Tyne & Wear

Lindisfarne Gospels: St John shown in rare page turning

Lindisfarne Gospels St John the Evangelist portrait
Image caption There are strict controls on how often the Gospels' pages can be turned

The precious pages of the 1,300-year-old Lindisfarne Gospels have been turned at a major exhibition in Durham.

The Gospels, created by monks on Northumberland's Holy Island in honour of St Cuthbert, are on loan from the British Library at Durham University.

More than 45,000 visitors viewed the Canon Tables, the first of only two pages to be displayed.

A portrait of St John the Evangelist will now be on show for the rest of the exhibition.

The miniature is one of four evangelist portraits in the manuscript, which precede each of the four gospels.

Uniquely, the picture of John shows him facing the viewer, while the others are shown in profile.

To protect the manuscript from damage and light there are strict controls on which pages can be seen and how often they can be turned.

The work contains the oldest surviving translation of the Gospels into the English language and is in almost perfect condition.

The exhibition also displays Europe's oldest surviving bound book, the St Cuthbert Gospel, Anglo-Saxon artefacts and medieval manuscripts.

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