Stefan Andreas Drechsler, Making manuscripts at Helgafell in the fourteenth century, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2017 (Université d’Aberdeen)
This thesis examines a cultural revolution that took place in the Icelandic artistic landscape during the medieval period. Within just one generation (c. 1350–1400), the house of canons regular of Helgafell rose to become the most important centre of illuminated manuscript production in western Iceland. This study delivers a comprehensive and critical multidisciplinary study that combines methodologies and sources from the fields of Art History, Old Norse-Icelandic Manuscript Studies and Medieval Nordic History. It maps important changes in the art historical market, as well as major movements of ideas between three distinct manuscript cultures: from Helgafell in Iceland, Norwich and surrounding East Anglia in England, and the region between Bergen and Trondheim in Western Norway. By conducting cross-disciplinary research, the philological and historical data, combined with a sound social network analysis methodology, this study presents a comprehensive approach that respects both the historical setting of the illuminated manuscript production and the products themselves. It thereby contributes to a new and multidisciplinary area of research that studies not only one but several western European cultures in relation to similar domestic artistic monuments and relevant historical evidence. By using the interdisciplinary approach outlined above, it offers a detailed perspective of one cultural site – Helgafell – in particular in regard to its artistic connections to other ecclesiastical and secular scriptoria in the broader North Atlantic region.