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Title: Illuminated Manuscripts in Classical and Mediaeval Times - Their Art and their Technique
Author: Middleton, J. Henry
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. Page xxi to xxiv.

CHAPTER I. Page 1 to 10.


Survival of classical methods in mediaeval times; epigraphy and
palaeography; manuscripts on metal plates; lead rolls; tin rolls; gold
amulets; Petelia tablet; waxed tablets and diptychs; tablets shown on gems
and coins; tablets found in tombs; tablets from Pompeii; Consular diptychs;
many-leaved tablets; the form of the waxed tablets; whitened boards used by
the Greeks; late survival of tablets; "bidding the beads;" lists of members
of guilds; wooden book in Norway; ivory tablets and diptychs; inscribed
Anglo-Saxon lead tablet; "horn-books."

CHAPTER II. Page 11 to 30.


Two forms of manuscripts, the roll and the codex; Egyptian Books of the
Dead; Book of Ani; existing manuscripts on papyrus; the library of papyrus
rolls found at Herculaneum; Herodotus on manuscripts; use of parchment;
manuscripts on linen; inscribed potsherds or _ostraka_; manuscripts on
leaves of trees; Greek libraries; Roman libraries; a list of the public
libraries in Rome; Roman library fittings and decorations; recently
discovered library in Rome; authors' portraits; closed bookcases;
booksellers' quarter; cost of Roman books; slave scribes; librarii of Rome.
The technique of ancient manuscripts; parchment and vellum; palimpsests;
papyrus manuscripts; process of making papyrus paper; use of papyrus in
Greece and Rome; ancient papyrus manuscripts; the qualities of papyrus
paper; the form of papyrus rolls; the wooden roller; inscribed titles;
coloured inks; use of cedar oil; black carbon ink, its manufacture and
price; red inks and rubrics; purple ink; double inkstands; pens of reeds
and of metal; Egyptian scribes' palettes, pen-cases, and pens.

CHAPTER III. Page 31 to 44.


Use of minium; Egyptian miniatures; illuminations in Roman manuscripts;
Greek illuminations; two sources of knowledge about classical
illuminations; the Ambrosian _Iliad_; the Vatican Virgil; the style of its
miniatures; later copies of lost originals; picture of Orpheus in a twelfth
century _Psalter_; another _Psalter_ with copies of classical paintings;
the value of these copied miniatures.

CHAPTER IV. Page 45 to 61.


The very compound character of Byzantine art; love of splendour; _Gospels_
in purple and gold; monotony of the Byzantine style; hieratic rules; fifth
century manuscript of _Genesis_; the Dioscorides of the Princess Juliana;
the style of its miniatures; imitations of enamel designs; early picture of
the Crucifixion in the _Gospels_ of Rabula; the splendour of Byzantine
manuscripts of the _Gospels_; five chief pictures; illuminated "Canons";
Persian influence; the Altar-Textus used as a Pax; its magnificent gold
covers; the Durham Textus; Byzantine figure drawing, unreal but decorative;
Byzantine mosaics; the iconoclast schism, and the consequent decadence of
Byzantine art.

CHAPTER V. Page 62 to 79.


The age of Charles the Great; the school of Alcuin of York; the _Gospels_
of Alcuin; the _golden Gospels_ of Henry VIII.; the _Gospels_ of the scribe
Godesscalc; Persian influence; technical methods; the later Carolingian
manuscripts; continuance of the Northumbrian influence; beginning of
life-study; the _Gospels_ of Otho II.; period of decadence in the eleventh

CHAPTER VI. Page 80 to 97.


The Irish Church; Celtic goldsmiths; technical processes of the
metal-workers copied by illuminators of manuscripts; the _Book of Kells_,
its perfect workmanship and microscopic illuminations; copies of metal
spiral patterns; the "trumpet pattern;" Moslem influence; absence of gold
in the Irish manuscripts; the _Book of Durrow_; the monks of Iona; the
Celtic missionaries to Northumbria; the _Gospels_ of St Cuthbert; the
Viking pirates; the adventures of St Cuthbert's _Gospels_; the Anglo-Celtic
school; improved drawing and use of gold; Italian influence; the early
_Gospels_ in the Corpus library; the _Gospels_ of MacDurnan; the _Book of
Deer_; the _Gospels_ of St Chad; the Celtic school on the Continent; the
_Psalter_ of St Augustine; Scandinavian art; the _golden Gospels_ of
Stockholm and its adventures; the struggle between the Celtic and the Roman
Church; the Synod of Whitby; the Roman victory, and the growth of Italian
influence; the school of Baeda at Durham.

CHAPTER VII. Page 98 to 105.


The Danish invasions; revival of art under king Alfred; the _Benedictional_
of Aethelwold; signs of Carolingian influence; the Winchester school; St
Dunstan as an illuminator; Anglo-Saxon drawings in coloured ink; Roll of St
Guthlac; the great beauty of its drawings; Canute as a patron of art; the
Norman Conquest.

CHAPTER VIII. Page 106 to 125.


The Norman invasion; development of architecture and other arts; creation
of the Anglo-Norman school; magnificent _Psalters_; the Angevin kingdom;
the highest development of English art in the thirteenth century; Henry
III. as an art patron; the rebuilding and decorating of the Church and
Palace of Westminster; paintings copied from manuscripts; the Painted
Chamber; English sculpture; the Fitz-Othos and William Torell; English
needlework (_opus Anglicanum_); the Lateran and Pienza copes; Anglo-Norman
manuscripts of the _Vulgate_; the style of their illuminations; manuscripts
produced in Benedictine monasteries; unity of style; various kinds of
background in miniatures; magnificent manuscripts of the _Psalter_; the
Tenison _Psalter_; manuscripts of the _Apocalypse_; their extraordinary
beauty; their contrast to machine-made art; English manuscripts of the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries; the results of the Black Death; the
Poyntz _Horae_; the _Lectionary_ of Lord Lovel; the characteristics of
English ornament; the introduction of portrait figures; the Shrewsbury
manuscript; "Queen Mary's Prayer-book;" the works of Dan Lydgate; specially
English subjects; manuscripts of _Chronicles_ and _Histories_.

CHAPTER IX. Page 126 to 146.


The age of Saint Louis; archaism of costume in miniatures; French
manuscripts of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries; historiated Bibles;
the ivy-pattern; the _Horae_ of the Duc de Berri; the _treasure-book_ of
Origny Abbey; the Anjou _Horae_; costly and magnificent French _Horae_;
their beautiful decorations; their numerous miniatures; the Bedford
_Breviary_; the Bedford _Missal_; various styles in the same manuscript;
manuscripts in _Grisaille_; manuscripts of secular works; Cristina of Pisa;
_Chronicles_ and _Travels_; _Romances_ and _Poems_; Italian influence in
the south of France; the growth of secular illuminators; the inferiority of
their work; cheap and coarsely illuminated _Horae_; manuscripts of the
finest style; use of flowers and fruit in borders and initials; influence
of the Italian Renaissance; the _Horae_ of Jehan Foucquet of Tours.

CHAPTER X. Page 147 to 153.


_Horae_ printed on vellum in Paris; their woodcut decorations; the
productions of the earliest printers; the Mazarine Bible; the Mentz
_Psalter_; illuminators becoming printers; Italian printed books with rich
illuminations; the colophons of the early printers; the books of Aldus
Manutius; invention of Italic type; manuscripts illustrated with woodcuts;
block-books; the long union of the illuminators' and the printers' art.

CHAPTER XI. Page 154 to 182.


Revival of art in Germany in the eleventh century; the _Missal_ of the
Emperor Henry II.; the designs used for stained glass; the advance of
manuscript art under Frederic Barbarossa; grotesque monsters; examples of
fine German illuminations of the twelfth century; their resemblance to
mural paintings; the school of the Van Eycks; the Grimani _Breviary_;
Gérard David of Bruges; examples of Flemish miniatures; the use of gold;
grotesque figures; the influence of manuscript art on the painters of
altar-pieces; the school of Cologne; triptych by the elder Holbein; book
illuminated by Albert Dürer; Dutch fifteenth century manuscripts; their
decorative beauty; their realistic details; illumination in pen outlines in
blue and red.

CHAPTER XII. Page 183 to 205.


Italian art slow to advance; its degraded state in the twelfth century;
illuminators mentioned by Dante; _Missal_ in the Chapter library of Saint
Peter's; the monk Don Silvestro in the middle of the fourteenth century;
his style of illumination; the monk Don Lorenzo; Fra Angelico as an
illuminator; Italian _Pontifical_ in the Fitzwilliam library; manuscripts
of the works of Dante and Petrarch; motives of decoration; Italian
manuscripts after 1453; introduction of the "Roman" hand; great perfection
of writing, and finest quality of vellum; the illuminators Attavante,
Girolamo dai Libri, and Liberale of Verona; manuscripts of northern Italy;
their influence on painting generally; Italian manuscripts of the sixteenth
century, a period of rapid decadence; Giulio Clovio a typical miniaturist
of his time; the library of the Vatican; its records of the cost of
illuminating manuscripts. The manuscripts of Spain and Portugal; the
manuscripts of Moslem countries, especially Persia.

CHAPTER XIII. Page 206 to 223.


Monastic scribes; the great beauty of their work, and the reasons for it;
their quiet, monotonous life; examples of monastic humour; no long spells
of work in a monastery; care in the preparation of pigments; variety of the
schemes of decoration; the _scriptoria_ of Benedictine monasteries; their
arrangement in one alley of the cloister; the row of _armaria_; the row of
_carrels_; the _carrels_ in the Durham cloister described in _the Rites of
Durham_; the scribes of other regular Orders. Secular scribes; the growth
of the craft-guilds; the guilds of Bruges; their rules, and advantages to
both buyer and seller; the production of cheap _Horae_; wealthy patrons who
paid for costly manuscripts; women illuminators, such as the wife of Gérard
David; the high estimation of fine manuscripts. Extract from the fourteenth
century accounts of St George's at Windsor showing the cost of six
manuscripts. Similar extract from the Parish books of St Ewen's at Bristol
in the fifteenth century, giving the cost of a _Lectionary_.

CHAPTER XIV. Page 224 to 238.


The vellum used by scribes, its cost and various qualities; paper made of
cotton, of wool and of linen; the dates and places of its manufacture; its
fine quality. The metals and pigments used in illuminated manuscripts;
fluid gold and silver; leaf gold, silver and tin; the highly burnished
gold; leaf beaten out of gold coins; the goldsmith's art practised by many
great artists; the _mordant_ on which the gold leaf was laid; how it was
applied; a slow, difficult process; laborious use of the burnisher; old
receipts for the mordant: the _media_ or vehicles used with it; tooled and
stamped patterns on the gold leaf; the use of tin instead of silver; a
cheap method of applying gold described by Cennino Cennini.

CHAPTER XV. Page 239 to 256.


The coloured pigments. The vehicles used; blue pigments, ultramarine; its
great value; story told by Pliny and Vasari; _smalto_ blues; "German blue;"
Indigo and other dye-colours; how they were made into pigments; green
pigments; terra verde, verdigris, smalt, leek-green; red pigments, _minium_
red lead, vermilion, red ochre (_rubrica_); _murex_ and _kermes_ crimson;
kermes extracted from scraps of red cloth by illuminators; madder-red;
lake-red; purples; yellow pigments, ochre, arsenic and litharge; white
pigments, pure lime (_Bianco di San Giovanni_), white lead, _biacca_ or
_cerusa_. Black inks, carbon ink and iron ink (_incaustum_ or _encaustum_
and _atramentum_); red and purple inks; writing in gold; the illuminator's
pens and pencils; the lead-point and silver-point; red chalk and
_amatista_. Pens made of reeds, and, in later times, of quills; brushes of
ermine, minever and other hair, mostly made by each illuminator for
himself; list of scribes' implements and tools. Miniatures representing
scribes; the various stages in the execution of an illuminated manuscript;
ruled lines; writing of the plain text; outline of ornament sketched in;
application of the gold leaf; the painting of the ornaments and miniatures;
preparation for the binder.

CHAPTER XVI. Page 257 to 264.


Costly covers of gold, enamel and ivory; the more usual forms of binding;
oak boards covered with parchment and strengthened by metal bosses and
corners; methods of placing the title on the cover; pictures on wood
covers; stamped patterns on leather; English stamped bindings; bag-like
bindings for portable manuscripts; bindings of velvet with metal mounts;
the costly covers of the Grimani _Breviary_ and other late manuscripts. The
present prices of mediaeval manuscripts; often sold for barely the value of
their vellum; modern want of appreciation of the finest manuscripts.

APPENDIX. Page 265 to 270.

Directions to scribes, from a thirteenth century manuscript at Bury St

Note on Service-books by the late Henry Bradshaw. Extract from the
Cistercian _Consuetudines_.

[Illustration: Painting on panel by a fifteenth century artist of the
Prague school; it represents St Augustine as an Episcopal scribe. The
background and the ornaments of the dress are stamped in delicate relief on
the _gesso_ ground and then gilt. This picture, which is now in the Vienna
Gallery, was originally part of the painted wall-panelling in the Chapel of
the Castle of Karlstein.]


The object of this book is to give a general account of the various methods
of writing, the different forms of manuscripts and the styles and systems
of decoration that were used from the earliest times down to the sixteenth
century A.D., when the invention of printing gradually put an end to the
ancient and beautiful art of manuscript illumination.

I have attempted to give a historical sketch of the growth and development
of the various styles of manuscript illumination, and also of the chief
technical processes which were employed in the preparation of pigments, the
application of gold leaf, and other details, to which the most unsparing
amount of time and labour was devoted by the scribes and illuminators of
many different countries and periods.

An important point with regard to this subject is the remarkable way in
which technical processes lasted, in many cases, almost without alteration
from classical times down to the latest mediaeval period, partly owing to
the existence of an unbroken chain of traditional practice, and partly on
account of the mediaeval custom of studying and obeying the precepts of
such classical writers as Vitruvius and Pliny the Elder.

To an English student the art-history of illuminated manuscripts should be
especially interesting, as there were two distinct periods when the
productions of English illuminators were of unrivalled beauty and
importance throughout the world[1].

In the latter part of this volume I have tried to describe the conditions
under which the illuminators of manuscripts did their work, whether they
were monks who laboured in the _scriptorium_ of a monastery, or members of
some secular guild, such as the great painters' guilds of Bruges or Paris.

The extraordinary beauty and marvellous technical perfection of certain
classes of manuscripts make it a matter of interest to learn who the
illuminators were, and under what daily conditions and for what reward they
laboured with such astonishing patience and skill.

The intense pleasure and refreshment that can be gained by the study of a
fine mediaeval illuminated manuscript depend largely on the fact that the
exquisite miniatures, borders and initial letters were the product of an
age which in almost every respect differed widely from the unhappy,
machine-driven nineteenth century in which we now live.

With regard to the illustrations, I have to thank Mr John Murray for his
kindness in lending me a _cliché_ of the excellent woodcut of the
_scriptorium_ walk in the cloisters of the Benedictine Abbey of Gloucester,
which was originally prepared to illustrate one of Mr Murray's valuable
_Guides to the English Cathedrals_.

The rest of the illustrations I owe to the kindness of Mr Kegan Paul. They
have previously appeared in the English edition of Woltmann and Woermann's
valuable _History of Painting_, 1880-7.

I have to thank my friend and colleague Mr M. R. James for his kindness in
looking through the proofs of this book. He is not responsible for the
opinions expressed or for the errors that remain, but he has corrected some
of the grosser blunders.




The following are some of the most important works on this subject, and the
most useful for the purposes of a student. Many others, which deal with
smaller branches of the subject, are referred to in the following text.

Bastard, _Peintures et Ornemens des Manuscrits, classés dans un ordre
Chronologique_, Imper. folio, Paris, 1835, &c.; a very magnificent book,
with 163 plates, mostly coloured.

Birch and Jenner, _Early drawings and illuminations_, London, 1879; this is
a useful index of subjects which occur in manuscript miniatures.

Bradley, J. W., _Dictionary of Miniaturists and Illuminators_, 3 vols. 8vo.
London, 1887-1890.

