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T h e  V i r t u a l  A b b e y : A  M e d i e v a l  T o u r
Abbey Entrance | Herb Garden | Scriptorium | Wine Cellar

Anthropomorphic Initial Hard Point Pen
Antiphonal Herbal Pigment
Bestiary Historiated Initial Pounce
Boards Hymnal Pricking
Books of Hours Illuminator Psalter
Breviary Initial Purple Pages
Carolingian Ink Rubricator
Colophon Insular Ruling
Diaper Knife Saints' Lives
Divine Office Lead Point Scribe
Drollery Marginalia Script
Evangelistic Portraits Miniature Scriptorium
Exemplar Mise-en-Page Underdrawing
Foliate Initial Oak Gall Vellum
Gesso Outline Drawing Vernacular
Gilding Palimpset Zoomorphic
Gloss Parchment  

Diaper - Fr. diapré or ‘variegate,’ a geometric pattern used as a frame or background.

Divine Office - the strict call to prayer wherein psalms and scriptural readings were recited at different hours of the day. Although hymns and celebrations of saints' feast days were later thrown into the mix, the basic framework for the Divine Office continued unchanged for centuries, i.e., matins - 2:30 am; lauds - 5:30 am; prime - 6:30 am; terce - 9:00 am; sext - 12 noon; none - 3 pm; vespers - 4:30 pm; compline - 6:30. drollery

Drollery - amusing, often grotesque characters hidden away either in letter forms or separately in the margins.

Evangelistic Portraits - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John had scripted the Gospels and therefore were close to the hearts of medieval monastic scribes. The saints' traditional symbols usually accompany their portraits - Matthew by a man, Mark by a lion, Luke by a bull and John by an eagle.

Exemplar - a masterwork from which another is created. Scriptoriums acquired their own editions of popular histories or liturgical works by simply copying them from another monastery's holdings. foliate initial

Foliate Initial - a decorated Initial incorporating floral designs in the letter form or surroundings.

Gesso - water based paint made from chalk or plaster of paris, thickened with glue and applied as surface preparation or 'ground' for Gilding. Also see Pigment.

Gilding - the application of gold or silver in Miniatures or Initials, and more likely seen in the work of later Middle Ages' commercial manuscripts. While gold was laid flat in monastic manuscripts and left to a dull finish, Gesso in Paris shops was first liberally applied on areas before gilding, then built up and overlaid with gold in the form of gold leaf and burnished to a jewel-like sparkle. In common practice, gold leaf was usually applied first before any other decoration, to avoid damaging painted areas during the burnishing process.

Gloss - a word, or entire paragraphs that comment on the main text, commonly seen in period Bibles. At times the gloss may dwarf the actual passages being interpreted.

Hard Point - a stylus made of metal or bone used for Ruling, leaving lightly scored lines on the parchment that guided the scribe's hand in laying text down in straight lines across the page. Sometimes used to inscribe the outlines of a drawing. Also see Lead Point.Visit the Bodleian Library

Herbal - an often heavily illustrated reference book of plants with their medicinal properties, based on ancient Greek and Roman botanical texts.

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