Lowrie J. Daly Lecture

The Lowrie J. Daly, S.J., Memorial Lecture on Manuscript Studies is held annually in October and serves as the guest lecture for the Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies. Each year a distinguished scholar in the field of medieval and Renaissance manuscript studies is invited to speak on an aspect of his or her research. The lecture was established in 2001 in memory of the founder of the Knights of Columbus Vatican Film Library, Lowrie J. Daly, S.J. (1914–2000), who initiated and oversaw the project of microfilming the medieval and Renaissance manuscripts of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana that now form the core of the Vatican Film Library's research collections. This annual lecture is free and open to the public.

Past Lectures


I: Friday, 17 October 2014, Père Marquette Gallery, DuBourg Hall
  • Mary A. Rouse (University of California, Los Angeles) Why Paris? Deep Roots of a Medieval University


I: 11 October, 4:00pm, Père Marquette Gallery, DuBourg Hall
  • Thomas Kren (J. Paul Getty Museum) Extra-Devotional Imagery in the
    Grandes heures of Anne of Brittany and the Hours of Louis XII

II: 12 October, 4:00pm, Père Marquette Gallery, DuBourg Hall
  • Derek Pearsall (Emeritus, University of York and Harvard University)
    Medieval Anthologies, Compilations, Miscellanies: The Rage for Order



  • David Ganz (Independent Scholar)
    The Importance of Half Uncial Script

    Abstract: Of the Latin scripts used in late antiquity half uncial exhibits the most diversity of letter forms. Scholars have explored the varieties of Uncial scripts in use in Lyon, in Rome, in Southern Italy and in England, but half uncial has been neglected. The founding fathers of modern palaeography, Delisle and Traube, regarded it as of unique importance in the development of medieval scripts. This lecture will revisit half uncial, revisit the theories of Caroline Bammel about its origins, and suggest ways in which it might be analysed.


  • Michelle P. Brown  (School of Advanced Study, University of London)
    Peopling Paternoster Row: Recovering the Artist of the Holkham Bible Picture-Book

Abstract:The Holkham Bible offers a unique insight into the mind of a Londoner at a time when the great towns of Europe were in the ascendancy and people were relinquishing ancient feudal ties to the land in search of new opportunity—the Dick Whittington factor. Detailed “excavation” of the way in which the manuscript was made reveals that it began life not as a book at all, but as a booklet of designs perhaps for an embroidered altarpiece or vestments, its style resembling opus anglicanum (“English work”). The artist was not used to making books, but may have been inspired to do so by the scribes, illuminators and stationers alongside whom he worked in Paternoster Row beside St. Paul’s Cathedral. He was evidently concerned to equate his own age and environment with ongoing biblical time—nor was he coy about depicting himself as the personal recipient of salvation, appearing on numerous occasions as a player in the drama that unfolds. The Holkham Bible offers us a window onto the beliefs and attitudes of the ordinary working men and women of London around the 1320s–40s, when urban living was already on the rise. This was the eve of the Black Death which, although it would decimate London’s population, also helped to attract further labour to it, as many folk left the decimated rural landscape, and to ensure its subsequent growth as an international mercantile centre and major publishing hub, founded on a firm ground of civic endeavour and belief that would have been fed by works such as the Holkham Bible.


  • Lawrence Nees (University of Delaware)
    Reading and Seeing: The Beginnings of Book Illumination and the Modern Discourse on Ethnicity

    Abstract: For roughly the last century, the practice of adding color, ornament and or figural miniatures to books, commonly termed "illumination," has been commonly regarded as foreign to the ancient world, and a heritage of the new "barbarian" western Europe. Even scholars such as Carl Nordenfalk, who traced in detail the developments in late antique book art that underlay the new art of illumination, saw a decisive new break with the eruption of a northern spirit across the pages of the Book of Durrow, a break that he linked with ancient Celtic and Germanic traditions rather than with Rome, and located especially in the British Isles. This common, textbook, formulation deserves to be challenged on both specific and historiographical grounds. Close analysis of a manuscript such as Gregory's Homilies on Ezechiel (St. Petersburg, Russian National Library, MS Q. v. lat. 14), probably produced at or in the scribal tradition associated with Luxeuil, most likely before the end of the eighth century, shows a fully-developed illuminative art without apparent connections with anything that might be called barbarian. Rather its decoration is analogous to, and more likely reflects, changing practices in reading and in teaching widespread in the late Roman world. Judging from the dates of surviving early books, admittedly a contentious and difficult issue, this manuscript and many like it seem to precede those from the Insular world that have been linked with barbarian traditions, and may well have inspired them, rather than vice versa. Finally, the prevailing theory of barbarian inspiration needs to be historicized, set within early twentieth-century discourses of nation and ethnicity that gave such factors the leading role in cultural development.


  • Patricia Stirnemann (Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes)
    The Albani Psalter: One Man's Spiritual Journey

    Abstract: For over one hundred years the Albani Psalter has intrigued, confounded and amazed medievalists. Many of its unusual features have been described, but not all have been explained, and some have gone as yet unnoticed. The historiated initials have proven particularly hermetic. Each illustrates a chosen verse, written out like a titulus at the head of the psalm or on a book held by someone within the initial. The verses referred to are sometimes bizarre, buried deep within the psalm, and the meaning of their illustration is not always clear to the modern observer. This presentation will offer new readings for many of the more obscure illustrations and point out new sources, themes and interrelationships that link the initials with the lives of the abbot Geoffrey of Gorron and the anchoress Christina of Markyate. The result is one of the most moving examples in existence of the monastic appropriation of the Psalter.


  • Virginia Brown (Center for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, and Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies)
    How to Establish a Scriptorium: The Case of San Vincenzo al Volturno


  • Nigel Morgan (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge)
    Winchester, Canterbury, and Sigena: The Problem of the Last Copy of the Utrecht Psalter


  • Lilian Armstrong (Wellesley College)
    Triumphal Processions in Italian Renaissance Book Illumination
    Published: Manuscripta 52 (2008): 1–63


  • Albert Derolez (Comité Internationale de Paléographie)
    The Codicology of Italian Renaissance Manuscripts: Twenty Years After
    Published:   Manuscripta 50 (2006): 223–40


  • Paul Needham (Scheide Librarian, Princeton University)
    Printing Comes to Europe: 1450–1475


  • Lucy Freeman Sandler (New York University)
    The Role of Illustrations in Medieval Encyclopedias
  • Jonathan J.G. Alexander (Institute of Fine Arts, New York University)
    Portraiture in Italian Renaissance Manuscripts


  • Consuelo W. Dutschke (Columbia University)
    Goals and Some Realities in Late (and Later) Choir Books


  • Richard H. Rouse (University of California, Los Angeles)
    Commercial Manuscript Producers in Paris and their Clients


Department of Special Collections, Pius XII Memorial Library, Saint Louis University  3650 Lindell Boulevard, St. Louis, MO  63108