Chassant, _Paléographie des Chartes et des Manuscrits du XIme au XVIIIme
Siècle_, 12mo.; a useful little handbook, together with the companion
volume, _Dictionnaire des Abbréviations Latines et Françaises_, Paris,

Denis, F., _Histoire de l'Ornementation des manuscrits_; 8vo. Paris, 1879.

Fleury, E., _Les Manuscrits de la Bibliothèque de Laon étudiés au point de
vue de leur illustration_, 2 vols., Laon, 1863. With 50 plates.

Humphreys, Noel, _Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages_, folio, London,
1849; a handsome, well-illustrated book.

Humphreys, Noel, _The Origin and Progress of the Art of Writing_; sm. 4to.,
with 28 plates; London, 1853.

Kopp, _Palaeographia Critica_, 4 vols. 4to., Manheim, 1817-1819; a book of
much historical value for the student of Palaeography.

Lamprecht, K., _Initial-Ornamentik des VIII.-XIII. Jahrh._, Leipzig, 1882.

Langlois, _Essai sur la Calligraphie des Manuscrits du Moyen Age et sur les
Ornements des premiers livres imprimés_, 8vo. Rouen, 1841.

Monte Cassino, _Paleografia artistica di Monte Cassino_, published by the
Benedictine Monks of Mte. Cassino, 1870, and still in progress. This work
contains a very valuable series of facsimiles and coloured reproductions of
selected pages from many of the most important manuscripts in this ancient
and famous library, that of the Mother-house of the whole Benedictine

Reiss, H., _Sammlung der schönsten Miniaturen des Mittelalters_, Vienna,

Riegl, A., _Die mittelalterl. Kalenderillustration_, Innsbruck, 1889.

Seghers, L., _Trésor calligraphique du Moyen Age_, Paris, 1884; with 46
coloured plates of illuminated initials.

Shaw, Henry, _Illuminated Ornaments of the Middle Ages from the sixth to
the seventeenth century_; with descriptions by Sir Fred. Madden; 4to. with
60 coloured plates, London, 1833. A very fine and handsome work.

  "     "    _The Art of Illumination_, 4to. London, 1870; with
well-executed coloured plates.

  "     "    _Hand-book of Mediaeval Alphabets and Devices_, Imp. 8vo.
London, 1877; with 37 coloured plates.

Silvestre, _Paléographie Universelle_, 4 vols., Atlas folio, Paris,
1839-1841. This is the most magnificent and costly work on the subject that
has ever been produced.
The English Edition in 2 vols., Atlas folio, translated and edited by Sir
Fred. Madden, London, 1850, is very superior in point of accuracy and
judgment to the original French work. A smaller edition with 72 selected
plates has also been published, in 2 vols. 8vo. and one fol., London, 1850.

Waagen, G. F., _On the Importance of Manuscripts with Miniatures in the
history of Art_, 8vo. London (1850).

Westwood, J. O., _Palaeographia Sacra Pictoria_, royal 4to. London, 1843-5.
This is a very fine work, with 50 coloured plates of manuscript
illuminations selected from manuscripts of the Bible of various dates from
the fourth to the sixteenth century.

    "     "      _Illuminated  Illustrations of the Bible_, royal 4to.
London, 1846. This is a companion work to the last-mentioned book.

    "     "      _Miniatures and Ornaments of Anglo-Saxon and Irish
Manuscripts_, fol., London, 1868; with 54 very finely executed coloured
plates of remarkable fidelity in drawing. The reproductions of pages from
the _Book of Kells_ and similar Celtic manuscripts are specially

Wyatt, M. Digby, _The Art of Illuminating as practised in Europe from the
earliest times_; 4to. London, 1860; with 100 plates in gold and colours.

The best work on the form of books in ancient times is Th. Birt, _Das
antike Buchwesen in seinem Verhältniss zur Literatur_, 8vo., 1882.

The publications of the Palaeographical Society, from the year 1873, and
still in progress, are of great value for their well-selected and
well-executed photographic reproductions of pages from the most important
manuscripts of all countries and periods.


  Fig.  1, page  33.  Part of the drawing engraved on the bronze _cista_ of
                      Ficoroni, dating from the early part of the fourth
                      century B.C. A beautiful example of Greek drawing.

   "    2   "    37.  Miniature of classical design from a twelfth century
                      _Psalter_ in the Vatican library.

   "    3   "    39.  Painting in the "House of Livia" on the Palatine Hill
                      in Rome.

   "    4   "    41.  A Pompeian painting of Hellenic style, as an example
                      of Greek drawing and composition.

   "    5   "    43.  The Prophet Ezechiel from a Byzantine manuscript of
                      the ninth century A.D.

   "    6   "    49.  Miniature from the Vienna manuscript of _Genesis_.

   "    7   "    51.  Miniature from the manuscript of the work on _Botany_
                      by Dioscorides, executed at Constantinople about
                      500 A.D. for the Princess Juliana.

   "    8   "    58.  Mosaic of the sixth century in the apse of the church
                      of SS. Cosmas and Damian in Rome.

   "    9   "    60.  Miniature from a Byzantine manuscript of the eleventh
                      century; a remarkable example of artistic decadence.

   "   10   "    63.  An initial P of the Celtic-Carolingian type, of the
                      school of Alcuin of York.

   "   11   "    64.  An initial B of the Celtic-Carolingian type.

   "   12   "    66.  Miniature of Christ in Majesty from a manuscript of
                      the school of Alcuin, written for Charles the Great.

   "   13   "    68.  A cope made of silk from the loom of an Oriental

   "   14   "    71.  King Lothair enthroned; a miniature from a manuscript
                      about the year 845 A.D.

   "   15   "    73.  Illumination in pen outline, from a manuscript
                      written in the ninth century at St Gallen. It
                      represents David riding out against his enemies.

  Figs. 16 and 17, pages 74 and 75.  Subject countries doing homage to
                      the Emperor Otho II.; from a manuscript of the

  Fig. 18, page  77.  Miniature of the Evangelist Saint Mark; from a
                      manuscript of the _Gospels_.

   "   19   "    78.  Miniature of the Crucifixion from a German manuscript
                      of the eleventh century; showing extreme
                      artistic decadence.

   "   20   "    91.  Miniature from the _Gospels_ of MacDurnan of the
                      ninth century.

   "   21   "   100.  Miniature from the _Benedictional_ of Aethelwold;
                      written and illuminated by a monastic scribe at

   "   22   "   127.  A page from the _Psalter_ of Saint Louis,
                      written about the year 1260, by a French scribe.

   "   23   "   130.  Miniature representing King Conrad of Bohemia,
                      with an attendant, hawking.

   "   24   "   132.  Scene of the martyrdom of Saint Benedicta from a
                      _Martyrology_ of about 1312.

   "   25   "   134.  Miniature of the Birth of the Virgin painted by the
                      illuminator Jacquemart de Odin for the Duc de
                      Berri. The border is of the characteristic French
                      or Franco-Flemish style.

   "   26   "   142.  Miniature executed for King René of Anjou about

   "   27   "   145.  Miniature of the Marriage of the B. V. Mary from a
                      French manuscript of about 1480, with details in
                      the style of the Italian Renaissance.

   "   28   "   146.  Border illumination from a _Book of Hours_ by
                      Jacquemart de Odin which belonged to the Duc de
                      Berri; see fig. 25.

   "   29   "   155.  A page from the _Missal_ of the Emperor Henry II.

   "   30   "   156.  Figure of King David from a stained glass window
                      in the Cathedral of Augsburg, dating from 1065.

   "   31   "   157.  Miniature from an eleventh century manuscript of
                      the _Gospels_, by a German illuminator.

   "   32   "   159.  An initial S, illuminated with foliage of the
                      Northumbrian type, from a German manuscript of the
                      twelfth century.

   "   33   "   160.  Miniature of the Annunciation from a German
                      manuscript of the beginning of the thirteenth

   "   34   "   161.  Page of a Kalendar from a German _Psalter_ of about
                      1200 A.D.

   "   35   "   163.  Initial Y from a German manuscript of the beginning
                      of the thirteenth century, with a most graceful
                      and fanciful combination of figures and foliage.

   "   36   "   164.  Paintings on the vault of the church of St Michael at
                      Hildesheim, closely resembling in style an
                      illuminated page in a manuscript.

   "   37   "   166.  Miniatures of Italian style from a German manuscript
                      of 1312, showing the influence of Florentine
                      art on the illuminators of southern France.

   "   38   "   168.  Miniature symbolizing the month of April from the
                      Kalendar of the Grimani _Breviary_, executed about

   "   39   "   170.  A page from the _Book of Hours_ of King René,
                      painted about 1480.

   "   40   "   171.  A page from a _Book of Hours_ at Vienna, of the
                      finest Flemish style.

   "   41   "   173.  Marginal illumination of very beautiful and refined
                      style from a manuscript executed for King Wenzel
                      of Bohemia about the year 1390.

   "   42   "   174.  Miniature of Duke Baldwin, painted about the year
                      1450 by an illuminator of the school of the Van
                      Eycks of Bruges.

   "   43   "   176.  Retable painted by Martin Schöngauer, in the style
                      of a manuscript illumination.

   "   44   "   177.  An altar-piece of the Cologne school, showing the
                      influence of manuscript illumination on the painters
                      of panel-pictures, especially retables.

   "   45   "   179.  Wing of a triptych, with a figure of St Elizabeth
                      of Hungary, painted by the elder Hans Holbein;
                      this illustrates the influence on painting of the
                      styles of manuscript illumination at the beginning
                      of the sixteenth century.

   "   46   "   180.  Illuminated border drawn by Albert Dürer in 1515.

   "   47   "   185.  Illumination from an Italian manuscript executed for
                      the Countess Matilda in the twelfth century; this
                      illustrates the extreme decadence of art in Italy
                      before the thirteenth century.

   "   48   "   187.  Miniature of Saint George and the Dragon from a
                      _Missal_, illuminated about 1330 to 1340 by a painter
                      of the school of Giotto.

   "   49   "   196.  An illuminated border from a manuscript by Attavante,
                      of characteristic north-Italian style.

   "   50   "   198.  A miniature from the Bible of Duke Borso d'Este,
                      painted between 1455 and 1461 by illuminators of
                      the school of Ferrara.

   "   51   "   201.  A Venetian retable by Giovanni and Antonio di
                      Murano, in the style of an illuminated manuscript.

   "   52   "   208.  Grotesque figure from a French manuscript of the
                      fourteenth century.

   "   53   "   209.  Miniature of a comic subject from a German manuscript
                      of the twelfth century, representing a monastic
                      scribe worried by a mouse.

   "   54   "   213.  View of the scriptorium alley of the cloisters at
                      Gloucester, showing the recesses to hold the wooden
                      _carrels_ for the scribes or readers of manuscripts.

   "   55   "   219.  Picture by Quentin Matsys of Antwerp, showing a
                      lady selling or pawning an illuminated manuscript.

       Frontispiece.  Painting on panel by a fifteenth century artist
                      of the Prague school; it represents Saint Augustine
                      as an Episcopal scribe. The background and the
                      ornaments of the dress are stamped in delicate
                      relief on the _gesso_ ground and then gilt. This
                      picture, which is now in the Vienna Gallery, was
                      originally part of the painted wall-panelling in the
                      Chapel of the Castle of Karlstein.



Before entering upon any discussion of the styles and methods of decoration
which are to be found in mediaeval manuscripts and of the various
processes, pigments and other materials which were employed by the
mediaeval illuminators it will be necessary to give some account of the
shapes and kinds of books which were produced among various races during
the classical period.

_Survival of methods._

The reason of this is that classical styles of decoration and technical
methods, in the preparation of paper, parchment, pigments and the like,
both survived to greater extent and to a very much later period than is
usually supposed to have been the case, and, indeed, continued to influence
both the artistic qualities and the mechanical processes of the mediaeval
illuminator almost down to the time when the production of illuminated
manuscripts was gradually put an end to by the invention of printing.

_The pen and the stilus._

The word _manuscript_ is usually taken to imply writing with a pen, brush
or _stilus_ to the exclusion of inscriptions cut with the chisel or the
graver in stone, marble, bronze or other hard substance. The science of
_palaeography_ deals with the former, while _epigraphy_ is concerned with
the latter. The inscribed clay tablets of Assyria and Babylon might be
considered a sort of link between the two, on account of the cuneiform
writing on them having been executed with a stilus in soft, plastic clay,
which subsequently was hardened by baking in the potter's kiln, but it will
be needless to describe them here.

_Writing on metal._

_Manuscripts on metal plates._ Another form of writing especially used by
the ancient Greeks, which falls more definitely under the head of
manuscripts, consists of characters scratched with a sharp iron or bronze
_stilus_ on plates of soft tin, lead or pewter, which, when not in use,
could be rolled up into a compact and conveniently portable cylinder.

A considerable number of these inscribed lead rolls have been found in the
tombs of Cyprus; but none of them unfortunately have as yet been found to
contain matter of any great interest.

_Lead rolls._
_Tin rolls._

For the most part they consist either of monetary accounts, or else of
formulae of imprecations, curses devoting some enemy to punishment at the
hands of the gods. We know however from the evidence of classical writers
that famous poems and other important literary works were occasionally
preserved in the form of these inscribed tin or lead rolls. Pausanias, for
example, tells us that during his visit to Helicon in Boeotia he was shown
the original manuscript of Hesiod's _Works and Days_ written on plates of
lead; see Paus. IX. 31. Again at IV. 26, Pausanias records the discovery at
Ithome in Messenia of a bronze urn (_hydria_) which contained a manuscript
of the "Mysteries of the Great Deities" written on "a thinly beaten plate
of tin, which was rolled up like a book," [Greek: kassiteron elêlasmenon es
to leptotaton, epeilikto de hôsper ta biblia].  This  method of writing
would be quite different from the laborious method of cutting inscriptions
on bronze plates with a chisel and hammer, or with a graver.

A scribe could write on the soft white metal with a sharp stilus almost as
easily and rapidly as if he were using pen and ink on paper, and the
manuscript thus produced would have the advantage of extreme durability.

We may indeed hope that even now some priceless lost work of early Greece
may be recovered by the discovery of similar lead rolls to those which
Cesnola found in Cyprus.

_Gold amulets._

Some very beautiful little Greek manuscripts, written on thin plates of
gold, have also been discovered at various places. The most remarkable of
these were intended for amulets, and were rolled up in little gold or
silver cylinders and worn round the neck during life. After death they were
placed with the body in the tomb.  Several of these, discovered in tombs in
the district of Sybaris in Magna Graecia, are inscribed with fragments from
the mystic Orphic hymns, and give directions to the soul as to what he will
find and what he must do in the spirit-world.

_Petelia tablet._

The most complete of these little gold manuscripts, usually known as the
Petelia tablet, is preserved in the gem-room in the British Museum. The
manuscript consists of thirteen hexameter lines written on a thin plate of
pure gold measuring 1½ inches by 2-5/8 inches in width; it dates from the
third century B.C.[2]

In classical times,  manuscripts  were of  two different forms; first, the
_book_ form, [Greek: pinax], [Greek: pinakion] or [Greek: deltion], in
Latin _codex_ (older spelling _caudex_); and secondly the roll, [Greek:
kylindros], [Greek: biblos] or [Greek: biblion], Latin _volumen_[3].

_Waxed tablets._

_Manuscripts on tablets._ Both the Greeks and the Romans used very largely
tablets ([Greek: pinakes], Lat. _tabulae_ or _cerae_) of wood covered with
a thin coating of coloured wax, on which the writing was formed with a
sharp-pointed _stilus_ ([Greek: graphis]) of wood, ivory or bronze. The wax
was coloured either black or red in order that the writing scratched upon
it might be clearly visible. The reverse end of the stilus was made flat or
in the shape of a small ball so that it could be used to make corrections
by smoothing out words or letters which had been erroneously scratched in
the soft wax.

_Waxed diptychs._

These tablets were commonly about ten to fourteen inches in length by about
half that in width. The main surface of each tablet was sunk from 1/8 to
1/10 of an inch in depth to receive the wax layer, leaving a rim all round
about the size of that round a modern school-boy's slate. The object of
this was that two of these tablets might be placed together face to face
without danger of rubbing and obliterating the writing on the wax, which
was applied in a very thin coat, not more than 1/16 of an inch in
thickness. As a rule these tablets were fastened together in pairs by stout
loops of leather or cord. These double tablets were called by the Greeks
[Greek: pinakes ptyktoi] or [Greek: diptycha] (from [Greek: dis] and
[Greek: ptyssô]) and by the Romans _pugillares_ or _codicilli_. Homer
(_Il._ VI. 168) mentions a letter written on folding tablets--

        [Greek: poren d' ho ge sêmata lygra]
  [Greek: Grapsas en pinaki ptyktô.]

