Research Summary and Profile
- Research interests:
- History of art, History of the book, Manuscript studies, Medieval History
- England, Europe, North America, United Kingdom
- Summary of research interests and expertise:
I am interested in the art and architecture of the High Middle Ages and its reception in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. My research concentrates on medieval manuscripts, encompassing their production, circulation, and reception. In 2019-2024 I will be leading an ERC funded project (CULTIVATE MSS) to assess the significance of the trade in medieval manuscripts for the development of ideas about the nature and value of European culture in the early twentieth century.
- Publication Details
Date Details 01-Jun-2023 Illuminating On the Sphere
Laura Cleaver and Sarah Griffin, 'Illuminating On the Sphere', in G. E. M. Gasper et al. ed., The Scientific Works of Robert Grosseteste Vol. II (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023), pp. 331-361.
01-Mar-2023 George D. Smith (1870-1920), Bernard Alfred Quaritch (1871-1913) and the Trade in Medieval European Manuscripts in the USA c. 1890-1920
Manuscript Studies, 8.1 (2023)
12-Aug-2022 The Trade in Rare Books and Manuscripts between Britain and America c. 1890-1929
Co-authored book with Danielle Magnusson, published by Cambridge University Press
01-Jun-2022 The dukes of Normandy in Eton College ms. 96 and the reception of Norman history in thirteenth-century England
in F. Paquet and S. Lecouteux ed., Maitriser le temps et faconner l'histoire (Presses universitaires de Caen), pp. 163-182.
01-May-2022 Lost Artefacts from Medieval England and France: Representation, Reimagination, Recovery
Edited with Kathryn Gerry, published by York Medieval Press
01-May-2022 Fire! Accounts of Destruction and Survival at Canterbury and Bury St Edmunds in the Late Twelfth Century
In K. Gerry and L. Cleaver ed, Lost Artefacts from Medieval England and France
01-May-2022 History Books at Worcester, c.1050-1150, and the Making of the Worcester Chronicle
In F. Tinti and D. A. Woodman ed., Constucting History across the Norman Conquest: Worcester, c.1050-c.1150, York Medieval Press
02-Feb-2022 ‘A most studious man, a researcher and collector of sacred and profane books’: Robert of Torigni and the Making of the Mont-Saint-Michel Chronicle (Avranches Bibliothèque Municipale MS 159)
In D. O'Donovan, N. NicGhabhann ed., Mapping New Territories in Art and Architectural Histories: Essays in honour of Roger Stalley
01-Dec-2021 The Purchase of the Life of St. Cuthbert for the Nation: Art, History and Politics (c. 1903-1920)
Co-authored with Olivia Baskerville, in Le livre enluminé médiéval: instrument politique ed. V. Lucherini and C. Voyer
01-Oct-2021 William Morris’ Medieval Manuscript Collection and the Trade in Illuminated Manuscripts c. 1891-1914
Histoire et civilisation du livre, XVII, pp. 185-213
01-Jul-2021 An Open and Shut Case? Images of Books on Facades of Twelfth-Century French Churches
in J. Luxford ed., The Medieval Book as Object, Idea and Symbol (Shaun Tyas), pp. 143-57
31-Dec-2020 Marginal Imagery in Ralph de Diceto's History
Visualisieren - Orden - Aktualisieren, ed. W. Augustyn and A. Worm (Passau, 2020), pp. 217-236
01-Dec-2020 Ralph of Diceto's Opuscula and the Making of History at the End of the Twelfth Century
France et Angleterre: manuscrits medievaux entre 700 et 1200, Bibliologia 57
26-May-2020 The Place of the Papacy in Four Illuminated Histories from Thirteenth-Century England
in Authority and Power in the Medieval Church, c. 1000-c. 1500 ed. T. W. Smith
23-May-2020 Illuminating the Middle Ages: Tributes to Prof. John Lowden from his Students, Friends and Colleagues
Brill (History of the Written Word 79)
01-Apr-2020 The Sauce of the Middle Ages: How Worcestershire sauce changed the way we look at medieval manuscripts.
