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Lindisfarne Gospels

962 of 1172 nominations


Lindisfarne Gospels

Is this an icon?


Lindisfarne Gospels

The Lindisfarne Gospels is an illuminated Latin manuscript of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that was produced in Lindisfarne in Northumbria in the late 7th century or early 8th century. It is thought to be the work of a monk called Eadfrith, who became Bishop of Lindisfarne in 698 and died in 721.

Opulent and rich, the Lindisfarne Gospels contains elaborate fully decorated pages of ornament and intricacy and complex patterns including fanciful birds and animals, and beautiful calligraphy. It was produced at a time of great change, when Britain was a land of many cultures, with an emerging national identity and new forms of learning, literature and art. The Lindisfarne Gospels was a stunning creation of this new island culture. Thirteen centuries after it was made it is still in excellent condition; it is now considered one of the world’s greatest books and symbols of faith.

Photo © British Library / Topham


Your comments

In any country a book 1,300 years old would stand as a major national artefact. England has always been more of a literary than visual culture so a book as a national icon seems a good choice. Also it has travelled around the country a fair bit in its time so although housed in London it is one of those national treasures that most people feel they have some ownership of.

Piers Masterson

Actually a comment on the Island. There are currently 7 children in the school, not two as stated on your site, with another one starting in September
Mark Fleeson

This extraordinarily beautiful illustrated work is a symbol of major importance to the North of England. It is currently illegally held in London by the British Museum and once it is returned to its rightful home in Durham Cathedral (another great icon) it can become the centrepiece of norhern pride, rather than just another London exhibit.
Mike Painter

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry