Medieval Manuscript Facsimiles

Bruce Peel Special Collections houses an exquisite collection of manuscript facsimiles from throughout the Medieval period. These facsimiles are accurate three-dimensional replicas of texts that are extremely rare and difficult to find. The level of detail involved in creating a facsimile is astonishing: for example, some facsimiles reproduce the holes that were left by bookworms in the originals. Some exceptional examples from the Peel library’s collection include a full colour, fine-art facsimile of The Book of Kells, an elaborate facsimile of The Ellesmere Manuscript of the Canterbury Tales enhanced with gold detail work, and a visually striking facsimile of The Trinity College Apocalypse. Each facsimile is created with the intention of recreating the feeling of holding the original manuscript, from the weight of the paper to the physical size of the volume.

A recent acquisition, the Peel library is now home to a facsimile of the mysterious Voynich manuscript in the Beineke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale (Z105.5 V65 V69 2017). See "Why do people keep convincing themselves that they've solved this Medieval mystery?" (Washington Post ,14 Aug 2019) and link to a relevant CBC Radio story, "Blue Pigment Found on a Medieval Woman's Teeth Suggests she was a Skilled, Literate Artist: She was Likely an Illustrator of Manuscripts Working in a Religious Community" (Quirks & Quarks, 12 Jan 2019).

Collection Formats: 20th Century, 21st Century, Books, Fine Press Books, Limited Edition Books -- click to see other collections with this format