_Tablets on coins and gems._

Representations of these folding tablets occur frequently both in Greek and
in Roman art, as, for example on various Sicilian coins, where the artist's
name is placed in minute letters on a double tablet, which in some cases,
as on a _tetradrachm_ of Himera, is held open by a flying figure of

A gem of about 400 B.C., a large scarabaeoid in chalcedony, recently
acquired by the British Museum, is engraved with a seated figure of a lady
holding a book consisting of four leaves; she is writing lengthwise on one
leaf, while the other three hang down from their hinge.

Some of the beautiful terra-cotta statuettes from the tombs of the Boeotian
Tanagra represent a girl reading from a somewhat similar double folding

On Greek vases and in Roman mural paintings the _pugillares_ are frequently
shown, though the roll form of manuscript is on the whole more usual.

_Tablets from tombs._

Some examples of these tablets have been found in a good state of
preservation in Graeco-Egyptian tombs and during recent excavations in

Part of a poem in Greek written in large uncial characters is still legible
on the single leaf of a pair of tablets from Memphis in Egypt, which is now
in the British Museum. Though the coating of wax has nearly all perished,
the sharp stilus has marked through on to the wood behind the wax, so that
the writing is still legible. Its date appears to be shortly before the
Christian era[4].

_Pompeian tablets._

Some well preserved _pugillares_ found in Pompeii are now in the Museum in
Naples; the writing on them is of less interest, consisting merely of
accounts of expenditure. Though the wood is blackened and the wax
destroyed, the writing is still perfectly visible on the charred surface.

A more costly form of _pugillares_ was made of bone or ivory[5]; in some
cases the back of each ivory leaf was decorated with carving in low relief.

_Consular diptychs._

A good many examples of these tablets, dating from the third to the sixth
century A.D., still exist. These late highly decorated _pugillares_ are
usually known as _Consular diptychs_, because, as a rule, they have on the
carved back the name of a Consul, and very frequently a representation of
the Consul in his _pulvinar_ or state box presiding over the Games in the
Circus. It is supposed that these ivory diptychs were inscribed with
complimentary addresses and were sent as presents to newly appointed
officials in the time of the later Empire.

_Many-leaved tablets._

In some cases the ancient writing-tablets consisted of three or more leaves
hinged together ([Greek: triptycha], [Greek: pentaptycha] &c.); this was
the earliest form of the _codex_ or _book_ in the modern sense of the word.
The inner leaves of these _codices_ had sinkings to receive the wax on both
sides; only the backs of the two outer leaves being left plain or carved in
relief to form the covers.

_Waxed tablets._

When the written matter on these tablets was no longer wanted, a fresh
surface for writing was prepared either by smoothing down the wax with the
handle of the stilus, or else by scraping it off and pouring in a fresh
supply. This is mentioned by Ovid (_Ar. Am._ I. 437); "cera ... rasis
infusa tabellis[6]." These tablets were sometimes called briefly _cerae_;
the phrases _prima cera_, _altera cera_, meaning the first page, the second
page. The best sorts of wooden writing-tablets were made of box-wood, and
hence they are sometimes called [Greek: pyxion]. In addition to the holes
along one edge of each tablet through which the cord or wire was passed to
hold the leaves together and to form the hinge, additional holes were often
made along the opposite edge in order that the letter or other writing on
the _tabulae_ might be kept private by tying a thread through these holes
and then impressing a seal on the knot. Plautus (_Bacch._ IV. iv. 64)
alludes to this in mentioning the various things required to write a

  _Effer cito stilum, ceram, et tabellas et linum._

In some cases wooden tablets of this kind were used without a coating of
wax, but had simply a smooth surface to receive writing with ink and a reed
pen. Many examples of these have been found in Egypt. The writing could be
obliterated and a new surface prepared by sponging and rubbing with

_Whitened boards._

Among the Greeks wooden boards, whitened with chalk or gypsum, were often
used for writing that was intended to be of temporary use only. Charcoal
was used to write on these boards, which were called [Greek: leukômata] or
[Greek: grammateia leleukômena][7]. Public advertisements and official
announcements were frequently written in this way and then hung up in a
conspicuous place in the _agora_ or market-place of the city.

_Sacred accounts._

Thus some of the inscriptions of the fourth century B.C., found at Delos
mention that every month a [Greek: leukôma] was suspended in the _agora_,
on which was written a statement of the financial management and all the
expenses of the Temple of the Delian Apollo during the past month. Finally,
at the end of the year, an abstract of the accounts of the Temple was
engraved as a permanent record on a marble _stele_. This was also the
custom with regard to the financial records of the Athenian Parthenon, and
probably most of the important Greek temples. In connection with the sacred
records, the Delian inscriptions mention, in addition to the [Greek:
leukômata], other forms of tablets, the [Greek: deltos] and the [Greek:
pinax], and also [Greek: chartai] or writings on _papyrus_; manuscripts of
this last kind will be discussed in a subsequent section[8].

_Late survivals._

_Late survivals of writing on tablets._ Before passing on to describe other
forms of classical manuscripts, it may be interesting to note that the
ancient waxed tablets or _pugillares_ continued to be used for certain
purposes throughout the whole mediaeval period, down to the sixteenth
century or even later. Many of the principal churches, especially in Italy,
but also in other countries, possessed one or more diptychs on which were
inscribed the names of all those who had in any way been benefactors either
to the ecclesiastical foundation or to the building. In early times, during
the daily celebration of Mass, the list of names was read out from the
_diptych_ by the Deacon standing in the gospel ambon; and the congregation
was requested or "bid" to pray for the souls of those whose names they had
just heard.

"_Bidding the beads._"

The "bidding prayer" before University sermon at Oxford and Cambridge is a
survival of this custom, which in the fifteenth century was termed "bidding
the beads," that is "praying for the prayers" of the congregation. In some
cases fine specimens of the old ivory _Consular diptychs_ were used for
this purpose in Italian churches till comparatively late times, but as a
rule they fell into disuse before the eleventh or twelfth century, as the
list of names became too long for the waxed leaves of a diptych, and so by
degrees vellum rolls or else _codices_, often beautifully written in gold
and silver letters, were substituted. One of the most splendid of these
lists, the _Liber vitae_ of Durham, is now preserved in the British Museum;
_Cotton manuscripts_, Domit. 7. 2.

For many other purposes, both ecclesiastical and secular, the classical
waxed tablets were used in England and on the Continent, especially for
lists of names, as for example in great Cathedral or Abbey churches the
list for the week of the various priests who were appointed to celebrate
each mass at each of the numerous altars.

_List of guild-members._

The British Museum possesses a very interesting late example of a waxed
tablet which in shape, size and general appearance is exactly like the
Roman _pugillares_. This is an oak tablet, about 20 inches long by 10
inches wide, covered with a thin layer of wax protected by the usual
slightly raised margin about half an inch wide. Along one edge are three
holes with leather loops to form the hinges; the other leaf is lost. On the
wax is inscribed a list of the names of the members of a Flemish guild;
each name is still as sharp and legible as the day it was written. The form
of the writing shows that it belongs to the end of the fifteenth century.
Such tablets were used both by the trade guilds of the middle ages and by
the religious guilds formed for the cult of some special Saint.

_Wooden Book._

The most interesting mediaeval example of the classical form of manuscript
made up of several leaves of waxed tablets was found a few years ago in a
blocked-up recess in the old wooden church at Hopperstad in Norway. It was
enclosed in a casket of wood covered with leather, and thus it still
remains in a very perfect state of preservation; it is now in the
University Museum at Christiania. The book consists of six tablets of
box-wood, coated with wax within the usual raised margin, and hinged with
leather thongs. The outer leaves are decorated on the back with carving
mixed with inlay of different coloured woods.


The manuscript itself which is written on the wax is a _Bestiary_, dating,
as its style shows, from the latter part of the thirteenth century, though
the book itself is probably older. It contains lists of animals in Latin
with a Norwegian translation, and it is copiously illustrated with drawings
of scenes from agricultural and domestic life, executed in fine outline on
the wax with a sharply pointed stilus. In every detail, except of course in
the character of the writing and drawings, this book exactly resembles an
ancient Greek or Roman many-leaved wooden book, [Greek: polyptychon], a
very striking example of the unaltered survival of ancient methods for an
extraordinarily long period.

_Ivory tablets._

During the mediaeval period, sets of ivory tablets hinged together were
frequently made for devotional purposes. This form of manuscript has no
layer of wax, but the writing is executed with a pen on the thin smooth
leaf of ivory. Each leaf has its margin raised, like the ancient
_pugillares_, to prevent the two adjacent surfaces from rubbing together.

These ivory tablets usually contain a set of short prayers, and they are
frequently illustrated with painted miniatures of sacred subjects exactly
like those in the vellum manuscripts of the same date.

_Tablet with eight leaves._

The South Kensington Museum possesses a very beautiful example of these
ivory books; it is of Northern French workmanship dating from about the
middle of the fourteenth century. It consists of eight leaves of ivory,
measuring 4-1/8 inches by 2-3/8 inches in width. The six inner pages are
extremely thin, no thicker than stout paper, and have paintings on both
sides, the two covers are of thicker substance, about a quarter of an inch,
and are decorated on the outside with beautiful carved reliefs.

This remarkable work of art has on the inner leaves fourteen very
delicately executed miniatures of sacred subjects, single figures of Saints
and scenes from Christ's Passion, painted in gold and colours in the finest
style of French fourteenth century art, evidently executed by some very
skilful illuminator.

_Ivory diptychs._

Tablets like this with as many as eight ivory leaves are rare, but a very
large number of beautiful ivory diptychs still exist, with carved reliefs
on the outside of very graceful style and delicate execution. Most of these
diptychs date from the fourteenth century, and are of French workmanship,
but they were also produced in England at the same time and of quite equal
merit in design and execution.

_Inscribed lead tablet._

_Manuscripts on lead plates_, like those of the ancient Greeks, were
occasionally used in mediaeval times.

A single lead leaf of an Anglo-Saxon manuscript from Lord Londesborough's
collection is illustrated in _Archaeologia_, Vol. XXXIV, Plate 36, page
438. This leaf measures 6½ inches by 5 inches in width. On it is incised
with a stilus in fine bold semi-uncial writing the beginning of Aelfric's
preface to his first collection of _Homilies_, which in modern English runs
thus:--"I, Aelfric, monk and mass-priest, was sent in King Aethelred's time
from Aelfeage the Bishop, the successor of Aethelwold, to a certain minster
which is called Cernel, &c." At the top of the page there is a heading in
large Runic characters. Aelfric was sent by Aelfeage Bishop of Winchester
to be Abbot of Cerne in 988 or 989, and this interesting page appears to be
of contemporary date. It was found by a labourer while digging in the
precincts of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds. Along one edge of the leaden
page there are three holes to receive the loops which hinged the plates
together, but the other leaves were not found.


_Horn-books._ One form of wooden tablet continued in use, especially in
boys' schools, till the sixteenth century. This was a wooden board, rather
smaller than an ordinary school-boy's slate, with a long handle at the
bottom; on it was fixed a sheet of vellum or paper on which was written or
(in the latest examples) printed _the Alphabet_, _the Creed_, _the Lord's
Prayer_ or such like. Over this a thin sheet of transparent horn was
nailed, whence these tablets were often called "horn-books." A good example
dating from the sixteenth century is now preserved in the Bodleian library
at Oxford.



To return now to classical forms of manuscripts, it appears to have been a
long time before the _book_ or _codex_ form of manuscript was extended from
the wood and ivory tablets to writings on parchment or paper.

_The roll form of MS._
_The codex form._

It seems probable that throughout the Greek period manuscripts on paper or
vellum were usually, if not always, in the shape of a long roll; and that
it was not till about the beginning of the Roman Empire that leaves of
parchment or paper were sometimes cut up into pages and bound together in
the form of the older tablets. During the first two or three centuries of
the Empire, manuscripts were produced in both of these forms--the _codex_
and the _volumen_; but the _roll_ form was by far the commoner, almost till
the transference of the seat of government to Byzantium.

The roll form of book is the one shown in many of the wall paintings of
Pompeii; but on some sarcophagi reliefs of the second century A.D. books
both of the _roll_ and the _codex_ shape are represented[9].

_Writing with a pen._

Having given some account of the various classical forms of manuscript in
which the writing is incised with a sharp _stilus_, we will now pass on to
the other chief forms of manuscript which were written with a pen and with
ink or other pigment.

_Books of the dead._

_Manuscripts on papyrus_; the oldest existing examples of this class are
the so-called _Rituals of the Dead_ found in the tombs of Egypt, especially
in those of the Theban dynasties; the oldest of these date as far back as
the sixteenth or fifteenth century B.C.[10]

They are executed with a reed pen in hieroglyphic writing on long rolls of
papyrus, and are copiously illuminated with painted miniatures illustrating
the subject of the text, drawn with much spirit and coloured in a very
finely decorative way. Immense numbers of these Egyptian illuminated
manuscripts still exist in a more or less fragmentary condition. One of the
most perfect of these is the _Book of the Dead of Ani_, a royal scribe,
dating from the fourteenth century B.C., now in the British Museum. An
excellent facsimile of the whole of this fine illuminated manuscript has
been edited by Dr Budge and published by the Trustees of the British Museum
in 1890.

_Egyptian psalter._

Manuscripts of this important class are not very accurately described as
_Rituals of the Dead_; as Dr Budge points out they really consist of
collections of _psalms_ or _sacred hymns_ which vary considerably in
different manuscripts.

They appear to have been written in large numbers and kept in stock by the
Egyptian undertakers ready for purchasers. Blank spaces were left for the
name and titles of the dead person for whom they were bought.

Thus we find that the names are often filled in carelessly by another hand
than that of the writer of the manuscript, and some examples exist in which
the spaces for the name are still left blank.

Another of the finest and most complete of the funereal _papyri_ is
preserved in the Museum in Turin; see Pierret, _Le livre des Morts des
anciens Egyptiens_, Paris, 1882.

_Use of papyrus._
_Existing Greek MSS._

Papyrus seems to have been used for manuscripts more than any other
substance both by the Greeks from the sixth century B.C. and by the Romans
down to the time of the later Empire. Some very valuable Greek manuscripts
on papyrus are preserved in the British Museum; among them the most
important for their early date are some fragments of Homer's _Iliad_ of the
third or second century B.C. Another papyrus manuscript in the same
collection dating from the first century B.C. contains four _Orations_ of
the Athenian Orator Hyperides, a contemporary and rival of Demosthenes. In
the last few years the important discovery has been made that in certain
late tombs in Egypt, dating from the Roman period, the mummied bodies are
packed in their coffins with large quantities of what was considered waste
paper. This packing in some cases has been found to consist of papyrus
manuscripts, some of which are of great importance. In this way the newly
discovered treatise by Aristotle on the _Political Constitution of Athens_,
and the _Mimes_ of Herondas were saved from destruction by being used as
inner wrappings for a coffin of about the year 100 A.D.[11]

Other important manuscripts may yet be found, now that careful search is
being made in this direction.

_Herculaneum library._

Unfortunately the large library of manuscripts, consisting of nearly 1800
papyrus rolls, which was discovered about the middle of the last century in
the lava-buried town of Herculaneum, has not as yet been found to contain
any works of much value or interest. These rolls are all charred by the
heat of the lava, which overwhelmed the town, and the work of unrolling and
deciphering the brittle carbonized paper necessarily goes on very slowly.
The owner of this library appears to have been an enthusiastic student of
the Epicurean philosophy in its later development, and his books are mainly
dull, pedantic treatises on the various sciences such as mathematics, music
and the like, treated from the Epicurean point of view, or rather from that
of the Graeco-Roman followers of Epicurus.

_Papyrus rolls._

All these manuscripts appear to be of about the same date, not many years
older, that is, than the year 79 A.D., when the eruption of Vesuvius
overwhelmed Herculaneum and Pompeii in the same catastrophe. They are
written in fine bold uncial characters without illumination or ornament of
any kind on rolls of papyrus nine or ten inches in breadth. In their
present burnt and shrunken condition the rolls average about two inches in
diameter, but they were probably larger than that in their original state;
see _Palaeo. Soc._ Pl. 151, 152; the other published 'facsimiles' of the
Herculaneum manuscripts are not perfectly trustworthy.

_Herodotus on MSS._

In the time of Herodotus (c. 460 B.C.) _papyrus paper_ ([Greek: biblia] or
[Greek: chartai])[12] appears to have been used by the Greeks almost to the
exclusion of parchment or other kinds of skin. In his interesting section
on the introduction of the art of writing into Greece by the Phoenicians,
Herodotus (v. 58) remarks that the Ionians in old times used to call
_papyrus rolls_ [Greek: diphtherai] or "_parchment_," because they had once
been in the habit of using skins of sheep or goats for manuscripts, at a
time when _papyrus_ paper was not to be had; and, Herodotus goes on to say,
"Barbarians even now are accustomed to write their manuscripts on

_Use of parchment._

_Manuscripts on parchment_; this old use of parchment for manuscripts was
again introduced among the Greeks by Eumenes II., king of Pergamus from 197
to 159 B.C. At this time men had forgotten that parchment had ever been
used for books, and so Varro, quoted by Pliny (_Hist. Nat._ XIII. 70),
tells us that Eumenes _invented_ this use of parchment; the real fact being
that he re-introduced an old custom, and stimulated the careful preparation
of parchment for the sake of the great library which he was anxious to make
the most important collection of manuscripts in the world.


Varro tells us that he was driven to this use of parchment by the jealousy
of the Egyptian King Ptolemy Epiphanes, whose enormous library at
Alexandria was the only existing rival to the Pergamene collection. One of
the Greek names for parchment, _Pergamena_, was derived from the fact of
its being so largely made for the Pergamene Kings Eumenes and Attalus, both
of whom were not only great patrons of literature and collectors of ancient
manuscripts, but were also enthusiastic buyers of pictures, statues, rich
textiles and works of art of every class. The other word for parchment used
for manuscripts is _membrana_.

_Linen MSS._

_Manuscripts on linen_; in ancient Egypt hieroglyphic manuscripts with
sacred hymns and portions of the so-called _Ritual of the Dead_ were
frequently written with a reed pen on fine linen. These manuscripts, which
are often found among the mummy wrappings of burials under the Theban
Dynasties, are usually illustrated with pen drawings in outline, not
painted miniatures like those on the papyrus rolls. These drawings are
executed with much spirit and with a beautiful, clean, certain touch.

_Early MSS. in Italy._

The early Italian races, Latins, Samnites and others, appear to have used
linen very frequently for their manuscript records and sacred books. Among
the public records mentioned by Livy as having once been preserved with the
Archives in the Capitoline Temple of Juno Moneta were some of these early
linen manuscripts (_libri lintei_); see Liv. IV. 7, 13, 20. Livy also (X.
38) describes an ancient manuscript, containing an account of the ritual
customs of the Samnites, as a _liber vetus linteus_. In historic times,
however, _papyrus_ and _parchment_ appear to have superseded _linen_ in
ancient Rome.

_Inscribed potsherds._

_Ostraka Manuscripts._ For ephemeral purposes, such as tradesmen's accounts
and other business matters, writing was often done with a pen and ink on
broken fragments of pottery ([Greek: ostraka]). An enormous number of these
inscribed potsherds, mostly dating from the Ptolemaic period, have been
found in Egypt, and especially on the little island of Elephantine in the
Nile a short distance below the first cataract.

Among the Greeks too, writing on potsherds was very common; especially when
the Athenian tribes met in the Agora to record their votes for the exile of
some unpopular citizen, whence is derived the term _ostracism_ ([Greek:

The word _liber_ as meaning a _book_ is supposed to be derived from a
primitive custom of writing on the smooth inner bark of some tree, such as
the birch, which supplies a fine silky substance, not at all unsuited for

_MSS. on leaves._

The large broad leaves of some varieties of the palm tree have also been
used for manuscript purposes, more especially among the inhabitants of
India and Ceylon. In early times the questions asked of the Oracle of the
Pythian Apollo at Delphi were said to have been written on leaves of the
laurel plant. Pali manuscripts in Ceylon are even now frequently written on
palm-leaves; and we have the evidence of Pliny that this custom once
existed among some of the ancient classical races: see _Hist. Nat._ XIII.
69, "Ante non fuisse chartarum usum, in palmarum foliis primo scriptitatum;
deinde quarundam arborum libris. Postea publica monumenta plumbeis
voluminibus, mox et privata linteis confici coepta aut ceris. Pugillarium
enim usum fuisse etiam ante Trojana tempora invenimus apud Homerum." In
this passage Pliny gives a list of all the chief materials that had been
used for manuscripts in ancient times, the _leaves_ and _bark of trees_,
_plates of lead_, _linen cloth_ and _waxed tablets_, he then goes on to
describe at considerable length the methods of making paper from the pith
of the papyrus plant; see page 22.

_Greek libraries._

_Ancient libraries_; among the Greeks and Romans of the historic period
books do not appear to have been either rare or costly as they were during
the greater part of the mediaeval period.

In the time of Alexander, the latter part of the fourth century B.C., large
libraries had already been formed by wealthy lovers of literature, and in
the second century B.C. the rival libraries of Ptolemy Epiphanes at
Alexandria and of King Eumenes II. at Pergamus were said to have contained
between them nearly a million volumes.

_Roman libraries._

Among the Romans of the Empire books were no less common. The owner of the
above mentioned library at Herculaneum, consisting of nearly 1800 rolls or
volumes, does not appear to have been a man of exceptional wealth; his
house was small and his surroundings simple in character.

_The great libraries of Rome._

As early as the reign of Augustus, Rome possessed several large public
libraries (_bibliothecae_). The first of these was instituted in 37 B.C. by
Asinius Pollio both for Greek and Latin manuscripts. The second was the
_Bibliotheca Octaviae_ founded by Augustus in the Campus Martius in honour
of his sister. The third was the magnificent double _library of Apollo
Palatinus_, which Augustus built on the Palatine Hill. The fourth, also on
the Palatine, the _Bibliotheca Tiberiana_ was founded by Tiberius. The
fifth was built by Vespasian as part of the group of buildings in his new
_Forum Pacis_. The sixth and largest of all was the double library, for
Greek and Latin books built by Trajan in his Forum close to the _Basilica
Ulpia_. To some extent a classification of subjects was adopted in these
great public libraries, one being mainly legal, another for ancient
history, a third for state papers and modern records, but this
classification appears to have been only partially adhered to.

_Parish libraries._

In addition to these state libraries, Rome also possessed a large number of
smaller "parish libraries" in the separate _vici_, and the total number,
given in the _Regionary catalogues_ as existing in the time of Constantine,
is enormous; see Séraud, _Les livres dans l'antiquité_.

_Library fittings._

With regard to the arrangement and fittings of Roman libraries, the usual
method appears to have been this. Cupboards (_armaria_), fitted with
shelves to receive the rolls or _codices_ and closed by doors, were placed
against the walls all round the room. These _armaria_ were usually rather
low, not more than from four to five feet in height, and on them were
placed busts of famous authors; while the wall-space above the bookcases
was decorated with similar portrait reliefs or paintings designed to fill
panels or circular medallions.

_Library decorations._

Pliny (_Hist. Nat._ XXXV. 9), speaks of it being a new fashion in his time
to adorn the walls of libraries with ideal portraits of ancient writers,
such as Homer, executed in gold, silver or bronze relief.

The public library of Asinius Pollio was, Pliny says, decorated with
portraits, but whether the great libraries of Pergamus and Alexandria were
ornamented in this way, Pliny is unable to say. Magnificent medallion
portraits in gold and silver were fixed round the walls of the two great
libraries of Apollo on the Palatine Hill, and probably in the other still
larger public libraries which were founded by subsequent Emperors.

_Recent discovery._
_Authors' busts._

The ordinary private libraries of Rome were decorated in a similar way, but
with reliefs of less costly materials. A very interesting example of this
has recently been discovered and then destroyed on the Esquiline hill in
Rome. The house in which this library was discovered was one of no very
exceptional size or splendour. The _bibliotheca_ itself consisted of a
handsome room; the lower part of its walls, against which the _armaria_
fitted, was left quite plain. Above that the walls were divided into square
panels by small fluted pilasters, and in the centre of each space there
was, or had been, a medallion relief-portrait about two feet in diameter
enclosed in a moulded frame. All this was executed in fine, hard
marble-dust stucco (_opus albarium_ or _marmoreum_).

The names of the authors whose portraits had filled the medallions were
written in red upon the frames. Only one was legible--APOLLONIVS THYAN....
No doubt the works of Apollonius of Thyana were kept in the _armarium_
below the bust.

The library at Herculaneum, which contained the famous papyrus rolls, was a
much smaller room. Besides the bookcases all round the walls, it had also
an isolated _armarium_ in the centre of the room; and this, no doubt, was a
usual arrangement.

The room at Herculaneum was so small that there can only have been just
enough space to walk between the central bookcase and the _armaria_ ranged
all round against the wall.

_Closed bookcases._

As the Comm. Lanciani has pointed out (_Ancient Rome_, p. 195), it is
interesting to note that the ancient Roman method of arranging books in
low, closed cupboards is still preserved in the great library of the
Vatican in Rome; which is unlike most existing libraries in the fact that
on first entering no one would guess that it was a library, not a single
book being visible.

Of the ancient _armaria_ themselves no example now exists. They were of
wood, and therefore, of course, perishable. But we may, I think, argue from
analogy, that the doors of the cupboards were richly ornamented with
painted decorations, thus forming an elaborate dado or _podium_ below the
row of portrait reliefs which occupied the upper part of the walls.

_Booksellers' quarter._

The principal quarter in Rome for the shops of booksellers (_bibliopolae_
or _librarii_) appears to have been the _Argiletum_, which (in Imperial
times) was an important street running into the Forum Romanum between the
Curia and the Basilica Aemilia; see Mart. I. 3, 117[13].

For ancient manuscripts or autograph works of famous authors large prices
were often paid. Aristotle is said to have given three talents (about £750)
for an autograph manuscript of Speusippus, and a manuscript of Virgil's
second book of the _Aeneid_, thought to be the author's own copy, sold for
twenty _aurei_, more than £20 in modern value; see Aul. Gell. III. 17, and
II. 3.

_Cost of new books._
_Slave scribes._

But ordinary copies of newly published works, even by popular authors,
appear to have been but little more expensive than books of this class are
at the present day. The publisher and bookseller Tryphon could sell
Martial's first book of _Epigrams_ at a profit for two _denarii_--barely
two shillings in modern value; see Mart. XIII. 3. It may seem strange that
written manuscripts should not have been much more costly than printed
books, but when one considers how they were produced the reason is evident.
Atticus, the Sosii and other chief publishers of Rome owned a large number
of slaves who were trained to be neat and rapid scribes. Fifty or a hundred
of these slaves could write from the dictation of one reader, and thus a
small edition of a new volume of Horace's _Odes_ or Martial's _Epigrams_
could be produced with great rapidity and at very small cost[14].

Little capital would be required for the education of the slave-scribes,
and when once they were taught, the cost of their labour would be little
more than the small amount of food which was necessary to keep them alive
and in working order.

Cicero (_Att._ II. 4) speaks of the publisher Atticus selling manuscripts
produced in this way by slave labour on a large scale.


The name _librarius_ was given not only to the booksellers, but also to
slave librarians, and to scribes, the latter being sometimes distinguished
by the name _scriptores librarii_. _Librarii antiquarii_ were writers who
were specially skilled in copying ancient manuscripts. The word _scriba_
commonly denotes a _secretary_ rather than what we should now call a

In Athens a class of booksellers, [Greek: bibliographoi], appears to have
existed as early as the fifth century B.C.; see Poll. VII. 211. The name
[Greek: bibliopôlai] was subsequently used, and adopted by the Romans.


_Parchment and vellum._

_Parchment._ With regard to the preparation of parchment and other kinds of
skin for writing on (_Pergamena_ and _Membrana_) there is little to be
said. The skins of many different animals have been used for this purpose
both in classical and mediaeval times, especially skins of calves, sheep,
goats and pigs. Unlike manuscripts on papyrus, parchment or vellum[16]
manuscripts were usually covered with writing on both sides, since the ink
does not show through from one side to the other, as it is liable to do on
the more absorbent and spongy papyrus paper. For this reason complete or
partial erasures were much easier to execute on vellum than on papyrus. The
writing was first sponged so as to remove the surface ink, and the traces
that still remained were got rid of by rubbing the surface of the vellum
with pumice stone. In some cases the manuscript was erased from the whole
of a vellum codex or roll, and the cleaned surface then used to receive
fresh writing.


_Palimpsests_; manuscripts of this class, on twice-used vellum, were called
_palimpsests_ ([Greek: palimpsêstos]); see Cic. _Fam._ vii. 18. Several
important texts, such as the legal work of Gaius, have been recovered by
laboriously deciphering the not wholly obliterated writing on these
palimpsests. During the early mediaeval period, when classical learning was
little valued, many a dull treatise of the schoolmen or other theological
work of small interest was written over the obliterated text of some much
earlier and more valuable classical author.

_Papyrus MSS._

In some cases it appears that papyrus manuscripts were made into
palimpsests, but probably not very often, as it would be difficult to erase
the ink on a roll of papyrus without seriously injuring the surface of the

Moreover as papyrus manuscripts were only written on one side of the paper,
the back was free to receive new writing without any necessity to rub out
the original text. The recently discovered treatise by Aristotle on the
_Political Constitution of Athens_ has some monetary accounts written on
the back of the papyrus by some unphilosophical man of business not many
years later than the date of the original treatise.

_Papyrus paper._

_Papyrus paper._ The ancient methods employed in the preparation of papyrus
paper (_charta_) can be clearly made out by the evidence of existing
examples aided by the minute but not wholly accurate description given by
Pliny, _Hist. Nat._ XIII. 71 to 83.

_Papyrus plant._

The papyrus plant, the _Cyperus Papyrus_ of Linnaeus, (Greek [Greek:
byblos]) is a very tall, handsome variety of reed which grows in marshes
and shallows along the sides of streams of water. The plant has at the top
a very graceful tufted bunch of foliage; its stem averages from three to
four inches in diameter, and the total height of the plant is from ten to
twelve feet.

It grows in many places in Syria, in the Euphrates valley and in Nubia. In
Egypt itself it is now extinct, but it was abundant there in ancient times,
especially in the Delta of the Nile.

The only spot in Europe where the papyrus plant grows in a wild state is
near Syracuse in the little river Anapus, where it was probably introduced
by the Arab conquerors in the eighth or ninth century A.D.

It grows here in great abundance and sometimes nearly blocks up the stream
so that a boat can scarcely get along.

The stem of the papyrus consists of a soft, white, spongy or cellular pith
surrounded by a thin, smooth, green rind. Papyrus paper ([Greek: biblia] or
[Greek: chartês]) was wholly made from the cellular pith. The method of
manufacture was as follows.

_Process of manufacture._

The long stem of the plant was first cut up into convenient pieces of a
foot or more in length; the pith in each piece was then very carefully and
evenly cut with a sharp knife into thin slices. These slices were then laid
side by side, their edges touching but not overlapping, on the smooth
surface of a wooden table which was slightly inclined to let the
superfluous sap run off, as it was squeezed out of the slices of pith by
gentle blows from a smooth wooden mallet. When by repeated beating the
layer of pith had been hammered down to a thinner substance, and a great
deal of the sap had drained off, some fine paste made of wheat-flour was
carefully brushed over the whole surface of the pith. A second layer of
slices of pith, previously prepared by beating, was then laid crosswise on
the first layer made adhesive by the paste, so that the slices in the
second layer were at right angles to those of the first. The beating
process was then repeated, the workmen being careful to get rid of all
lumps or inequalities, and the beating was continued till the various
slices of pith in the two layers were thoroughly united and amalgamated

_Use of many layers._
_Sizes of papyrus._

For the best sort of papyrus these processes were repeated a third and
sometimes even a fourth time, the separate slices in each layer being cut
much thinner than in the coarser sorts of paper which consisted of two
layers only. The next process was to dry and press the paper; after which
its surface was carefully smoothed and polished with an ivory
burnisher[17]; its rough edges were trimmed, and it was then ready to be
made up into sheets or rolls. There was nothing in the method of
manufacture to limit strictly the size of the papyrus sheets ([Greek:
selides], _paginae_) either in breadth or length; the workmen could lay
side by side as many slices of the pith as he liked, and slices of great
length might have been cut out of the long stem of the _papyrus_.
Practically, however, it was found convenient to make the paper in rather
small sheets; twelve to sixteen inches are the usual widths of papyrus

_Union of the sheets._
_Long rolls._

The reason of this obviously was that it would have been impossible to cut
slices of great length to the requisite thinness and evenness of substance,
and so papyrus manuscripts are always made up of a large number of separate
sheets carefully pasted together. This was very skilfully done by workmen
who (in Pliny's time) were called _glutinatores_; cf. Cic. _Att._ IV. 4.
The two adjacent edges of the sheets, which were to be joined together by
lapping, were thinned down by careful rubbing to about half their original
substance. The two laps were then brushed over with paste, accurately
applied together, and the union was then completed by beating with the
wooden mallet. When the pasted joint was dry it was rubbed and polished
with the ivory burnisher till scarcely any mark of the joining remained. In
this way long rolls were formed, often fifty feet or more in length; as a
rule, however, excessive length for a single roll was inconvenient. Pliny
mentions 20 sheets as being an ordinary limit. Thus, for example, in such
works as Homer's _Iliad_ or Virgil's _Aeneid_, each _book_ would form a
separate _volumen_ or roll (Greek [Greek: kylindros] or [Greek: tomos]).

The invention of papyrus paper dates from an early period in the history of
Egypt. Examples still exist which are as early as 2300 B.C., and its
manufacture was probably known long before that.

_Papyrus used in Greece._

In later times Egyptian papyrus was an important article of export into
many countries. An Attic inscription of the year 407 B.C. tells us what the
cost of paper then was in Athens; two sheets ([Greek: chartai duo]) cost
two drachmae and four obols, equal in modern value to about four shillings;
see _C. I. A._ I. 324. The [Greek: chartai] in this case probably mean, not
a single page, but several sheets pasted together to form a roll.

_Papyrus made in Rome._
_Old MSS. on papyrus._

In Pliny's time paper was made not only in Egypt but also in Rome and at
other places in Italy[18]. The best kind was formerly called _Hieratica_,
because it was used in Egypt for sacred hieroglyphic writing only. In later
times this finest quality, in Rome at least, was called _Augusta_, and the
second quality _Liviana_, from Livia the wife of Augustus. A coarse variety
used for wrapping up parcels and the like was called "shop-paper,"
_emporetica_. Pliny also tells us that paper was manufactured of many
different breadths, varying from about four to eighteen inches. The
commonest width was about twelve inches; see Pliny, _Hist. Nat._ XIII. 71
to 83. In the last of these paragraphs Pliny mentions examples of old
papyrus manuscripts existing in his time, such as manuscripts in the
handwriting of Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, which were nearly two centuries
old. Manuscripts written by Cicero, Augustus and Virgil are, he says, still
frequently to be seen.

With regard to the antiquity of paper Pliny's views are far from correct.
He thinks paper was first made in Egypt in the time of Alexander the Great
(_Hist. Nat._ XIII. 79), whereas, as is mentioned above, papyrus paper of
fine quality was certainly made in Egypt nearly 2000 years before the time
of Alexander, and probably much earlier.

_Paper of fine quality._

The best kinds of papyrus paper are close in texture, with a smooth
surface, very pleasant to write upon with a reed pen, and adapted to
receive miniature paintings of great refinement and delicacy of touch. To
prevent the ink spreading or soaking into the paper, it was as a final
process sometimes soaked in size made of fish-bones or gum and water,
exactly as modern linen paper is sized. The colour of the papyrus is a pale
brown, very pleasant to the eye, and excellent as a background to the
painted decorations.

_Fibrous texture._

When it was first made, papyrus paper must have been extremely durable and
tough owing to its compound structure with two or more fibrous layers
placed cross-wise. The parallel fibrous lines of the pith are very visible
on the surface of papyrus paper; and these regular lines served as a guide
to the scribe when writing, so that when papyrus was used it was not
necessary to cover the page with ruled lines to keep the writing even, as
had to be done when the manuscript was on vellum.

In a papyrus manuscript the pages of writing are set side by side, across
the roll, with a small margin between each page or column.

_Greek examples of papyrus rolls._

A small terra-cotta statuette[19] of about the fifth or fourth century B.C.
found at Salamis in Cyprus in 1890, shows a Greek scribe writing on a long
papyrus roll placed on a low table before which he is sitting.

Among Greek vase paintings of the same date a not uncommon subject is the
poetess Sappho reading from a papyrus roll. A fourth century vase with this
subject in the Central Museum in Athens shows Sappho holding a manuscript
on which the following words are inscribed (supplying missing letters and
correcting blunders)

      [Greek: ANGELOS NEÔN UMNÔN.]

By the figure of Sappho is inscribed the beginning of her name, [Greek:
SAP] in letters of archaistic form.

_Sappho reading._

A very similar design occurs on a beautiful gem in the British Museum (B.M.
_Cat. of gems_, No. 556), which appears to date from the latter part of the
fifth century B.C. A very graceful female figure, probably meant for
Sappho, is represented seated on a chair with high curved back. She is
reading from a manuscript roll which she holds by the two rolled up ends,
holding one in each hand.

This method of holding a papyrus manuscript is shown very clearly on a vase
in the British Museum on which the same motive is painted. The lady
(Sappho) holds the two rolled up portions of the manuscript, stretching
tight the intermediate portion on which is the column of writing which she
is reading.

_Umbilicus or roller._

As the reader progressed the paper was unrolled from the roll held in the
right hand, and the part just read was rolled up in the left-hand roll.
These Greek representations do not usually show any stick or roller for the
manuscript to be rolled round; but in Roman times a wooden or ivory roller
([Greek: omphalos], _umbilicus_) was used as the core of the roll; and the
end of the long strip of papyrus by the last page or column of text was
pasted on to it. The ends of the _umbilicus_ were often fitted with a round
knob or boss, which was decorated with gilding or colour. The edges of the
papyrus roll were smoothed with pumice-stone (_pumice mundus_), and the
whole manuscript was often provided with a vellum case, which was stained a
bright colour, red, purple or yellow. Tibullus (_El._ III. i. 9) alludes to
these ornamental methods,

  _Lutea sed niveum involvat membrana libellum.
  Pumex et canas tondeat ante comas;_

  _Atque inter geminas pingantur cornua frontes._

The _frontes_ are the edges of the roll, and the _cornua_ are the
projecting portions of the two wooden rollers.

_Inscribed titles._

The title of the manuscript was written on a ticket or slip of vellum,
which hung down from the closed roll like the pendant seal of a mediaeval
document. Thus when a number of manuscripts were piled on the shelf of an
_armarium_ the pendants hanging down from the ends of the rolls indicated
plainly what the books were, without the necessity of pulling them from
their place.

Small numbers of rolls, especially manuscripts which had to be carried
about, were often kept in round drum-like boxes (_capsae_ or _scrinia_),
with loop handles to carry them by.

_Coloured inks._

Much of the beauty of an ancient manuscript depended on the use of red or
purple ink for _headings_, _indices_ and _marginal glosses_. As Pliny says
(_Hist. Nat._ XXXIII. 122) _minium in voluminum quoque scriptura

The use of purple ink for the _index_ is mentioned by Martial in his
epigram _Ad librum suum_ (III. 2) where he sums up the various methods of
decoration which in his time were applied to manuscripts,

  _Cedro nunc licet ambules perunctus,
  Et frontis gemino decens honore
  Pictis luxurieris umbilicis;
  Et te purpura delicata velet,
  Et cocco rubeat superbus index._

_Use of oil._

The oil of cedar wood, mentioned in the first of these lines, was smeared
over the back of papyrus manuscripts to preserve them from book-worms.

The act of unrolling a manuscript to read it was called _explicare_, and
when the reader had come to the end it was _opus explicitum_. In mediaeval
times from the false analogy of the word (_hic_) _incipit_, a verb
_explicit_ was invented, and was often written at the end of _codices_ to
show that the manuscript was complete to the end, though, strictly speaking
the word is only applicable to a _roll_.

_Mediaeval use of papyrus._

The use of papyrus paper for manuscripts to some extent continued till
mediaeval times. Papyrus manuscripts of the sixth and seventh century A.D.
are not uncommon, and, long after vellum had superseded papyrus paper for
the writing of books, short documents, such as letters, Papal deeds and the
like, were still frequently written on papyrus. Papal _Briefs_ on papyrus
still exist which were written as late as the eleventh century.

_Black ink._
_Carbon ink._

The _black ink_ which was used for classical manuscripts was of the kind
now known as "Indian" or more correctly "Chinese ink," which cannot be kept
in a fluid state, but has to be rubbed up with water from day to day as it
is required. One of the menial offices which Aeschines when a boy had to
perform in his father's school was "rubbing the ink," [Greek: to melan
tribôn]; see Demos. _De Corona_, p. 313. This kind of ink ([Greek: melan]
or [Greek: melanion], _atramentum librarium_) simply consists of finely
divided particles of carbon, mixed with gum or with size made by boiling
down shreds of parchment. It was obtained by burning a resinous substance
and collecting the soot on a cold flat surface, from which it could
afterwards be scraped off. The soot had then to be very finely ground,
mixed with a gummy medium and then moulded into shape and dried. The
process is described by Pliny, _Hist. Nat._ XXXV. 41; and better still by
Vitruvius, VII. 10.

_Black pigment._

A variety of this carbon pigment used for pictures on stucco by
wall-painters was called _atramentum tectorium_, modern "lamp-black"; the
only difference between this and writing ink was in the kind of glutinous
medium used with it. Careful scribes probably prepared their own ink, as
the writers of mediaeval manuscripts usually did. The common commercial
black ink of about 300 A.D. was sold at a very cheap rate, as is recorded
in an inscription containing part of Diocletian's famous edict which was
found at Megalopolis and published by Mr Loring (_Jour. Hell. Stud._ Vol.
XI., 1890, p. 318, line 46). Under the heading "Pens and ink," [Greek: Peri
kalamôn kai melaniou], the price of ink, [Greek: melanion], is fixed at 12
small copper coins the pound.

Very great skill is required to prepare carbon ink of the finest quality.
Though it is now largely manufactured in Europe, none but the Chinese can
make ink of the best sort.

In some places sepia ink from the cuttle-fish was used in ancient times;
see Persius, _Sat._ III. 12; and cf. Pliny, _Hist. Nat._ XI. 8, and XXXII.

_Red inks._

The _red ink_ used for ancient manuscripts was of three different kinds,
namely red lead, vermilion or sulphuret of mercury, and red ochre. The
ancient names for these red pigments were used very indiscriminately,
[Greek: miltos], _minium_, _cinnabaris_ and _rubrica_. In some cases
[Greek: miltos] certainly means the costly vermilion; and again the word is
also used both for red lead and for the much cheaper red ochre. The latter
appears to be always meant by the name [Greek: miltos Sinôpis]; see Choisy,
_Inscrip. Lebadeia_, p. 197. The Latin words _minium_ and _rubrica_ are
used in the same vague way; see Vitruv. VII. 9; and Pliny, _Hist. Nat._
XXXV. 31 to 35.

In mediaeval manuscripts red ink (_rubrica_) was largely used not only for
headings and glosses, but also in Service books for the ritual directions,
which have hence taken the name of _rubrics_.

_Purple ink._

The  purple ink (_coccus_), which Martial mentions in the passage quoted
above at page 27, was made from the _kermes_ beetle, which lives on the
ilex trees of Greece and Asia Minor. This was one of the most important of
the ancient dyes for woven stuffs and it was also used as a pigment by
painters; see below, page 246.

_Double inkstands._

The  inkstands of  ancient scribes  were  commonly made double, to hold
both black and red ink. Many examples of these from Egypt and elsewhere
still exist, and they are shown in many of the Pompeian wall-paintings.
They usually are in the form of two bronze cylinders linked together, each
with a lid which is attached by a little chain. Other inkstands are single,
little round boxes of bronze, in shape like a large pill-box. Another
method, specially common in ancient Egypt, was for the scribe to carry
about his ink, both black and red, in a solid form; he then rubbed up with
water just as much as he needed at the time. The box and palette mentioned
below was made for this use of solid inks, except that the whole thing,
handle and all, is made out of one piece of metal.

_Reed pens._

The pens used by ancient writers of manuscripts were mainly some variety of
reed ([Greek: kalamos], _calamus_ or _canna_), cut diagonally to a point
like a modern quill pen. Great numbers of reed pens have been found in
Egyptian tombs and also in Pompeii; they exactly resemble those still used
in Egypt and in Oriental countries generally.

_Metal pens._

Metal pens were also used by Greek and Roman scribes. Examples both in
silver and bronze have been found in Greece and in Italy, shaped very much
like a modern steel pen[20].

_Scribes' palettes._

In some cases manuscripts were written with a fine brush instead of a pen,
especially the hieroglyphic manuscripts of ancient Egypt. Many combined
scribes' palettes and brush cases have been found in Egyptian tombs. These
are long slips of wood, partly hollowed to hold the brushes, and with two
cup-like sinkings at one end for the writer to rub up his cakes of black
and red ink.

In Egyptian manuscripts red ink is used much more copiously than either in
Greek or Latin manuscripts. Very often the scribe writes his columns
alternately in black and red for the sake of the decorative appearance of
the page.


Egyptian pen-cases in the form of a bronze tube about ¾ inch in diameter
and 10 inches long with a tightly fitting cap have frequently been found.
The British Museum possesses good examples of these, and of the other
writing implements here described.

_Reed pens._

The above-mentioned passage in the _Edict of Diocletian_ (see page 28)
gives the prices of reed pens ([Greek: kalamoi]) of various qualities. The
difference is very great between the best and the inferior kinds of pens;
the best quality appears to have been made from the long single joint of a

There is no evidence that quill pens were used in classical times, but it
is difficult to believe that so natural an expedient never occurred to any
ancient scribe, especially when the use of vellum for manuscripts came in;
for papyrus paper the softer reed pen would be more convenient than a
quill, and indeed for all the earlier sort of Greek and Latin writing in
large _uncial_ characters. It is only for the smaller _cursive_ writing
that a quill would be as suitable as a reed pen.

The inscription mentioned at p. 24 as giving the cost of paper in Athens in
407 B.C. is part of a record of the expenses of building the Erechtheum. It
also mentions the purchase for 4 drachmae of 4 wooden writing-tablets,

  [Greek: chartai eônêthêsan duo, es has ta antigrapha enegrapsamen]
                                                              |- |- | | | |
  [Greek: Sanides tettares]                                     |- |- |- |-




The mediaeval phrase _illuminated manuscript_ means a manuscript which is
"lighted up" with coloured decoration in the form of ornamental
initial-letters or painted miniatures. Dante speaks of "The art which in
Paris is called illuminating,"

                         _... quell' arte
  Che alluminare è chiamata in Parisi_; _Purg._ XI. 80.

_Use of minium._

The important use that was made of red paint (_minium_) in the decoration
of manuscripts led to the painter being called a _miniator_, whence the
pictures that he executed in manuscripts were called _miniature_ or
_miniatures_. Finally the word _miniature_ was extended in meaning to imply
any painting on a _minute_ scale[21]. Originally, however, it was only
applied to the painted decorations of manuscripts.

_Egyptian miniatures._

The Egyptian manuscript "Books of the Dead" are very copiously illuminated
with painted miniatures, both in the form of ornamental borders along the
edge of the papyrus, and also with larger compositions which occupy the
whole depth of the roll.

It is difficult to say to what extent illuminated manuscripts were known to
the ancient Greeks, but they were certainly not uncommon in Rome towards
the close of the Republic; and it may fairly be assumed that it was from
the Greeks that the very inartistic Romans derived the custom of decorating
manuscripts with painted miniatures.

_Illustrations in Roman MSS._

Pliny tells us (_Hist. Nat._ XXXV. 11) that a number of manuscripts in the
library of M. Varro in the first century B.C. contained no less than 700
portraits of illustrious personages.

That the original manuscript of Vitruvius' work on _Architecture_ was
illustrated with explanatory pictures is shown by the frequent reference in
the text to these lost illustrations which are mentioned as being at the
end of the work; _e.g._ see III., _Praef._, 4.

A manuscript written in letters of gold is mentioned by Suetonius (_Nero_,
10); this was a copy of Nero's own poem which was publicly read aloud to an
audience on the Capitol, and was then deposited in the Temple of Jupiter

_Writing in gold._

Again, two centuries later the mother of Maximus, who was titular Caesar
from 235 to 238 A.D., is said to have given him a manuscript of Homer's
poems written in gold letters on purple vellum; see Jul. Capit., _Max.

There is, in short, abundant evidence to show that illuminated manuscripts
were common among the Romans of the Imperial period; and there is a very
strong probability that manuscripts decorated with miniatures were no less
frequent in the great libraries of the Ptolemies and of the Attalid kings,
in fact throughout the Greek world from the time of Alexander the Great
downwards, if not earlier still.

_Greek miniatures._

Some notion of the great beauty of the illustrations in Greek manuscripts
may perhaps be gathered from an examination of the masterly and delicately
graceful drawings incised in outline which decorate the finest of the Greek
bronze _cistae_. Nothing could surpass the perfect beauty of the outline
engravings on the so-called _Ficoronian cista_, which is now preserved in
the Museo del Collegio Romano in Rome. Part of this series representing
scenes from the adventures of the Argonauts is shown on fig. 1.

_Two sources of knowledge._

With regard to the general scheme of decoration in classical manuscripts,
we have the evidence of a few existing examples dating from about the time
of Constantine, and also a large number of copies of Roman
manuscript-pictures of earlier date than the third century A.D., which are
to be seen in various Italian and Byzantine manuscripts of the eleventh and
twelfth centuries.

[Illustration: Fig. 1. Part of the drawing engraved on the bronze _cista_
of Ficoroni, dating from the early part of the fourth century B.C. A
beautiful example of Greek drawing.]

_Isolated pictures._
_Mediaeval method._

The evidence derived from these two sources leads to the conclusion that as
a rule the illuminations in classical manuscripts were treated as separate
pictures, each surrounded with a simple painted frame, and not closely
linked to the text in the characteristic mediaeval fashion. The mediaeval
method, by often introducing miniature paintings within the boundary of
large initial letters, and by surrounding the page with borders of foliage
which grow out of the chief initials of the text, makes the decoration an
essential part of the whole and creates a close union between the literary
and the ornamental parts of the book, which is very unlike the usual
ancient system of having a plainly written text with isolated miniature
paintings introduced at intervals throughout the pages of the book.

_Iliad of the 4th century._

_Manuscript of the Iliad at Milan_; of all existing Greek or Latin
manuscripts none gives a better notion of the style of illuminations used
in manuscripts of the best Graeco-Roman period than the fragments of
Homer's _Iliad_ which are preserved in the Biblioteca Ambrogiana in Milan.

These fragments consist of fifty-eight miniature paintings, which have been
cut out of a folio manuscript on vellum of Homer's _Iliad_, dating probably
from the latter part of the fourth century A.D. The mutilator of this
_codex_ seems only to have cared to preserve the pictures, and the only
portion of the text which still exists is about eight hundred not
consecutive lines which happen to be written on the backs of the paintings.
Great additional interest is given to this priceless fragment by the fact
that the miniatures are much older in style than the date of the manuscript
itself, and have evidently been copied from a much earlier Greek original.

_Older Greek style._

And more than that; these paintings take one back further still; their
rhythmical composition, the dignity of their motives, the simplicity of the
planes, and the general largeness of style which is specially noticeable in
some of the miniatures representing fighting armies of gods and heroes, all
suggest that we have here a record, weakened and debased though it may be,
of some grand series of mural decorations on a large scale, dating possibly
from the best period of Greek art.

_Hellenic models._

As is naturally the case with copies of noble designs executed at a period
of extreme decadence these paintings are very unequal in style, combining
feebleness of touch and coarseness of detail with great spirit in the
action of the figures and great dignity in the compositions, which have
numerous figures crowded without confusion of line, thus suggesting large
scale though the paintings are actually miniatures only five or six inches
long. The treatment of gods and heroes, especially Zeus, Apollo, Achilles
and others, has much that recalls fine Hellenic models. And some of the
personifications, such as _Night_ and the river _Scamander_, possess a
gracefulness of pose and beauty of form which was far beyond the conception
of any fourth century artist.

It should, however, be observed that a fine Hellenic origin is not
suggested by all the fifty-eight pictures from this _Iliad_. Some of them
are obviously of later and inferior style, with weak scattered
compositions, very unlike the nobility and decorative completeness of the
best among the miniatures.

_Scheme of colour._

With regard to the arrangement of these pictures, each is surrounded by a
simple frame formed of bands of blue and red; in most cases the miniatures
reach across the whole width of the page. The colouring is heavy, painted
in opaque _tempera_ pigments with an undue preponderance of _minium_ or red
lead. White lead, yellow, brown and red ochres are largely used, together
with a variety of vegetable colours and the purple-red of the _kermes_
beetle (_coccus_), but no gold is used, a bright yellow ochre being
employed as a substitute[22].

The costumes are partly ancient Greek and partly of later Roman fashion. A
nimbus encircles each deity's head, and different colours are used to
distinguish them. The nimbus of Zeus is purple, that of Venus is green;
those of the other gods are mostly blue. To a large extent the backgrounds
of the pictures are not painted, but the creamy white of the vellum is left

_The Vatican Virgil._

_The Virgil of the Vatican_; next in importance to the Ambrosian _Iliad_,
among the existing examples of classical illuminated manuscripts, comes the
manuscript of Virgil's poems (_Vat._ No. 3225) which is supposed to have
been written in the third or more probably the fourth century A.D. The text
is written in large handsome capitals, well formed except that all the
cross lines are too short, T, for example being written thus [Symbol: T
with short curled arms].

The whole manuscript, but especially the _Aeneid_, is decorated with
pictures, fifty in all, each framed by a simple border of coloured bands.
The style of these miniatures is very different and artistically very
inferior to that of the Ambrosian _Iliad_.

_Miniatures of the 5th century._

The whole of the designs, in composition and drawing and in the costumes of
the figures, are those of the fourth century. The details are coarse, the
attitudes devoid of spirit, and the figures clumsy. The backgrounds are
painted in and the colouring is dull in tone and heavy in texture, put in
with a considerable body of pigment (_impasto_). Gold, not in leaf but as a
fluid pigment, is largely used for high lights on trees, mountains, roofs
of buildings, and for the folds of drapery, especially where the stuff is
red or purple. The male figures have flesh of a reddish-brown tint like
many of the Pompeian wall paintings; they wear short tunics with cloaks
thrown over the shoulders. Other figures wear a long _dalmatica_ or tunic,
ornamented with two vertical purple stripes, closely resembling the tunics
which have recently been found in such abundance in the late Roman tombs of
the Fayoum in Upper Egypt.

_Period of decadence._

On the whole the miniatures are neither graceful nor highly decorative;
they were executed at about the low water mark of classical artistic
decadence shortly before the Byzantine revival under Justinian. Much that
has been written in their praise must be attributed to antiquarian
enthusiasm rather than to just criticism[24].

[Illustration: Fig. 2. Miniature of classical design from a twelfth century
_Psalter_ in the Vatican library.]

Before passing on to another class of manuscripts it should be noted that
there is in existence one manuscript of the fourth or fifth century A.D.
which is of special interest on account of its being ornamented, not only
with miniature pictures, but also with some decorative designs of a stiff
conventional character. This is a Roman _Kalendar_, which forms part of a
manuscript in the Imperial library in Vienna. The ornaments have but little
decorative merit, but they are of interest as showing that the
illuminations in classical manuscripts were not always confined to the
subject pictures.

_Copies of lost originals._

It has not as a rule been sufficiently noticed that the style of miniature
paintings in manuscripts of a considerably earlier date than either the
Ambrosian _Iliad_ or the Vatican Virgil is very fairly represented in
various manuscripts of the tenth to the twelfth century, the illuminators
of which have evidently copied, as accurately as they were able, miniatures
in manuscripts of the first or second century A.D.

The originals of these early Roman manuscripts do not now exist, and
therefore the information as to their style and composition, which is given
in the mediaeval copies, is of great interest.

_Classical design._
_Graeco-Roman design._

A Greek twelfth century _Psalter_ in the Vatican library (No. 381) has one
special picture which is obviously a careful copy of a miniature painting
of the first century A.D. or even earlier: see fig. 2. The subject is
Orpheus seated on a rock playing to a circle of listening beasts together
with two nymphs and a youthful Faun or shepherd. These figures are arranged
so as to form a very graceful composition in a landscape with hills and
trees. The figures are extremely graceful both in outline and in pose,
showing a considerable trace of Greek influence. The whole design closely
resembles in style some of the wall paintings in the so-called "House of
Livia" on the Palatine Hill in Rome, of which fig. 3 shows the scene of Io
watched by Argus, and those in the now destroyed villa which was discovered
by the Tiber bank in the Farnesina Gardens[25], and many of the better
class of paintings on the walls of the houses of Pompeii. Of the latter a
good example is shown in fig. 4, a painting the design of which has much
fine Hellenic feeling in the grace of its form and the simplicity of the

[Illustration: Fig. 3. Painting in the "House of Livia" on the Palatine
Hill in Rome.]

_Orpheus made into David._

Returning now to the above mentioned _Psalter_ of the Vatican, the scribe,
probably a Greek monk, who in the twelfth century painted this
miniature[26], converted it into quite a different subject, that of David
playing on the harp, by the simple device of ticketing each figure with a
newly devised name. Orpheus is called "David," one of the Nymphs who sits
affectionately close to Orpheus, probably meant for his wife Eurydice, is
labelled "Sophia", "wisdom"; while the other two figures are converted into
local personifications to indicate the locality of the scene.

It is not often that a mediaeval copyist has thus preserved unaltered the
composition of a whole subject of classical and pre-Christian date, but it
is not uncommon to find single figures or parts of pictorial designs of
equally early date among the illuminations of the ninth to the twelfth

_Graeco-Roman personifications._

As an example of this we may mention one painting in a Greek _Psalter_ of
the tenth century in the Paris library (_Bibl. Nat._ No. 139). This
represents the Prophet Isaiah standing, gazing up to heaven, in a very
beautiful landscape with trees growing from a richly flower-spangled sward.
The somewhat stiff figure of the Prophet is Byzantine[27] rather than
Classical in style, but the other two figures which are introduced are
purely Graeco-Roman in design. On one side is a personification of Night
([Greek: NUX]), a very graceful standing female figure with part of her
drapery floating in the wind, forming a sort of curved canopy over her
head, such as is so often represented above the heads of goddesses or
nymphs on the reliefs of fine Graeco-Roman sarcophagi.

On the other side of the Prophet is a winged boy, like a youthful Eros,
bearing a torch to symbolize the dawn.

[Illustration: Fig. 4. A Pompeian painting of Hellenic style, as an example
of Greek drawing and composition.]

_Classical style._

The bold and very decorative, yet almost realistic treatment of the foliage
of the trees and of the flowers which are sprinkled among the grass is
purely classical in style, and the whole miniature shows that the tenth
century illuminator had before him some very fine manuscript of early
Imperial date. From this he has selected a picture which might by omissions
and modifications be adapted to his subject; and for the figure of the
Prophet he has fallen back on another less ancient original, but still one
which must have been several centuries older than his own time.

This is the explanation of what at first seems so strange a union in the
same painting of very graceful single figures by the side of others which
are rigid and awkward; and again, great skill shown in the drawing of the
individual figures combined with a feeble and clumsy arrangement of the
whole composition.

_Byzantine style._

Fig. 5 shows a miniature of very similar style representing the Prophet
Ezechiel in the Valley of dry bones. It is taken from a manuscript of the
_Sermons_ of Saint Gregory Nazianzen, which was written for the Byzantine
Emperor Basil who reigned from 867 to 886. This figure chiefly illustrates
the Byzantine, not the Classical element in the miniatures of this mixed
style of art, though there is also a clear trace of Graeco-Roman influence
in the finely designed drapery of the Prophet.

The curious union of two utterly different styles is well exemplified in
another of the miniatures in the last mentioned _Psalter_. Here David is
represented like a Byzantine Emperor crowned and wearing the richly
embroidered _toga picta_, and holding an open book. The figure might well
pass for a representation of the Emperor Justinian, and the original
painting was probably of that date, of the early part of the sixth century.

_Graeco-Roman figures._

On each side of the Byzantine David is a female figure draped with most
gracefully designed folds of pure Graeco-Roman style, a most striking
contrast to the central figure. Who these ladies represented in the
original manuscript it is impossible to say, but the painter who in the
tenth century illuminated the _Psalter_ called them _Wisdom_ and
_Prophecy_, writing by them the names _Sophia_ and _Prophetia_.

[Illustration: Fig. 5. The Prophet Ezechiel from a Byzantine manuscript of
the ninth century A.D.]

_Value of late copies._

Many other examples might be given to show that a truer notion of classical
illuminated manuscripts of the best Graeco-Roman style can be gained from a
study of the works of mediaeval copyists than from manuscripts which,
though older, are of late and debased style like the famous illuminated
Virgil of the Vatican[28].

After Rome had ceased to be the seat of government, Constantinople became
the chief centre for the production of illuminated manuscripts[29], but
nevertheless the older classical style of drawing to some extent did
survive in Italy, though in a very debased form, down to the thirteenth
century, when Cimabue and his pupil Giotto inaugurated the brilliant
Renaissance of Italian painting.

_Classical survival._

The _Gospels_, for example, which St Augustine is said to have brought with
him to Britain in 597 A.D., have paintings, enthroned figures of the
Evangelists, which in design and colour are purely of late Roman style,
unchanged by the then wide-spread influence of Byzantine art.



_Byzantine style._

The history of the origin, development and decay of the Byzantine style in
manuscripts, as in other branches of art, is a long and strange one[30].
The origin of the Byzantine style dates from the time when Christianity had
become the State religion, and when Constantine transferred the Capital of
the World from Rome to Byzantium.

In Russia and other eastern portions of Europe the Byzantine style still
exists, though in a sad state of decay, not as an antiquarian revival, but
as the latest link in a chain of unbroken tradition, going back without
interruption to the age of Constantine, the early part of the fourth
century after Christ.

_Many strains of influence._

During the early years of the Eastern Empire, Constantinople, or "New Rome"
as it was commonly called, became the chief world's centre for the practice
of all kinds of arts and handicrafts. Owing to its central position, midway
between the East and the West, the styles and technique of both met and
were fused into a new stylistic development of the most remarkable kind.
Western Europe, Asia Minor, Persia and Egypt all contributed elements both
of design and of technical skill, which combined to create the new and for
a while vigorously flourishing school of Byzantine art. The dull lifeless
forms of Roman art in its extreme degradation were again quickened into new
life and beauty in the hands of these Byzantine craftsmen, who became as it
were the heirs and inheritors of the art and the technique of all the chief
countries of antiquity.

_Technical skill._

In architecture, in mosaic work, in metal work of all kinds, in textile
weaving, the craftsmen of New Rome reached the highest level of technical
skill and decorative beauty. So also a new and brilliant school of
manuscript illumination was soon formed, and Constantinople became for
several centuries the chief centre for the production of manuscripts of all

The Oriental element in Byzantine art shows itself in a love of extreme
splendour, the most copious use of gold and silver and of the brightest

_Murex purple._

Manuscripts written in burnished gold, on vellum stained with the brilliant
purple from the _murex_ shell, were largely produced, especially for the
private use of the Byzantine Emperors. This _murex_ purple, produced with
immense expenditure of labour, came to be considered the special mark of
Imperial rank[31]. A golden inkstand containing purple ink was kept by a
special official in waiting, and no one but the Emperor himself might,
under heavy penalties, use for any purpose the purple ink; and the
sumptuous gold and purple manuscripts were for a long time written only for
Imperial use.

