1,300-year-old Anglo-Saxon manuscript - The Lindisfarne Gospels - to return to the North East in 2022

The Lindisfarne Gospels, the most spectacular surviving manuscript from Anglo-Saxon England, will go on display in the North East in 2022.

The 8th Century manuscript, on loan from the British Library, will feature in a high-profile exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, with a supporting exhibition at neighbouring Newcastle City Library.

To celebrate, venues across the North East will be invited to host supporting events and there will be an accompanying programme of activity for community groups and schools, as well as a high-profile artist commission to reimagine the Gospels for a 21st Century audience.

The bid was co-ordinated by the North East Culture Partnership (NECP) and the British Library. Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) in partnership with Newcastle City Library was selected as the preferred bidder.

The Lindisfarne Gospels. Picture: British Library Board

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    Cllr Simon Henig, co-chairman NECP, said: “The Lindisfarne Gospels is many things to many people but, first and foremost it is a book created in the north and of the north, by the community of Lindisfarne.

    “Hosting the exhibition over 20 years since the Gospels last visit to Newcastle, will be our contribution to the national Festival 2022.”

    Baroness Joyce Quin, chairman of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums Strategic Board, hopes it will be ‘an experience people will tell their grandchildren about.’

    Roly Keating, chief executive of the British Library, added: “The manuscript includes the earliest surviving example of the Gospels in English and is one of the great national and indeed international treasures in our care, renowned for the intricacy and beauty of its decoration.”


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    The Lindisfarne Gospels at the British Library. Picture: British Library Board

    It will be the fifth time since 1987 that the Lindisfarne Gospels has been on display in the North East.

    The 2022 exhibition will focus on the meaning of the Lindisfarne Gospels in today’s world and how its themes link to personal, regional and national pride and identity.

    Working with curators and other experts from the British Library, academics and cultural professionals from across the North East, exhibition curators will explore the ways in which the Gospel book written on Holy Island in the early eighth century, which helped redefine the identity of its community across 400 years, can bring people together today by inspiring thinking about who we are and where we come from, about identity, creativity, learning and sense of place.


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    The front cover of the Lindisfarne Gospels. Picture: British Library Board

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    Matthew Evangelist portrait, Lindisfarne Gospels. Picture: British Library Board


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    A page of text in the Lindisfarne Gospels. Picture: British Library Board