The former Gazette reporter whose calligraphy workshops are inspired by the Lindisfarne Gospels

An artist is celebrating the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the region by creating an exhibition of calligraphy inspired by the 1,300-year old manuscript.

A former reporter with the Shields Gazette, Angela Reed is working with two calligraphy groups, producing artwork to tour South Shields and Sunderland next year.

The gospels are believed to be the work of Eadfrith, a monk who became Bishop of Lindisfarne in 698 and died in 721. The Anglo-Saxon manuscript is presumed to have been produced in honour of St Cuthbert and is set to be displayed at Newcastle’s Laing Gallery until December 3.

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An Arts Council England (ACE) National Lottery Project Grant has funded Angela’s project, with the exhibition expected to go on tour from spring 2022 and run through to the summer, although details are yet to be finalised.

Angela Reed and an example of her work.
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Angela wants to share her groups’ work with as many people as possible and inspire others to try the art form.

The dictionary defines calligraphy simply as “beautiful handwriting” and the word is derived from the Greek “kallos”, meaning “beauty”, and “graphein”, meaning “to write. But there is a great deal more to it than that.

Eadfrith was highly trained at a time when most people couldn’t even read. He produced the gospels in a style known as majiscule.

This beautifully crafted family tree is an example of what calligraphy can do.

Today, calligraphy is a visual art with different categories, including lettering and creative typography. The differences between the styles are not widely known, even among artists. It can also be used commercially.

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Angela’s work includes a range of commissions, such as readings, invitations, poems, letters, family trees and lettering on wooden boards and mirrors.

She lives in South Shields, but was taught at Red House Comprehensive, in Sunderland, where her love of the artform was sparked by one particular teacher.

Angela said: “I was introduced to calligraphy by my art teacher at school, Mr Wincop. I enjoyed it and returned to it many years later.

Angela Reed has been inspired by the temporary return to the North East of the Lindisfarne Gospels.
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“When you think of calligraphy, documents such as the Lindisfarne Gospels spring to mind and I thought they would be perfect for inspiring a project with my two weekly classes.

“Our ‘Inspired by Lindisfarne’ project kicks off this month with two bookbinding workshops led by bookbinding and paper artist Yvette Ja, followed by a trip to the Laing to see the Gospels themselves.

“The groups will then work with artist and printmaker Carrie Dennison, who will show them how to create Celtic knotwork that can be incorporated into their calligraphy.

“The rest of the term will be spent creating pieces of work for display in the new year at The Customs House in South Shields, 17Nineteen in Sunderland and South Shields Museum & Art Gallery.”

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Calligrapher and former Gazette reporter Angela Reed.

Classes are held on Thursdays and Fridays at Mortimer Community Centre, Reading Road, South Shields, between 10am and 12pm.

Angela also leads other calligraphy classes and workshops in Durham, Whitley Bay, Newcastle and Sedgefield.She added: “The gospels are a work of art as well as a unique piece of regional history and I am interested to see how my groups respond to seeing the manuscript, and the workshops led by Yvette and Carrie.”

Visit for more information.

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Artist Yvette Ja, seated, leads one of Angela’s class in a bookbinding workshop.