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Book reviews for "Backhouse,_Janet" sorted by average review score:

The Illuminated Page: Ten Centuries of Manuscript Painting in the British Library
Published in Hardcover by Univ of Toronto Pr (Trd) (January, 1998)
Author: Janet Backhouse
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This is one of the best books on illuminated manuscripts currently available. The book is hardcover, full color throughout, and many nice reproductions. There is a nice variety in the work shown and good commentary. If you get this at the discounted price, this is a hard book to beat in quantity and quality. Along with A History of Illuminated Manuscripts this is a must-have book.

Beautifully reproduced. Excellent clarity and colour!
What can I say? I have been researching this specific field now for the last five years, and rarely find such a magnificent reproduction as this! Excellent job on the colour balance, and many miniatures I have not seen in any other books. Well done.

Best "bang for the buck" period illumination book on market.
Best "bang for the buck" period illumination book on the market. Every page is crammed with beautiful, clear color photos of ten centuries of period illumination styles. There are 'leaves' and 'hours' in there that I have never seen before. Best of all (and unlike other books I could name) it's affordable and within the reach of the true 'starving artist' (and it's about time).

The Bedford Hours
Published in Paperback by New Amsterdam Books (01 January, 1990)
Author: Janet Backhouse
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Short study of a 15th C. manuscript
Like most of Janet Backhouse's work, this is an excellent, concise study of a particular manuscript in the collection of the British Library.

This particular manuscript is a 15th c. book of hours, commissioned from a Parisian workshop by John, Duke of Bedford.

The text reads easily. Ms. Backhouse covers a short history of the Duke, to place the book in context, and follows with a modestly comprehensive study of the book as an art object.

The book contains around 60 plates, some in black and white, some in color. There are about as many full page illustrations as there are text pages, so the book makes a very suitable visual reference for book artists wanting to illuminate in the style of the Bedford Master.

All in all, a very nice, short study of a justifiably famous medieval manuscript.

The Lindisfarne Gospels
Published in Paperback by Phaidon Press Inc. (April, 1993)
Author: Janet Backhouse
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Easy to read study of an illuminated manuscript
The scope of this book is best described by the chapter titles: 1) Lindisfarne and Saint Cuthbert 2) The men who made the manuscript 3) The text of the Gospels 4) The script 5) How the manuscript was made 6) The great decorated pages 7) The smaller initials 8) Some comparisons (with contemporary works) 9) The later history of the manuscript

The text is lively, including, for example, an old riddle describing the wax table used for sketches. The Anglo-Saxom instruments used in illuminations are shown in a photograph; you aren't expected to have detailed knowledge of medieval tools. The color plates of the Gospels are magnificant. The art shown for comparison includes not only other manuscripts but metalwork etc.

This book is not only an introduction to the Lindisfarne Gospels but is a good starting point for illuminated manuscripts in general.

Medieval Birds in the Sherborne Missal
Published in Paperback by Univ of Toronto Pr (December, 2001)
Author: Janet Backhouse
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Birds on the Inside
The Sherborne Missal gives a bird's-eye view of worship in 15th-century England. The beautifully illustrated and written manuscript was done for the Benedictine Abbey of Sherborne on the east coast of England, in Dorset. It gives the saints days, special intentions such as for the sick, and the words of the mass for each day.

Birds decorate the pages. But there are only three places where it hits you in the face why a particular bird is shown on a particular page. The goldfinch, as a medieval Italian symbol for the crucified Christ, is shown with Epiphany, the robin with Sherborne Abbot Robert Brunyng, and the skylark soaring upwards into the skies with the Ascension.

According to MEDIEVAL BIRDS IN THE SHERBORNE MISSAL, the artist must have owned or gotten easy hold of models or sketches. One known pattern book, from possibly around 1400, mainly showed initial letters, with only four leaves of bird studies. But Giovannino De' Grassi's late 14th-century sketchbook, now in the Biblioteca Civica in Bergamo, helped to spread the northern Italian style of drawing nature as it really was, without fantastic add-ons.

Private collectors in France kept the Missal safe from 16th-century Reformation England, until calmer days at the end of the 18th century. Then the Missal ended up in the library of the dukes of Northumberland, at Alnwick Castle. In 1983 the 10th duke loaned the manuscript to the British Museum. With the death of the 11th duke the Sherborne Missal became, in 1998, additional ms 74326, as a permanent part of the British Library collection.

It now is among the exhibits in the library galleries. But only two pages can be seen at any one time, and usually not of the birds. So Janet Backhouse's book is particularly valuable, as the first complete full-color publication under one roof of all the birds.