25-Jan-2020 Charles William Dyson Perrins as a Collector of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts c. 1900-1920
Perspectives médiévales [En ligne], 41 | 2020
01-Jun-2019 The Septenarium Pictum or Rota Dominice Orationis Diagram: Combating vice through prayer in the High Middle Ages
with Andrea Worm, in Ordinare il mondo: diagrammi e simboli nelle pergamene di Vercelli, ed. T. Leonardi & M. Rainini
27-Jun-2018 Illuminated History Books in the Anglo-Norman World, 1066-1272
01-Jun-2018 Writing History in the Anglo-Norman World: Manuscripts, Makers and Readers, c. 1066-1250
01-Jan-2018 The Western Manuscript Collection of Alfred Chester Beatty (c. 1915-1930)
L. Cleaver, ‘The Western Manuscript Collection of Alfred Chester Beatty (c. 1915-1930)’, Manuscript Studies 2 (2017) pp. 445-82.
01-Jan-2017 The Monastic Library at Le Bec
L. Cleaver, ‘The Monastic Library at Le Bec’, A Companion to the Abbey of Le Bec in the Middle Ages, ed. B. Pohl and L. Gathagan (Leiden, 2017) pp. 171-205.
01-Feb-2016 Education in Twelfth-Century Art and Architecture: Images of Learning in Europe c. 1100-1220
01-Jan-2016 History Books at Reading in the Twelfth Century
L. Cleaver, ‘History Books at Reading in the Twelfth Century’, Reading Medieval Studies 42 (2016) pp. 25-44
01-Mar-2015 Latin Psalter Manuscripts in Trinity College Dublin and the Chester Beatty Library
01-Jan-2014 “Almost every miracle is open to carping”: Doubts, Relics, Reliquaries and Images of Saints in the Long 12th Century
L. Cleaver, ‘“Almost every miracle is open to carping”: Doubts, Relics, Reliquaries and Images of Saints in the Long 12th Century’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association 167 (2014) pp. 51-69.
01-Jan-2013 Past, Present and Future for Thirteenth-Century Wales: Two Diagrams in British Library, Cotton Roll XIV.12
electronic British Library Journal
Publications available on SAS-space:
Date Details Jan-2020 Charles William Dyson Perrins as a Collector of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts c. 1900-1920
The manuscript collection of Charles Dyson Perrins is well known among scholars, in large part due to the publication of an imposing and detailed catalogue by George Warner in 1920. Perrins has become associated with spending large sums of money on manuscripts and the account of his purchase of the Gorleston Psalter following a visit to a bookshop in search of something to read on the train is a legend of the trade. The first sale of his manuscripts after his death in 1958 achieved a record total. However, like most early twentieth-century collectors, Perrins’ catalogue only contains a selection of the manuscripts that passed through his hands. Reconstructing the larger collection therefore sheds light on the choices made in creating and publishing parts of his manuscript collection. Perrins began collecting manuscripts as an extension of his interest in early printed books and maintained a strong interest in late medieval and renaissance manuscripts. The influence of a small group of collectors and scholars, and in particular Sydney Cockerell, helped shape Perrins’ manuscript collection and publicise it through its use as the basis for the Burlington Fine Arts Club exhibition of illuminated manuscripts in 1908 and the creation of monographs on particular volumes as well as the 1920 catalogue. In contrast, only part of the printed collection ever received a published catalogue. Cockerell may also have been involved in Perrins’ decision to sell some of his manuscripts, anonymously, in 1907. These decisions have had significant consequences for the long-term ownership of and scholarship on these manuscripts, and provide a case study of the impact of early twentieth-century collectors on the development of the study of medieval books.
Oct-2021 William Morris' Medieval Manuscript Collection and the Trade in Illuminated Manuscripts c. 1891-1914
Sep-2022 The Trade in Rare Books and Manuscripts Between Britain and America c. 1890-1929: Constructing Cultural Histories
This Element examines the trade in rare books and manuscripts between Britain and America during a period known as the “Golden Age” of collecting. Through analysis of contemporary press reports, personal correspondence, trade publications and sales records, this study contrasts American and British perspectives as rare books passed through the commercial market. The aim is to compare the rhetoric and reality of the book trade in order to assess its impact on emerging cultural institutions, contemporary scholarship and shifting notions of national identity. By analysing how markets emerged, dealers functioned and buyers navigated the market, this Element interrogates accepted narratives about the ways in which major rare book and manuscript collections were formed and how they were valued by contemporaries.
