gospels
Christian art and symbolism - Saints - Evangelists
Illuminated manuscripts, British - Manuscripts - Illumination of books and manuscripts - Illustrations - Great Britain - Northumbria - Lindisfarne - History - 7th century - Romanesque - Insular
Collections - Great Britain - London - 20th century
Art history - Great Britain - 20th century
Pictorial works - Color printing - Photomechanical prints - Collotypes - Great Britain - 20th century


Eric George Millar, author
Eadfrith Bishop of Lindisfarne, source artist
British Museum, publisher, bookseller, donor
Longmans, Green, and Company (London), bookseller
Bernard Quaritch, bookseller
Oxford University Press, bookseller, printer, photographic printer
McLagan and Cumming, printer