Author: Elma Brenner

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Elma Brenner

Elma Brenner

Dr Elma Brenner is the Wellcome Library’s subject specialist in medieval and early modern medicine. Her research examines the medical and religious culture of medieval France and England, especially the region of Normandy. She is also interested in the materiality of early books and manuscripts, and the digital humanities. For her publications, see She can be found on Twitter @elmabrenner.

  • Spotlight: A medieval encyclopaedia


    The Etymologies of Isidore, bishop of Seville, which he began to write in Latin before 620 AD, is one of the earliest Western encyclopaedias. After Isidore’s death in 636, his student Braulio, bishop of Zaragoza, edited the final text. Based… Continue reading

  • Spotlight: the story of a medieval chapel over time


    The Norwich artist John Sell Cotman (1782–1842) published numerous etchings of buildings in Norfolk, Yorkshire and also Normandy in France. The Library has a copy of one of his Normandy etchings, showing the chapel of Saint-Julien at Petit-Quevilly near Rouen.… Continue reading

  • Digitising the Library’s Medieval Manuscripts


    This month the Wellcome Library will begin digitising its entire collection of pre-1500 Western European manuscripts. The digitised manuscripts, about 300 items in total, will be freely accessible through the Library catalogue and will become available steadily through the course… Continue reading

  • Spotlight: Hospital Art from Late Medieval Florence


    The Library’s Western MS.275 is a remarkable volume. Produced in Florence, it contains inventories in Italian of the possessions of the hospital of San Giovanni Battista Decollato from 1387 to the mid-fifteenth century. The text is bound in wooden boards… Continue reading

  • A revealing book: cultural exchanges in 16th century India


    The Library holds a rare copy of one of the earliest books printed in India. The Colóquios dos simples is remarkable both as an example of the emergence of printing in India, and for its descriptions of over eighty Indian… Continue reading

  • The enigma of the medieval almanac


    A remarkable fifteenth-century folding almanac in a green and pink silk binding was recently acquired by the Wellcome Library. It stands out because of its exquisite textile binding, and the high artistic standard of its illustrative features, particularly the Zodiac… Continue reading

  • Friends reunited: an incunabulum split between London and Glasgow


    Among its substantial collection of incunabula (books printed before the year 1501), the Wellcome Library holds six copies of Hortus sanitatis (Garden of Health), a richly illustrated botanical compendium in Latin, based on the German Gart der Gesundheit. The work… Continue reading