The Golden Gospels of Henry VIII

This thousand-year-old manuscript was created by about sixteen scribes in a Benedictine abbey in Trier (in what is now Germany). They used gold ink to copy the text of the Gospels onto parchment that had been dyed with a plant-based purple pigment, creating a luxury object that was likely an imperial gift. Though it was made in the tenth century, the manuscript has come to be known as the Golden Gospels of Henry VIII because the English monarch owned it some five centuries later. Morgan acquired it in 1900 as part of an en bloc purchase of more than three thousand books and manuscripts from the American manufacturer and financier Theodore Irwin.

Gospel Book, in Latin
Trier, ca. 980
Written and decorated in the Benedictine Abbey of St. Maximin
Purple parchment surface-dyed with orchil, gold letters
The Morgan Library & Museum, MS M.23
Purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan with the Irwin Collection, 1900