January 17, 2008

Lindisfarne Gospels should be returned

Posted at 12:39 pm in Similar cases

There are many high profile international restitution claims against museums or private collections, which regularly get extensive press coverage. Perhaps less known though are other intranational disputes which in many ways occupy a completely different legal position as the campaign is normally only led by local people rather than a government. The Lindisfarne Gospels is one such case against the British Library that is regularly revived by the people of Northumberland.

Northumberland Gazette

Wednesday, 16th January 2008
Published Date: 16 January 2008
Location: Northumberland
Give us our Gospels – MP

ALAN Beith has renewed calls for the British Library to look again at returning the Lindisfarne Gospels to the North East.
The Berwick Liberal Democrat, whose constituency includes Holy Island, has been supported by other MPs over bringing the priceless cultural treasure back to its native home.

And he has sponsored an Early Day motion in the House of Commons following press reports about the British Library withholding information and putting forward “spurious arguments for not allowing the Gospels to be returned to the North East”.

Mr Beith said: “I am disappointed that a respected institution like the British Library has been obstructive and has
withheld information which could strengthen the case for the Gospels to be returned.

“I hope the British Library will look again at the calls which have been made for the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the North East and will give this matter its serious attention.”

The Gospels is an illuminated Latin manuscript of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and was created on Lindisfarne during the late 7th century or early 8th century.

It is generally regarded as the finest example of the kingdom’s unique style of religious art, combining Anglo-Saxon and Celtic themes.

It is thought that a monk named Eadfrith, who became Bishop of Lindisfarne in 698 and died in 721, penned the pages in honour of St Cuthbert.

Despite surviving Viking raids, the manuscript was seized by Henry VIII when he dissolved the monasteries, and it has resided at the British Museum since the 18th century.

The full article contains 261 words and appears in n/a newspaper.
Last Updated: 16 January 2008 12:23 PM

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