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Leaves of Gold: Treasures of Manuscript Illumination from Philadelphia Collections

March 10–May 13, 2001

Hidden in the collections of Philadelphia libraries is an unexpected treasure—a rich trove of more than 7,000 medieval and Renaissance miniature paintings showing religious scenes, classical tales, historical events, and medieval romances. Many have never been on public display, or even studied by scholars.

The Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art and other exhibition partners, surveyed the holdings in area libraries and museums. More than eighty of the choicest objects were exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art March 10–May 13, 2001 and at the Frist Gallery for the Visual Arts (Nashville TN) from September 27, 2001–January 6, 2002.

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Exhibition Partners

The Free Library of PhiladelphiaRare Book DepartmentBryn Mawr College Library
Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia
The Library Company of Philadelphia
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia
Swarthmore College LibraryTemple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Rare Books and Manuscripts CollectionUniversity of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript LibraryThe Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, Krauth Memorial Library
Glencairn Museum, Academy of the New Church, Bryn Athyn


Presented in this catalogue are eighty illuminated manuscripts and individual leaves and cuttings from manuscripts in Philadelphia's public collections. Important manuscript centers of medieval and Renaissance Europe are represented, as is almost every known type of early illuminated book: Bibles, Psalters, Books of Hours, a wide variety of liturgical manuscripts, and many types of literary and secular texts.


  • Philadelphia Museum of Art March 10–May 13, 2001
  • Frist Gallery for the Visual Arts (Nashville TN) from September 27, 2001–January 6, 2002

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