Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition attracts over 50,000 visitors to Laing Art Gallery

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More than 55,000 visits were made to the Laing Art Gallery during the 11-week run of The Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition.

In total there were 56,663 visits to the Newcastle gallery and 23% were first-time vistors.

The exhibition celebrated the most spectacular surviving manuscript from early medieval Britain.

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This was the first time the venerated book, on loan from the British Library, had been on display in Newcastle since 2000.

The Lindisfarne Gospels. Image: British LibraryThe Lindisfarne Gospels. Image: British Library
The Lindisfarne Gospels. Image: British Library

The exhibition explored the meaning of the Lindisfarne Gospels in a 21st century context, and explored its relationship with themes of personal, regional, and national identity.

Alongside the Laing exhibition, a programme provided primary and secondary school students with a greater understanding of the Lindisfarne Gospels manuscript; covering Anglo Saxons, art and heritage, and local history.

A year-long series of cultural events inspired by the display of the Lindisfarne Gospels was also held, including the Illuminated Sheep, a visual arts trail which lit up the region.

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Julie Milne, chief curator of art galleries, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said: “The response to the exhibition has been fantastic and it has been wonderful to have the Laing buzzing with visitors and activity.

The Ferguson family behind the Ad Gefrin visitor centre and distillery in Wooler.The Ferguson family behind the Ad Gefrin visitor centre and distillery in Wooler.
The Ferguson family behind the Ad Gefrin visitor centre and distillery in Wooler.

"It was always an ambition of the programme that we give as many people of all ages and backgrounds as possible the opportunity to interact with this rare, precious artefact, which is such an important part of our region’s history and heritage.

"We’re very grateful for the support from the British Library to host the Lindisfarne Gospels and to all our funders and partners – it was wonderful to exhibit it in the North East where it was created 1300 years ago.”

The exhibition was sponsored by Ad Gefrin visitor experience and distillery, which will open in Wooler in spring 2023 and bring to life the hidden history of the 7th century Anglo-Saxon royal summer palace of the Northumbrian Kings and Queens discovered at Yeavering.

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Dr Chris Ferguson, director of experience at Ad Gefrin, said: “The Lindisfarne Gospels are a lasting legacy of the creativity and artworks from a time when north Northumberland was at the centre of European culture.

"A period that the Ad Gefrin Anglo-Saxon Museum will bring to life through the lives of those that populated it, in a permanent celebration of Northumbria’s Golden Age and the royal palace of Yeavering.”