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an illuminated Initial containing
a figure, a group of figures or a narrative scene that relates
to the text. Also called figured initial.
- a book containing hymns performed for the Divine
Office and arranged according to saint's feast days and the
liturgical calendar; sometimes incorporated into a Psalter
- an artist who embellishes manuscripts with vibrant
color. In the early medieval monasteries, the illuminator could
also be the Scribe - a monk
or nun with a sure hand and skilled in mixing Pigment.
a letter that begins a major division in a text. These can range
from the major decorated initials, constituting miniature paintings
that often opened a manuscript, to the minor initials penned in
red ink by the Rubricator
to highlight text and chapter headings. Also see Anthropomorphic,
and Zoomorphic Initials.
- an improvement over the ancient world's use of water-soluble,
carbon ink was the medieval mix of pulverized Oak
Gall, copperas and gum Arabic. The ingredients yielded a much
more permanent, though if mixed improperly, highly acidic ink.
One old recipe gives advice on the proper proportions:
quarte of water two ounces of right gumme Arabick, five ounces
of galles, and three of coperas. Let it stand in the warme sunne,
and so it will the sooner prove good inke."
were common, and evident in many old manuscripts slowly eaten
through by medieval ink, from Lt., encaustum, or "burnt
manuscript style originating in 6th century
Scotland and Northumbria, traveling southward
across England and
to Ireland. Typified by clearly spaced lettering with a minimum
of flourish, offset by extremely intricate knotted and interlaced
design. Examples include the Lindisfarne Gospels and Ireland's
Book of Kells:
- a tool possibly of equal importance to the Pen
and used to 1. steady the page; 2. as an eraser to scrape a mistake
or offending mark from the parchment; or 3. to cut and recut the
nib of the quill (ergo, a penknife) thereby maintaining a sharp
point as the work continued. Self-portraits of scribes sometimes
show them holding a knife in the left hand and a pen in the other.
Point - a plummet
or piece of lead alloy used much like a
pencil to sketch in initials before inking. Lead point was also
used for underdrawings, or for Ruling
pages. Instructions in lead point that instruct the scribe on
the placement of text and illustrations can still be found in
many old manuscripts.
- Lt. "things in the margin," describing the
wealth of detail that can be found in manuscripts apart from the
main text. This might include anything from instructions to the
scribe (see Lead Point, above) to the often ornate Gloss
that helped to interpret religious and scholarly texts.
- a stand-alone painting, inserted into the composition
of a manuscript, separate and apart from the decorated Initial
or highly ornate borders. A term which refers not to the painting's
size but to the Latin minium, or red, the bright color
favored in early medieval manuscripts.