The St Cuthbert Gospel is the centrepiece of the latest exhibition taking place at the Palace Green Library.
After a successful campaign by the British Library in 2012 that rose £9 million for this project, the St Cuthbert Gospel was shown in London and Durham in 2013. After an agreement that the Gospel would be displayed equally in London and in Durham, it has now returned to the Palace Green Library.
Called “Bound to Last: Book Binding from the Middle Ages to the Modern Day”, the exhibition explores the history of bookbinding through a unique selection of books.
Drawing mainly from the University’s own collections, the exhibition also features rare bindings loaned by other libraries. At the centre is the oldest book in Western Europe to survive in its original binding – the St Cuthbert Gospel.
The Gospel was displayed in Durham alongside the famous Lindisfarne Gospels in 2013, in an exhibition that included artefacts from Anglo-Saxon England. This included gold objects from the Staffordshire Hoard, placing the book in a wider context of medieval craftsmanship.
The exhibition aims to highlight the varied nature of book bindings as a pocket-sized book of the Psalms sits alongside an enormous 14th century antiphoner.
The exhibition is running alongside the Books for Boys exhibition, and admission charges include entry to both exhibitions.
Dr Sheila Hingley, Head of Heritage Collections at Durham University said:
“It gives me great pleasure that we have two exhibitions showing at Palace Green Library, which celebrate books but in very different ways.
“Bound to Last focuses on the variety, complexity and beauty of their bindings and has given us the opportunity to display treasured examples from our collections, as well as those of lenders.”
The exhibition opened on 4th October and will run until 4th January 2015 at the Palace Green Library, with exhibition opening times available on the Palace Green website.
Admission to the exhibition is free for students but costs £4.50 for adults.
Photograph: Palace Green Library