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The Book in the Cathedral

The Last Relic of Thomas Becket

Christopher de Hamel

$26.99

Hardback

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Allen Lane
07 October 2020
Conservation, restoration & care of artworks; History of art: Byzantine & Medieval art; History; British & Irish history; Medieval history; Church history
The assassination of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral on 29 December 1170 is one of the most famous events in European history. It inspired the largest pilgrim site in medieval Europe and many works of literature from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to T. S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral and Anouilh's Becket. In a brilliant piece of historical detective work, Christopher de Hamel here identifies the Anglo-Saxon Psalter which Becket cherished throughout his time as Archbishop of Canterbury and which he may even have been holding when he was murdered. Beautifully illustrated and published to coincide with the 850th anniversary of the death of Thomas Becket, this is an exciting rediscovery of one of the most evocative artefacts of medieval England, and the only surviving relic from Becket's shrine.
By:   Christopher de Hamel
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 204mm,  Width: 138mm,  Spine: 13mm
Weight:   174g
ISBN:   9780241469583
ISBN 10:   0241469589
Pages:   128
Publication Date:   07 October 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

In the course of a long career at Sotheby's Christopher de Hamel probably handled and catalogued more illuminated manuscripts and over a wider range than any person alive. He is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and was Librarian of the Parker Library from 2000 to 2016, which holds many of the earliest manuscripts in English language and history, including the Psalter of Becket. Christopher de Hamel is the author of A History of Illuminated Manuscripts and Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts, which won the Wolfson History Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize in 2016. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society.

Reviews for The Book in the Cathedral: The Last Relic of Thomas Becket

Christopher de Hamel quotes Sherlock Holmes, as he might, in his latest bit of medieval detective work, showing that a book of the Psalms in a Cambridge college was once a treasured possession of St Thomas Becket ... grippingly told in The Book in the Cathedral. -- Christopher Howse * Daily Telegraph * De Hamel - author of the wonderful Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts - shows us all the tools of the bibliographer's trade: dating handwriting, identifying pigments, noting the rust marks left by nails from a now-lost ornate binding ... The identification - or rehabilitation - of his psalter, the book he carried with him into exile, possibly held at his death, is a timely and enjoyable tribute. -- Dennis Duncan * The Guardian * Readers will delight in de Hamel's passion for his subject, his book's sumptuous illustrations, and above all his virtuoso display of learning -- John Guy * Literary Review *


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