Lindisfarne Gospels

The script of the Lindisfarne Gospels is the work of one man – Eadfrith Bishop of Lindisfarne. The book is dated between AD 715-720.

Before he could start he needed to obtain the skin of 150 stillborn calves to use as vellum to write on. He also needed to make his pigments from six natural ingredients – lichens, lead, verdigris, and chalk were amongst them. He developed a palette of 90 colours which he then mixed with egg white as a binder. He needed to acquire gold leaf and gold powder. The gospels are 259 pages in length and he had to rule each and every one of his pages before he started to apply the gall ink with his quill.

He would have worked in a south-facing room in summer and used tallow candles at night and during the winter months. He copied the text from another book possibly brought back from Rome. The book contains the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, chapter lists, canon tables, prologues, and feast day readings.