skip to content


A new exhibition at Cambridge University Library transforms medieval manuscripts into a colourful display of tapestries. Woven Manuscripts by art historian and weaver, Kate Rudy, brings colour and texture to the Entrance Hall of the Library, with inspiration for each artwork sparked off by items from the Library’s Special Collections.

Amongst the interpretive works is ‘Don’t let go of my waffle’, a piece that invites the public to touch and play with the tapestry so that it darkens in a way similar to the wearing of well-used manuscripts. Following the exhibition, Rudy will measure the levels of discolouration to determine the textures that were found to be most enticing; an extension of the art historian’s ‘Dirty Books’ project which measured the darkness of the fingerprints in medieval books of hours.

There are a total of 10 pieces in the Woven Manuscripts installation. Each piece references the unique qualities and histories behind manuscripts with their intricate use of design, colour and symbolism. From Books of Hours to incantations, grids and dirty fingerprints, Kate has found unusual and distinct sources to inspire her tapestries.

Kate Rudy: ‘Weaving is my reward for tackling essay marking. Instead of treating myself to a biscuit for every 15,000 words read, I decided to substitute the cookie jar for wool and silk. Now I have an office full of colourful cones of inspiring materials’.

Marjolein Allen, Head of Reader Services: ‘We’re pleased to welcome to the main University Library the work of an artist and art historian whose profound knowledge of medieval manuscripts inspires her love for weaving’.

For further information, you can view the full Woven Manuscripts artist’s statement here and read the latest Special Collections blog post.

Woven Manuscripts is on display until 22 December 2017, and is free and open to all.