The author has written many books on medieval manuscripts. But readers might particularly like THE LINDISFARNE GOSPELS and MEDIEVAL RURAL LIFE IN THE LUTTRELL PSALTER, for their similar themes on nature in the English Middle Ages.

The Sherborne Missal
Published in Hardcover by Univ of Toronto Pr (Trd) (August, 1999)
Author: Janet Backhouse
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Beautifully done!
This book is a great value for the money, for those who enjoy beautiful illuminations and medieval art. The Sherborne Missal, though not well-known is a wonderful example of late medieval British art. There are many color illustrations included, as well as a description of the missal and its history, and this book is a great value for the price that I am glad I bought.

Books of Hours
Published in Paperback by British Library Pubns (January, 1986)
Authors: Janet Blackhouse and Janet Backhouse
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An introduction to the medieval "bestseller"
The book of hours is a layman's prayer book that was extremely popular from aproximately the 14th to the 16th century. This 80 page book is an introduction to the subject.

As an introduction, the book provides some general information in a readable format. If you are looking for a book that provides in-depth subject coverage, this is not the one you want. As an introductory book, or as a book bought to add to your collection on the subject, however, it's a nice, inexpensive addition.

There are 68 plates in the book, about 1/3 in color and the remainder in B&W. The plates tend to be reproductions of the more lavish pages to be found in books of hours; there are no pages of text alone reproduced.

In all, it's a nice book, but not Backhouse's best. I'd like to give it a 3.5 stars, but Amazon's rating system doesn't allow for it, alas.

Beautiful book, stunning illustrations!
This fabulous introduction to the _Books of Hours_ that so entertained readers (and just *maybe* induced greater devotion to the deity, although that was definitely a secondary consideration when these books were made) of the distant past. Many of these fabulous artists are known only by these sole efforts, while others achieved fame comparable to the most celebrated painters and church-decorators of the age - and they deserve to be remembered as the equal of the finest of their contemporaries working in other media. Fantastical, imaginative, beautifully and expertly painted figures and dreamy, stream-of-consciousness invention characterize the pictures in this book. I have to say this is one of my favorite possessions.

The Illuminated Manuscript
Published in Hardcover by Marboro Books (July, 1979)
Author: Janet. Backhouse
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Good Broad Overview of Illuminated Manuscripts
Covering a wide span of time and styles, from the Lindisfarne Gospels (Interlace, c 700) to Italian neo-classical revival in the early 1500s, this book provides a good overview of the subject. Written for the layman rather than the scholar, it nevertheless has an informative introduction on manuscript creation. Since there are examples from 70 manuscripts, descriptions of each are necessarily brief, but still interesting. It is a pity that not all the illlustrations are in colour, but there are still many good-quality colour plates at or near full-size.

This is definitely one to have on the shelf.

The Luttrell psalter
Published in Unknown Binding by British Library ()
Author: Janet Backhouse
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A must for 13th C. history and lifestyle enthusiasts
This book is a must for those interested in the everyday life and culture of the late 13th C., as well as those interested in calligraphy, illuminated manuscripts, and period re-creation. It gives a glimpse into a little-talked-about period between the "Dark Ages" and the Gothic era. The pages of the actually manuscript (a religious psalter) are wholly reproduced and show great details about everyday life entwined in the border vines. Backhouse, a noted scholar in this field, takes great pains to provide you with a rare glimpse into the middle ages and intelligently speaks about the creation and culture of the manuscript. I once owned a copy and used it for clothing research. I have known others to use it for medieval archery, entertainment and daily life research, as well as for it's calligraphy and illumination styles.

Medieval Rural Life in the Luttrell Psalter
Published in Paperback by Univ of Toronto Pr (October, 2000)
Author: Janet Backhouse
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Large and gorgeous
A lovely book with large color photos of some of the pages of the original Luttrell Psalter. Wonderful representation of rural live in the 13th century. My only quibble is that some of the nicer larger images stradle two pages which means that some of the details are lost in the gap between the pages.

The Becket Leaves (Manuscripts in Colour Series)
Published in Paperback by British Library Pubns (July, 1995)
Authors: Janet Backhouse and Christopher De Hamel
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Good color reproductions & other materials; no translation.
This short work depicts in color the surviving leaves of the medieval Becket booklet. Additional reproductions bearing on the dating, style and authorship are conveniently provided. The (English) text briefly summarized the Becket story, directed toward the illustrations. However, the French of the leaves is not translated, though this short additional information would have made the work complete.

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