The Saint John’s Bible: A Lifetime’s  Dream

The Saint John’s Bible: A Lifetime’s Dream

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World-renowned artist and calligrapher Donald Jackson, Artistic Director of the St.John’s Bible, shares his personal insights and experience

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Donald Jackson is a preeminent artist and calligrapher. As Senior Illuminator to the Crown Office of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for 50 years, he was responsible for the creation of Historic Royal documents including Letters Patent under The Great Seal and Royal Charters. In 1985, he was decorated by the Queen with the Medal of The Royal Victorian Order (MVO) which is awarded for personal services to the Sovereign. In 2016 he was awarded a Papal Knighthood by Pope Francis for his contribution to Sacred art. From 1998 till its completion in May 2011 Donald Jackson was the Artistic Director and principal illuminator of The Saint John’s Bible. From his scriptorium in Wales, he oversaw scribes, artists and craftsmen who worked with him handwriting and illuminating the seven-volume, 1,150-page book on vellum.

He is past Chairman of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators, and of the Worshipful Company of Scriveners of the city of London. His personally innovative work and inspirational teaching led to the founding of major calligraphy groups across the United States. In 1981 he co-founded an ongoing series of annual international calligraphy conferences. His books, documentaries and exhibitions in Europe, North America, Puerto Rico, Australia and China have led to his being widely acknowledged as a seminal influence on the growth of Western calligraphy over the past 50 years.

In the Fall of 1995 Donald Jackson spoke of his lifetime’s dream of creating a handwritten and illuminated Bible to Fr Eric Hollas, OSB of St John’s University, Collegeville Minnesota. In 1998 work began on the vellum pages. After more than 13 years and the work of many minds, hands and hearts, Donald Jackson inscribed the final words from The Book of Revelation in 2013. He will talk about the traditional techniques of the scribe and tell stories about the journey from ‘In the Beginning’, to the final ‘Amen’” in what is arguably one of the most beautiful handwritten, illuminated Bible ever created.

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