_Gold and purple gospels._

The principal class of manuscripts which were written either in part or
wholly in this costly fashion were _Books of the Gospels_; and of these a
good many magnificent examples still exist, dating not only from the early
Byzantine period, but down to the ninth or tenth century. In these
manuscripts the burnished gold and the brilliantly coloured pigments which
are used for the illuminations are still as bright and fresh in appearance
as ever, but the _murex_ purple with which the vellum leaves were, not
painted, but dyed, has usually lost much of its original splendour of

_Monotony of style._

Before describing the characteristics of Byzantine illuminated manuscripts
it may be well to note that the Byzantine style is unique in the artistic
history of the world from the manner in which it rapidly was crystallized
into rigidly fixed forms, and then continued for century after century with
marvellously little modification or development either in colour, drawing
or composition.

This absence of any real living development was due to the fact that
paintings of all kinds in the Eastern Church, from a colossal mural picture
down to a manuscript miniature, were produced by ecclesiastics and for the
Church, under a strictly applied series of hieratic rules.

_Hieratic rules._

The drawing, the pose, the colours of the drapery of every Saint, and the
scheme of composition of all sacred figure subjects came gradually to be
defined by ecclesiastic rules, which each painter was bound to obey. Thus
it happens that during the many centuries which are covered by the
Byzantine style of art, though there are periods of decay and revival of
artistic skill, yet in style there is the most remarkable monotony. This
makes it specially difficult to judge from internal evidence of the date of
a Byzantine painting. In manuscripts the palaeographic, not the artistic
evidence, is the best guide, aided of course by various small technical
peculiarities, and also by the amount of skill and power of drawing which
is displayed in the paintings.

_Absence of change._

Long after the capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, the
Byzantine style of painting survived; and even at the present day the monks
of Mt Athos execute large wall paintings, which, as far as their style is
concerned, might appear to be the work of many centuries ago. M. Didron
found the monastic painters in one of the Mount Athos monasteries using a
treatise called the [Greek: Hermêneia tês zôgraphikês], in which directions
are given how every figure and subject is to be treated, and which
describes the old traditional forms without any perceptible
modification[32]. The proportions of the human form are laid down after the
characteristic slender Byzantine models, the complete body, for example,
being nine heads in height.

_5th century MS. of Genesis._
_Weak drawing._

The earliest Byzantine manuscript which is now known to exist is a fragment
of the _Book of Genesis_, now in the Imperial library of Vienna, which
dates from the latter part of the fifth century. This fragment consists of
twenty-four leaves of purple-dyed vellum, illuminated with miniatures on
both sides. In the main the designs are feeble in composition and weak in
drawing, belonging rather to the latest decadence of Roman classical art
than to the yet undeveloped Byzantine style, which was soon to grow into
great artistic spirit and strong decorative power, a completely new birth
of aesthetic conceptions, the brilliance of which is the more striking from
its following so closely on the degraded, lifeless, worn-out art of the
Western Empire. In this manuscript of _Genesis_ there is but little promise
of the Renaissance that was so near at hand. The drawing of each figure,
though sometimes graceful in pose, is rather weak, and the painter has
hardly aimed at anything like real composition; his figures merely stand in
long rows, with little or nothing to group them together. Fig. 6 shows
examples of two of the best miniatures, representing the story of the
accusation of Joseph by Potiphar's wife. In every way this _Genesis_
manuscript forms a striking contrast to the delicate beauty and strongly
decorative feeling which are to be seen in a work of but a few years later,
the famous _Dioscorides_ of the Princess Juliana.

_The Dioscorides of c. 500_ A.D.

Among all the existing Byzantine manuscripts perhaps the most important for
its remarkable beauty as well as its early date is this Greek _codex_[33]
of Dioscorides' work on _Botany_, which is now in the Imperial library in
Vienna[34], No. 5 in the Catalogue. The date of this manuscript can be
fixed to about the year 500 A.D. by the record which it contains of its
having been written and illuminated for the Princess Juliana Anicia, the
daughter of Flavius Anicius Olybrius who was Emperor for part of the year
472, and his wife Galla Placidia: Juliana Anicia died in 527.

[Illustration: Fig. 6. Miniature from the Vienna manuscript of _Genesis_.]

This beautiful manuscript, which was executed in Constantinople, contains
five large and elaborate miniatures, and a great number of vignettes
representing varieties of plants. The fifth of the large miniatures
consists of a central group framed by two squares interlaced within a
circle. The plait pattern on the bands which form the framework, and the
whole design closely resemble a fine mosaic pavement of the second century
A.D. The resemblance is far too close to be accidental; and indeed this
manuscript is not the only example we have of miniature painters copying
patterns and motives from mosaic floors of earlier date.

_Portrait figure._

The central group in this beautiful full page painting represents Juliana
Anicia, for whom the manuscript was written, enthroned between standing
allegorical female figures. Minutely painted figures of Cupids, engaged in
a variety of handicrafts and arts, fill up the small spaces in the

_Inferior paintings._

In these paintings we have a curious combination of different styles; the
enthroned figure of the Princess is of the stiff Byzantine style, while the
attendant figures and the little Cupids are almost purely classical in
drawing. This manuscript forms a link between the classical or Graeco-Roman
and the Christian or Byzantine style. Other paintings in the same
manuscript are very inferior in design, partaking of the late Roman
decadence, rather than of the better and earlier art of the above mentioned
picture. Fig. 7 shows one of these. It represents Dioscorides seated on a
sort of throne; in front is a female figure _Euresis_ (_Discovery_)
presenting to him the magic plant _mandragora_ (mandrake). The dying dog
refers to the popular belief, given by Josephus, as to the manner in which
the mandrake was gathered. When plucked from the ground the mandrake
uttered a scream which caused the death of any living creature that heard
it; it was therefore usual to tie a dog to the plant and retire to a safe
distance before calling it, and so causing the dog to drag the plant out of
the ground. On hearing the scream the dog dropped down dead. Cf. Shaks.,
_Romeo and Juliet_, IV. iii.

[Illustration: Fig. 7. Miniature from the manuscript of the work on
_Botany_ by Dioscorides, executed in Constantinople about 500 A.D.]

_Colours and gold._

The colours used in the _Dioscorides_ of Juliana are very brilliant,
especially the gorgeous ultramarine blue, and are glossy in surface owing
to the copious use of a gum medium. Gold is very largely and skilfully
used, especially to light up and emphasize the chief folds of the drapery,
a method which is very widely used in Byzantine art, both in the colossal
pictures of the wall-mosaics, and also in most of the finest class of
illuminated manuscripts.

_Cloisonné enamel._

In this use of gold, in thin delicate lines which strengthen the drawing,
we have a very distinct copyism of another quite different art, that of the
worker in enamelled gold, an art which was practised in Constantinople with
wonderful taste and skill. The kind of enamel which was so often imitated
by the manuscript illuminator is now called cloisonné enamel from the thin
slips of gold or _cloisons_ which separate one colour from another, and
mark out the chief lines of the design. So closely did many of the
illuminators copy designs in this cloisonné that very often one sees
manuscript miniatures which look at first sight as if they were actual
pieces of enamel. In other ways too the art of the goldsmith had
considerable influence on Byzantine illuminations; and the designs of the
mosaic-worker and the miniaturist acted and reacted upon each other, so
that we sometimes see an elaborate painting in a book which looks like a
design for a wall-mosaic; or again the gorgeous glass mosaics with gold
grounds on the vaults and walls of Byzantine churches frequently look like
magnified leaves cut out of some gorgeously illuminated manuscript.

_The pure Byzantine style._

It was only for a short period that manuscripts were executed at
Constantinople which, in their miniatures, were links between the classical
and the Byzantine style. Thus we find that the famous Greek manuscript of
_Cosmas Indopleustes_ in the Vatican library (No. 699) is of the pure and
fully developed Byzantine style, with its formal attitudes, its rigid
drapery, its lengthy proportions of figure, and stiff monotonous schemes of
composition, such as grew to be accepted as the one sacred style, and as
such has been preserved by the Eastern Church down to the present century.

This manuscript of Cosmas is certainly a work of Justinian's time, the
first half of the sixth century A.D., though it has usually been attributed
to the ninth century; it really is but little later than the Dioscorides of
Juliana, and yet it has but little trace of the older classical style,
either in drawing, composition or colour[35].

The Laurentian library in Florence possesses a manuscript of the _Gospels_
which, though poor as a work of art, has several points of special
interest. A contemporary note in the _codex_ records that it was written in
the year 586 by the Priest Rabula in the Monastery of St John at Zagba in

_Early crucifixion._

Its illuminations are weak in drawing, coarse in execution and harsh in
colouring, but one of them, representing the Crucifixion of our Lord
between the two thieves, is noticeable as being the earliest known example
of this subject. The primitive Christian Church avoided scenes representing
Christ's Death and Passion, preferring to suggest them only by means of
types and symbols taken from Old Testament History.

This and other subsequent paintings of the Crucifixion treat the subject in
a very conventional way, and it is not till about the thirteenth century
that we find the Death of Christ represented with anything like realism.

In the _Gospels_ of the Priest Rabula, Christ is represented crowned with
gold, not with thorns; He wears a long tunic of Imperial purple reaching to
the feet. The arms are stretched out horizontally, an impossible attitude
for a crucified person, and four nails are represented piercing the hands
and both feet separately.

_Oriental influence._

It appears to have been the gloomy Oriental influence that gradually
introduced scenes of martyrdom, with horrors of every description into
Christian art, which originally had been imbued with a far healthier and
more cheerful spirit, a survival from the wholesome classical treatment of
death and the grave. Hell with its revolting horrors and hideous demons was
an invention of a still later and intellectually more degraded period.

_MSS. of the Gospels._

_Evangeliaria or manuscripts of the Gospels._ One of the most important
classes of Byzantine manuscripts, and the one of which the most magnificent
examples now exist are the _Books of the Gospels_ already mentioned at page
46 as being occasionally, either wholly or in part, written in letters of
gold on leaves of purple-dyed vellum.

_The four Evangelists._

These Imperially magnificent manuscripts are usually decorated with five
full page paintings, placed at the beginning of the codex. These five
pictures represent the four Evangelists, each enthroned like a Byzantine
Emperor under an arched canopy supported on Corinthian columns of marble or
porphyry. Each Evangelist sits holding in his hand the manuscript of his
_Gospel_; or, in some cases, he is represented writing it. In the earlier
manuscripts, St John is correctly represented as an aged white-bearded man,
but in later times St John was always depicted as a beardless youth, even
in illuminations which represent him writing his Gospel in the Island of
Patmos, as at the beginning of the fifteenth century _Books of Hours_. Next
comes the fifth miniature representing "Christ in Majesty," usually
enthroned within an oval or vesica-shaped aureole; He sits on a rainbow,
and at His feet is a globe to represent the earth, or in some cases a small
figure of _Tellus_ or Atlas with the same symbolical meaning.

_The Canons of Eusebius._
_Sasanian style._

Other highly decorated pages in these Byzantine _Gospels_ are those which
contain the "Canons" of Bishop Eusebius, a set of ten tables giving lists
of parallel passages in the four Gospels. These tables are usually framed
by columns supporting a semicircular arch, richly decorated with
architectural and floral ornaments in gold and colours. Frequently birds,
especially doves and peacocks, are introduced in the spandrels over the
arches; they are often arranged in pairs drinking out of a central vase or
chalice--a motive which occurs very often among the reliefs on the
sarcophagi and marble screens of early Byzantine Churches both in Italy and
in the East[36]. These birds appear to be purely ornamental, in spite of
the many attempts that have been made to discover symbolic meanings in
them. Other birds, such as cocks, quails and partridges, are commonly used
in these decorative illuminations, and this class of ornament was probably
derived from Persia, under the Sasanian Dynasty, when decorative art and
skilful handicrafts flourished to a very remarkable extent[37].

Among the most sumptuous and beautiful illuminations which occur in these
Byzantine _Gospels_ are the headings and beginnings of books written in
very large golden capitals, so that six or seven letters frequently occupy
the whole page. These letters are painted over a richly decorated
background covered with floreated ornament, and the whole is framed in an
elaborate border, all glowing with the most brilliant colours, and lighted
up by burnished gold of the highest decorative beauty[38].

_Textus for the High Altar._

These sumptuous _Evangeliaria_, or _Textus_ as they were often called, soon
came to be something more than merely a magnificent book. They developed
into one of the most important pieces of furniture belonging to the High
Altar in all important Cathedral and Abbey churches[39]. Throughout the
whole mediaeval period every rich church possessed one of these
magnificently written _Textus_ or _Books of the Gospels_ bound in costly
covers of gold or silver thickly studded with jewels. This _Textus_ was
placed on the High Altar before the celebration of Mass, during which it
was used for the reading of the Gospel.

_Textus used as a Pax._

The jewel-studded covers had on one side a representation of Christ's
crucifixion, executed in enamel or else in gold relief, and the book was
used to serve the purpose of a _Pax_, being handed round among the
ministers of the Altar for the ceremonial kiss of peace, which in primitive
times had been exchanged among the members of the congregation themselves.
One of the most magnificent examples of these _Textus_ is the one now in
the possession of Lord Ashburnham, the covers of which are among the most
important and beautiful examples of the early English goldsmith's and
jeweller's art which now exist[40].

_The Textus at Durham._

An interesting description of the _Textus_ which, till the Reformation,
belonged to the High Altar of Durham Cathedral, is given in the _Rites and
Monuments of Durham_ written in 1593 by a survivor from the suppressed and
plundered Abbey[41], who in his old age wrote down his recollections of the
former glories of the Church. He writes, "the Gospeller[42] did carrye a
marvelous FAIRE BOOKE, which had the Epistles and Gospels in it, and did
lay it on the Altar, the which booke had on the outside of the coveringe
the picture of our Saviour Christ, all of silver, of goldsmith's worke, all
parcell gilt, verye fine to behould; which booke did serve for the PAX in
the Masse."

These _Textus_ were not unfrequently written wholly in gold on purple
stained vellum, not only during the earliest and best period of Byzantine
art but also occasionally by the illuminators of the age of Charles the

_Weak drawing of the figure._

Returning now to the general question of the style of Byzantine art, it
should be observed that, though little knowledge of the human form is shown
by the miniaturists, yet they were able to produce highly dignified
compositions, very strong in decorative effect. Study of the nude form was
strictly prohibited by the Church; and the beauty of the human figure was
regarded as a snare and a danger to minds which should be fixed upon the
imaginary glories of another world. What grace and dignity there is in
Byzantine figure painting depends chiefly on the skilful treatment of the
drapery with simple folds modelled in gracefully curving lines.

_Livid flesh colour._

The utmost splendour of gold and colour is lavished on this drapery, and on
the backgrounds, border-frames and other accessories, while the colouring
of the flesh, in faces, hands and feet, is commonly unpleasant; with, in
many cases, an excessive use of green in the shadows, which gives an
unhealthy look to the faces. This copious use of green in flesh tints is
especially apparent in the later Byzantine paintings, and again in the
Italian imitations of Byzantine art. Even paintings by Cimabue and some of
his followers, in the second half of the thirteenth century, are disfigured
by the flesh in shadow being largely painted with _terra verde_[43].

_Monastic bigotry._

The monastic bigotry, which prohibited study either of the living model or
of the beauties of classical sculpture, tended to foster a strongly
conventional element in Art, which for certain decorative purposes was of
the highest possible value. Anything like realism is quite unsuited both
for colossal mural frescoes or mosaics and for miniature paintings in an
illuminated manuscript.

_Fine early mosaics._

Thus, for example, the existing mosaics on the west front of St Mark's
Basilica in Venice[44], which were copied from noble paintings by Titian
and Tintoretto, are immeasurably inferior to the earlier mosaics with
stiff, hieratic forms designed after Byzantine models, as for example the
mosaics in the Apse of SS. Cosmas and Damian in Rome, executed for Pope
Felix IV. 526 to 530; see fig. 8.

So, again, the skilfully drawn and modelled figures in a manuscript
executed by Giulio Clovio in the sixteenth century are not worthy to be
compared, for true decorative beauty and fitness, with the flat, rigid
forms, full of dignity and simple, rhythmical beauty which we find in any
Byzantine manuscript of a good period[45].

[Illustration: Fig. 8. Mosaic of the sixth century in the apse of the
church of SS. Cosmas and Damian in Rome.]

