The Crown of Light installation at Durham Cathedral, during the 2013 Lumiere Durham festival
© Stuart Forster/Alam
Light the night. The perfect canvas for an ancient text
Since 2009, the city of Durham has served as the backdrop for the biennial Lumiere Durham festival. During four days in November, works of 'son et lumière' (French for sound and light) create new ways of seeing public spaces and buildings. Artists from around the world design large-scale light shows complete with sound effects here in the north east of England. It's become the UK's largest light festival and Lumiere Durham's 10th anniversary, which begins today, promises to attract more than 200,000 people to enjoy the illuminated artworks along cobbled streets.
This image from the 2013 festival shows Crown of Light, a projection of an ancient Christian manuscript called the Lindisfarne Gospels onto the outside of Durham Cathedral. The original manuscript, considered one of the world's oldest and finest examples of medieval European book paintings, was brought to the Durham area in the 9th Century by monks who had fled their monastery in Lindisfarne, off the coast of Northumberland, to avoid Viking raids. The Lindisfarne Gospels was already considered to be an illuminated manuscript because the book is painted in gold and silver with miniature illustrations and ornate border art. But at the festival, the term got a new meaning as the illuminated manuscript lit up the famous cathedral, for thousands of spectators to see.