Helmarshausen Abbey - Scriptorium and Goldsmith's Workshop

Scriptorium and Goldsmith's Workshop

The abbey is of particular significance as the home of an especially skilled scriptorium and goldsmith's workshop, producing illuminated books and manuscripts, liturgical and ornamental pieces in gold for church use, and jewellery. This was set up by Roger of Helmarshausen, a highly skilled goldsmith and artist-monk, who moved to Helmarshausen from Stavelot Abbey in 1107. He is sometimes considered to be the author of the medieval treatise on art and crafts, De Diversis Artibus.

The scriptorium at Helmarshausen Abbey also produced the Gospels of Henry the Lion, an illuminated manuscript of the four gospels (or gospel book) written between about 1176 and 1188 by the monk Herimann (mentioned by name in the dedication), commissioned by Duke Henry the Lion for Brunswick Cathedral. The volume was sold at auction on 6 December 1983 at Sotheby's in London for £8,140,000, which made it the most expensive book in the world until the sale of the Codex Hammer in 1994.

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