pounds 2m for copying Bible by hand pounds 2m job is last word in Bibles

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The Independent Online
TIME WAS when an occasional jug of mead was enough for the medieval monks who toiled away transcribing the Bible in illuminated script.

Today the asking price leaves little change from pounds 2m, the size of the research grant won by the Queen's calligrapher, who has been commissioned by an American university to demonstrate the monks' methods.

Donald Jackson, 61, is more commonly employed writing official decrees that need Her Majesty's seal. Now he faces a six-year stint with a goose quill pen transcribing on to fine calfskin leather the 1,150 pages of the Bible with a team of other calligraphers in his scriptorium at Monmouth, south Wales.

It is a commission worth $3m (pounds 2m) from St John's University, a Benedictine school in Collegeville, Minnesota.

The English text will fill seven volumes - decorated with gold leaf, elaborate letters and illustrations of Bible stories.

Mr Jackson has designed a new style of lettering for the work. But he will rely on computers to design pages and decide how much script will fit.

Mr Jackson said: "It's a big job but I won't be doing it alone. I must thank the staff of St John's for their moral support - doubt is a recurring theme of all this".