Nov-2021 The Purchase of the Life of St Cuthbert for the Nation: Art, History and Politics c. 1903-1920
This essay examines the circumstances in with a twelfth-century illuminated manuscript containing an account of the Life of St Cuthbert was acquired by the British Museum.
Mar-2023 George D. Smith (1870-1920), Bernard Alfred Quaritch (1871-1913) and the Trade in Medieval European Manuscripts in the USA c. 1890-1920
The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw significant growth in the trade in medieval manuscripts in North America and the creation of well-known libraries including the Huntington, Morgan and Walters collections. The men who gave their names to those institutions loom large in the history of collecting, but their libraries would not have been possible without the networks of booksellers who supplied them. The latter included the American George D. Smith and the Briton Bernard Alfred Quaritch. Both men have received some attention from scholars, although much of what is known about them has been based on sources created by those involved in the trade. This essay compares the lives of these two men to examine their actions, motivations and the consequences of these for the movement of medieval manuscripts and the development of collections in the USA.
- Research Projects & Supervisions
CULTIVATE MSS - Cultural values and the International trade in Medieval European Manuscripts 1900-1945 Institute of English Studies
Project period: 01-May-2019 - 30-Apr-2024
Research interests: Literatures in a modern language, Medieval History, Modern History
The Medieval Diagram as Subject Institute of English Studies
Project period: 12-Apr-2022 - 19-May-2022
Research interests: Manuscript studies, Medieval History
The CULTIVATE MSS project (2019-2024), funded by the European Research Council, aims to analyse the significance of the trade in medieval manuscripts for the development of ideas about the nature and value of European culture between 1900 and 1945. It will assess the roles of collectors, scholars and dealers in the formation of collections of medieval manuscripts, and the impact of this on scholarship, comparing the English-speaking world, France and Germany. Through analysis of published and unpublished accounts of manuscripts, together with price data, it will reconstruct the values projected onto books. It will then contextualise these values within the history of the early twentieth century, assessing the impact of two world wars and other political and economic shifts on the trade in books and attitudes to manuscripts as objects of national significance.
Current PhD topics supervised:
Dates Details From: 03-Jan-2018
Moguls Collecting Mughals
The Role of Clubs and Societies in the Formation of Medieval Manuscript Collections, c. 1900-1945
The CULTIVATE MSS project (2019-24) analyses the significance of the trade in medieval manuscripts for the development of ideas about the nature and value of European culture between 1900 and 1945. It examines the roles of collectors, scholars and dealers in the formation of collections of medieval manuscripts, and the impact of these people on the development of scholarship. Within the framework of the overall project, this PhD researcher will study the impact of clubs and societies on the development of collections of medieval manuscripts and the transmission of knowledge about them. Through an analysis of published and unpublished sources the research will address the role of clubs and societies in creating and maintaining social networks, and the impact of these on the acquisition of manuscripts and the creation of scholarship about them. Subjects studied may include, but are not limited to: The Roxburghe Club, The Grolier Club, the Burlington Fine Arts Club, and the Red Cross.
Women and the Manuscript Trade in Britain and the USA, c. 1900-1945
The CULTIVATE MSS project (2019-24) analyses the significance of the trade in medieval manuscripts for the development of ideas about the nature and value of European culture between 1900 and 1945. It examines the roles of collectors, scholars and dealers in the formation of collections of medieval manuscripts, and the impact of these people on the development of scholarship. Within the framework of the overall project, this PhD researcher will study the roles of women in the book trade in Britain and the USA (as collectors, librarians, and booksellers). Through an analysis of published and unpublished sources, the research will examine the hypothesis that women’s roles in the manuscript trade have been undervalued. It will study well-known and lesser-known women and contrast their activities with those of their male contemporaries. Subjects studied may include, but are not limited to: Belle Greene, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Edith Beatty, Elizabeth Thompson, and the Kingsford sisters.
Available for doctoral supervision: Yes
- Professional Affiliations
Name Activity Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts - Advisory Committee Member Series Editor: Writing History in the Middle Ages, York Medieval Press
Name Type Activity Start date End date The Ordered Universe Associate Member 06-Jan-2016 New Interpretations on the Angevin World Associate Member Research Network 01-Jan-2014 31-Dec-2017