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  • The Medieval Book: Glosses From Friends and Colleagues of Christopher de Hamel
  • Toby Burrows
Marrow, James H., Richard A. Linenthal, and William Noel, eds, The Medieval Book: Glosses From Friends and Colleagues of Christopher de Hamel, Houten, Hes & De Graaf, 2010; cloth; pp. xxxi, 467; 157 colour, 27 b/w illustrations; R.R.P. €69.00; ISBN 9789061943709.

In the world of Western medieval manuscript research, Christopher de Hamel needs no introduction at all. Working for Sotheby’s in London between 1975 and 2000, he catalogued something like ten thousand manuscripts, more than any other living scholar. These included the last two sales from the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps (more than one hundred years after his death) as well as the collections of such important figures as Major Abbey, John Carter Brown, and Daniel Burckhardt-Wildt. His catalogue descriptions have become legendary for their combination of learning and flair. Since 2000, he has been the Donnelley Fellow Librarian of the Parker Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Here he has led the development of ‘Parker on the Web’, the digitized version of the Parker Library’s remarkable collection of medieval manuscripts. He has published several magisterial books and given numerous lectures aimed at explaining and promoting the significance of medieval manuscripts.

This volume, published to celebrate his 60th birthday, brings together no fewer than thirty-seven essays from eminent scholars around the world, grouped under three headings: Books, The Book Trade, and Collectors & Collecting. The volume also contains a biographical appreciation of de Hamel by Nicolas Barker, as well as personal reminiscences by ten of his colleagues from Sotheby’s. Some of the essays are relatively minor or personal, but most are substantial contributions to scholarship and will be of enduring significance in their field. Among these are Ian Doyle on Laurence of Durham, [End Page 265] Richard and Mary Rouse on Jean de Meun, Margaret Manion on images in Italian choir books, and Paul Needham on the Gutenberg Bible.

Beautifully designed and produced, with more than 150 colour illustrations, this volume is a fitting tribute to a scholar who has done as much as anyone in the last forty years to stimulate the interest of scholars, collectors, institutions, and the wider public in medieval manuscripts.

Toby Burrows
School of Humanities
The University of Western Australia


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pp. 265-266
Launched on MUSE
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