Art of the Islands: Celtic, Pictish, Anglo-Saxon and Viking Visual Culture, circa 450-1050
Michelle P Brown
Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
234pp, 122 colour illustrations
Paperback, £25 ($45)

Ravishing images of inlaid goldwork, jewel-bright illuminated manuscripts and intricately carved stone and wood conjure up worlds inhabited by fine craftsmen, rich patrons and endlessly creative imaginations, served up as a visual feast.

Formerly the Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts at the Britsh Library and now Professor Emerita of Medieval Manuscript Studies at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, Michelle P Brown is well qualified to preside over this artistic smörgåsbord. In her scholarly yet accessible text she provides us with an overview of the early art of Britain and Ireland.

Professor Brown interprets the imagery of a selection of stunning objects, Celtic, Pictish, Anglo-Saxon and Viking, pointing out their distinctive styles and putting them into their historical, artistic, archaeological and literary contexts. She also traces the influence of these early designs on later styles and movements, from the Carolingian renaissance and the Romanesque to Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau in the 20th century.
Lindsay Fulcher