The Anglo-Saxon’s are best known for their conquest skills. Their abilities in battle and their conquest of Britain have cemented their place in history. However, while skilled warriors they were also exquisite craftsmen; their art influencing much of Europe. With their long reign, over six hundred years, stretching from 410 to 1066, they were able to create an abundance of unique and sophisticated artwork. Their collections range from metal work, jewelry, religious artifacts and manuscripts, each piece receiving dedication to detail.
The metal work of the Anglo-Saxons was some of the most renowned work during its time. It was a combination of influences, such as their Germanic heritage, Late Antique techniques and Celtic motifs. The designs themselves were intricate in nature, created from metal and jewels or stones; one could spend hours poring over their beauty.
Popular motifs in their art were animals. While lovely, these animal motifs served the purpose of telling stories, holding symbolic meaning and continued well into the later period. Examples of the craftsmanship such as these can be found in the burial mounds like Sutton Hoo, where artifacts are preserved and are able to give us better insight to the people as a whole.
Another wildly popular, as well as influential artistic expression, were their Illuminated Manuscripts. In these texts, the Anglo-Saxons too applied the same devotion to detail. A signature of theirs that can be seen in many of their scripts was the use of animated lines, the historical initials and their ability to use color.
An initial at the beginning of a script meant to tell a narrative of the texts that would follow. Smooth intricate motifs are drawn out in either historical initials or more often covering full first pages of texts. Examples of these can be found in the Lindisfarne Gospels, where pages upon pages are devoted to creating complex imagery meant to pay homage to the text that follows.
The Anglo-Saxons were a group of individuals that had many talents that influenced a great deal of people. Their art, both inspiring and breathtaking, managed to captivate and thrive in the cultures around them, even long after their conquest by the Norms.