Redefining the Insular Tradition: Illuminated Manuscripts of the Seventh through Ninth Centuries

Boyles, William (2015) Redefining the Insular Tradition: Illuminated Manuscripts of the Seventh through Ninth Centuries. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Nancy L. Wicker from Art History Department, The University of Mississippi.


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During my studies as an undergraduate student with an interest for medieval art, I found myself drawn to the beautifully painted works of illuminated manuscripts. Especially interested in the history, culture, and tradition of the British Isles, I became intrigued by the oftentimes-interchangeable term Insular. Textbooks, scholars, and various journal articles that I read all viewed Insularity in a slightly different light. So when given the chance to explore a unique topic for my honors thesis, I immediately knew that I had to research this problematic designation. My research began with a broad reading of the core of books, journals, and essays written on the topic of Insular art and history. I honed in on the tendency by scholars to limit the Insular world to works produced only in the British Isles. To examine this problem in more detail, I extended my research in the summer of 2014 beyond the classroom and library cubicle. I visited ten European countries over a ten-week period in the summer. I made connections and relationships with professors, curators, and librarians. I was able to first-hand examine medieval manuscripts and illuminations. Many of the illuminations in this thesis are from text and images that I examined myself. Upon return from my exploratory research, I built a database of manuscripts that I thought were of the Insular tradition or were the foundation for my own redefinition of the complicated term. In this thesis, I propose two major assertions that differ from those of many other scholars — I propose a later dating of the Insular tradition and I assert its autonomy apart from the Hiberno-Saxon tradition. After extensive research I decided that the Insular tradition is not fully formed until the ninth century and that Insularity extends beyond the British Isles. In fact, the Insular orbit extends far beyond the coast of Britain and deserves to be rightfully redefined.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Boyles, William
Student's Degree Program(s): Religious Studies
Thesis Advisor: Nancy L. Wicker
Thesis Advisor's Department: Art History Department
Institution: The University of Mississippi
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
N Fine Arts > NB Sculpture
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
N Fine Arts > ND Painting
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Depositing User: William R Boyles
Date Deposited: 12 May 2015 18:39
Last Modified: 12 May 2015 18:39

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