_Limitations of Byzantine Art._

It should, however, be remarked that in Byzantine art this conventional
treatment of the human form is carried too far, and therefore, splendid as
a fine Byzantine manuscript usually is, it falls far short of the almost
perfect beauty that may be seen in Anglo-Norman and French illuminated
manuscripts of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, such marvels of
beauty, for example, as French manuscripts of the _Apocalypse_ executed in
the first half of the fourteenth century in Northern France; see below,
page 118.

_Edict against statues._

Till the eighth century, Byzantine art, both in manuscripts and in other
branches of art, continued to advance in technical skill, though little
change or development of style took place. In the eighth century the
iconoclast schism, fostered by the Emperor Leo III. the Isaurian, an
uncultured and ignorant soldier who began by issuing an edict against
image-worship in the year 726 A.D., gave a blow to Byzantine art which
brought about a very serious decadence during the ninth and tenth
centuries, more especially in Constantinople, which up to that time had
been one of the chief literary and artistic centres of the Christian world.

Pictures of all kinds, as well as statues, were destroyed by the iconoclast
fanatics, and the cause of learning suffered almost as much as did the arts
of painting and sculpture.

_Frankish MSS._

One result of this schismatic outbreak was that Constantinople ceased to be
one of the chief centres for the production of beautiful illuminated
manuscripts, and various Frankish cities, such as Aix-la-Chapelle and
Tours, took its place under the enlightened patronage of Charles the Great
the Emperor of the West, who, in the second half of the ninth century, by
the aid of the famous Northumbrian scholar and scribe Alcuin of York,
brought about a wonderful revival of literature and of the illuminator's
art in various cities and monasteries within the Western Empire.

_Byzantine decadence._

At the end of the eleventh century Byzantine art, practised in its original
home, had reached the lowest possible level. Thus, for example, a
manuscript of some of the works of St Chrysostom (Paris, _Bibl. Nat.
Coislin._, 79) contains miniatures the figures in which are mere sack-like
bundles with little or no suggestion of the human form. The whole skill of
the artist has been expended on the painting of the elaborate patterns on
the dresses; drawing and composition he has not even attempted.

Fig. 9 shows a miniature from this manuscript, representing the Greek
Emperor enthroned between four courtiers, and two allegorical figures of
_Truth_ and _Justice_. The Emperor is Nicephoros Botaniates, who reigned
from 1078 to 1081. An equally striking example of the degradation of
Byzantine art in Germany is illustrated on page 78.

[Illustration: Fig. 9. Miniature from a Byzantine manuscript of the
eleventh century; a remarkable example of artistic decadence.]

_Want of life in Byzantine Art._

After this period of decay during the tenth and eleventh centuries,
Byzantine art began to revive, largely under the influence of the West; the
original life and spirit had, however, passed away, and the subsequent
history of Byzantine art is one of dull monotony and growing feebleness,
the inevitable result of a continuing copying and recopying of older

It is rather as a modifying influence on the art of the West that Byzantine
painting continued to possess real importance. As a distinct and isolated
school, Constantinople fell into the background at the time of the
iconoclasts and never again came to the front as an artistic centre of real



_The Age of Charles the Great._

_The age of Charles the Great and his successors._ Charles the Great, who
was elected King of the Franks in 768, and in the year 800 became Emperor
of the West, did much to foster all branches of art--architecture,
bronze-founding, goldsmith's work, and more especially the art of writing
and illuminating manuscripts. The Imperial Capital, Aix-la-Chapelle
(Aachen), became a busy centre for arts and crafts of all kinds, and
various monasteries throughout the Frankish kingdom became schools of
manuscript illumination of a very high order of excellence.

[Illustration: Fig. 10. An initial P. of the Celtic-Carolingian type, of
the school of Alcuin of York.]

_Alcuin of York._
_The Gospels of Alcuin._
_Northumbrian influence._

It was specially with the aid of a famous English scholar and manuscript
writer, Alcuin of York[47], that Charles the Great brought about so
remarkable a revival both of letters and of the illuminator's art, and
created what may be called the Anglo-Carolingian school of manuscripts.
From 796 till his death in 804 Alcuin was Abbot of the Benedictine
monastery of St Martin at Tours; and there he carried out various literary
works for Charles the Great, and superintended the production of a large
number of richly illuminated manuscripts. Alcuin's most important literary
work was the revision of the Latin text of the Bible, the _Vulgate_, which
since Saint Jerome's time had become seriously corrupted. The British
Museum possesses (_Add. Manuscripts_, No. 10546) a magnificently
illuminated copy of the _Vulgate_ as revised by Alcuin, which, there is
every reason to believe, is the actual manuscript which was prepared for
Charles the Great either by Alcuin himself or under his immediate
supervision. This splendid manuscript is a large folio in delicate and
beautifully formed _minuscule_ characters, with the beginnings of chapters
in fine _uncials_; it is written in two columns on the purest vellum. The
miniature paintings in this manuscript show the united influence of various
schools of manuscript art. The figure subjects are mainly classical in
style, with fine architectural backgrounds of Roman style, drawn with
unusual elaboration and accuracy, and even with fairly correct perspective.
The initial letters and all the conventional ornaments show the Northern
artistic strain which Alcuin himself introduced from York. Delicate and
complicated interlaced patterns, such as were first used in the wonderful
sixth and seventh century manuscripts of the Celtic monks, are freely
introduced into the borders and large capitals.

[Illustration: Fig. 11. An initial B. of the Celtic-Carolingian type.]

_Celtic influence._

In Alcuin's time Northumbria and especially York was one of the chief
centres in the world, for the production of manuscripts, and the Dean of
York naturally introduced into France the style and influence of his native
school, which had grown out of a combination of two very different styles,
that of Rome, as introduced by St Augustine, and the Celtic style which the
monks of Ireland and Lindisfarne had brought to such marvellous perfection
in the seventh century.

Fig. 10 shows an initial of the Celtic-Carolingian type, with a goldsmith's
pattern on the shaft of the _P_, and a bird of Oriental type forming the
loop; and fig. 11 gives a large initial _B_ in which the Oriental element
is very strong, cf. fig. 13, page 68.

_Henry VIII's Gospels._

The Carolingian class of manuscripts in this way combined many different
strains of influence--native Frankish, Classical, Oriental and English, all
modified by the Byzantine love for gorgeous colours, shining gold and
silver, and purple-dyed vellum. A considerable number of manuscripts were
written in the reign of Charles the Great in letters of gold on purple
vellum like those prepared in earlier times for the Byzantine Emperors. A
manuscript _Book of the Gospels_ of this magnificent class was given by
Pope Leo X. to Henry VIII. of England in return for the presentation copy
of his work against Luther, entitled _Assertio Septem Sacramentorum_, which
the king had sent in 1521 to the Pope as a proof of his allegiance to the
Catholic Faith and the Holy See. This magnificent _Textus_ afterwards came
into the Hamilton collection through Mr Beckford of Fonthill, and was
subsequently bought by Mr Quaritch[48].

[Illustration: Fig. 12. Miniature of Christ in Majesty from a manuscript of
the school of Alcuin, written for Charles the Great.]

_Carolingian Gospels._
_Gospels of Godesscalc._

As was the case with the earlier Byzantine manuscripts, the most
magnificent books produced in the Carolingian period were this kind of
_Evangeliaria_ or _Books of the Gospels_. Though differing in the details
of their ornamentation, these later _Gospels_ are decorated with the same
set of miniature subjects that occur in the Byzantine Gospels. The library
of Paris possesses a fine typical example of this (_Bibl. Nat. Nouv. Acq.
Lat. 1993_), a richly decorated and signed _Evangeliarium_, which was
written for Charles the Great in 781 by the scribe and illuminator
Godesscalc. Every page is sumptuously ornamented with large initials and a
border in brilliant burnished gold, and silver, and bright colours; and
there are also six full-page miniatures, the first four representing the
four Evangelists enthroned in the usual way. The fifth has a painting of
_Christ in Majesty_ with one hand holding a book, the other raised in
blessing; see fig. 12. The sixth miniature represents the Fountain of Life.
In all these paintings the backgrounds are very rich and decorative, with a
greater variety and more fancifully designed ornament than is to be found
in Byzantine manuscripts of a similar class, owing, of course, to the
introduction of the many different elements of design which were combined
with great taste and skill by the Carolingian illuminators.

_Oriental influence._

In this and many other manuscripts of the same class a very distinct
Semitic or Persian strain of influence can be traced in much of the rich
conventional ornament. Very beautiful and highly decorative forms and
patterns were derived from Oriental sources[49], owing to the active import
into France and Germany of fine Persian carpets and textile stuffs from
Moslem looms in Syria, Sicily (especially Palermo) and from other parts of
the Arab world; all these textiles were designed with consummate taste and
skill both in colour and drawing.

_Sicilian silk cope._

Fig. 13 shows a fine specimen of woven silk from the Arab looms of Syria.
It was used as an Imperial cope or mantle by various German Emperors; in
the centre is a palm-tree, and on each side a lion devouring a camel,
treated in a very decorative and masterly manner. The form of the
conventional foliage on the lions' bodies is imitated in many manuscript
illuminations, as, for example, in the ornaments of the initial _B_ shown
in fig. 11, page 64.

[Illustration: Fig. 13. A cope made of silk from the loom of an Oriental

_Splendour of MSS._

One important characteristic of the Carolingian manuscripts is their
extreme splendour. The freely used burnished gold is often made more
magnificent by the contrast of no less brilliant silver. Purple-stained
vellum was largely used, and all the pigments are of the most gorgeous hues
that great technical skill could produce. And yet in spite of all this
magnificence of shining metals and bright colours the effect is never harsh
or gaudy, owing to the taste and judgment shown by the illuminators in the
way they broke up their colours, avoiding large unrelieved masses, and in
the arrangement of the colours so as to give a general effect of harmony in
spite of the great chromatic force of the separate parts.

_Technical methods._

The somewhat realistic way of representing the Evangelists as aged
white-haired men, which occurs in Byzantine manuscripts, in the Carolingian
_Gospels_ is replaced by a more conventional treatment, and thus they are
as a rule represented as youthful, beardless men of an idealized type. The
general treatment of the figure is flat, with little or no light and shade
or modelling of any kind. The drapery is represented by strong, dark lines
applied over a flatly laid wash of pigment. The painter first drew in his
outlines with a fine brush dipped in red, and then filled in the
intermediate spaces with a wash of colour mixed with a large proportion of
gummy medium, so that a very glossy, lustrous surface was produced. The
folds of the drapery and the rest of the internal drawing of the figures
were put in after the application of the flat ground colour. This method
very much resembles the process of the early Greek vase-painters. In order
to give richness of effect by the use of a thick body of colour the
illuminator commonly applied his flat tints in two or even three distinct
washes, a method which is recommended by Theophilus[50] and other early
writers on the technique of illumination.

_Gospels at Vienna._

Another _Book of the Gospels_ which belonged to Charles the Great, now
preserved in the Imperial Treasury at Vienna, is decidedly inferior as a
work of art to the Paris manuscript mentioned above. In it the influence of
the enfeebled Roman style is much stronger; the detail is far less refined
and decorative, in spite of a copious use of burnished gold. This
inferiority is due mainly to the absence of that Northumbrian influence, to
which the best Carolingian manuscripts owe so much of their beauty.

_Successors of Charles._

_Manuscripts of the later Carolingian school._ Under Charles the Great's
successors the art of illuminating manuscripts continued to flourish, and,
in the ninth century, under his grandsons Lothair and Charles the Bald,
reached the climax of its development. During this century decorative
splendour of a very high order was reached, in spite of there being very
little advance in the power of rendering the human form. Gold, silver,
ultramarine and brilliant pigments of all kinds were skilfully used; the
subjects for miniatures became more varied, and detail was more delicate
and highly finished[51].

_Portrait figures._

Portraits of the kings are often introduced at the beginning of books of
this period, a fashion which in later times was extended to other than
royal patrons of art and learning. A great number of places, chiefly
Benedictine monasteries in France, became active centres for the production
of fine illuminated manuscripts. Among them some of the principal places
were Paris, St Denis, Rheims, Verdun, Fontanelle, and the two Abbeys of St
Martin at Tours and Metz.

Fig. 14 shows a miniature from a manuscript of the _Gospels_ in the Paris
library representing King Lothair enthroned between two guards. This
manuscript was written about the year 845 in the monastery of St Martin at
Metz. In this picture a strong classical influence is apparent; the
illuminator must have been familiar with manuscripts written in Rome or
elsewhere in Italy.

_Celtic influence._

Some of the finest manuscripts of this period show a strongly marked
Northern influence, imitated from the old Celtic illuminations of Ireland
and Lindisfarne. Less gold is used in this class of manuscripts; and the
intricate interlaced patterns of the Celtic monks are used with much skill
and great beauty of effect. The figures of Christ and the Evangelists are
sometimes hardly human in form, but are worked up into a kind of
conventional scroll-pattern, just as they are in the older Celtic
illuminations. The Paris library possesses two manuscripts of the
_Gospels_, which are good examples of this revived Celtic style (_Bibl.
Nat. Lat._ Nos. 257 and 8849). The borders and initial letters in these
manuscripts are remarkable for their intricate delicacy of design, and for
their rich colour, tastefully arranged; while the figure drawing is of the
purely ornamental scroll type.

[Illustration: Fig. 14. King Lothair enthroned; a miniature from a
manuscript of about the year 845 A.D.]

_Classical school of St Gall._

In the ninth century the Benedictine monastery of St Gallen in Switzerland,
which had formerly produced manuscripts of a purely Celtic type, now
developed a very strange school of miniature art[52]. The pictures in these
St Gallen manuscripts have figure subjects drawn in outline and then
faintly coloured with transparent washes, very like the Anglo-Saxon
(classical) style of illumination during the ninth and tenth centuries.
These rather weak drawings, which have but little decorative value, show
the influence of the Roman school of illuminators, who still mainly adhered
to the old debased form of classical art, modified by some observation and
even careful study of the actual life and movement which the painters saw
around them. In this curious class of manuscripts, though the figure
subjects are devoid of much vigour and artistic force, yet the decorative
details of the initials and borders are extremely fine, full of invention
and delicacy of detail. Fig. 15 shows a pen drawing from a St Gallen
manuscript of the ninth century, the magnificent _Psalterium aureum_[53];
it represents David going forth to battle.

_Studies from life._

With regard to studies from the life, either of men or animals, it should
be remembered that an artist is always biased by tradition and association
to a degree which is now very difficult to realise. Even when looking at
the same object two painters of different race and education might receive
very different impressions on their retina. Thus in the very interesting
sketch-book of Villard de Honecourt, a French sculptor and architect of the
thirteenth century, there are studies of men, lions and other animals,
which he has noted as being from the life; and yet these drawings look to
us like the purely imaginative conceptions of a heraldic draughtsman, in
spite of the fact that Villard certainly represented them as faithfully as
he was able, putting down on his vellum the subjective visual and mental
impression that he had received[54].

[Illustration: Fig. 15. Illumination in pen outline, from a manuscript
written in the ninth century at St Gallen. It represents David riding out
against his enemies.]

[Illustration: Figs. 16 and 17. Subject countries doing homage to the
Emperor Otho II; from a manuscript of the _Gospels_.]


In the same way a modern Japanese artist evidently sees the nobler animals,
such as men and horses, in a very subjective and distorted manner, whereas
when he is dealing with fishes, reptiles, plants and the like he is able to
depict them with the most wonderful grace, accuracy and realistic spirit.

_Personal equation._

For this reason in examining an illuminated manuscript, or other early work
of art, to discover what use the artist has made of actual study from
nature, one should always take into account the influences which made him
see each natural object in a special, personal way, and we must not argue
that because the drawing now looks very unreal that it may not possibly
have been as careful and accurate a study from life as the painter's eye
and hand could produce.

_Byzantine influence._

During the later Carolingian period there was a marked revival of Byzantine
influence, which did not tend to delay the advancing decadence[55]. Figs.
16 and 17 show a very striking example of this, a two-page miniature from a
magnificent purple and gold manuscript of _the Gospels_, which was executed
for the Emperor Otho II., and is now in the Munich library. On the
right-hand page is the Emperor enthroned holding the long sceptre and the
orb, with an archbishop and some armed courtiers beside him. On the
opposite page, personifications of _Rome_, _Gaul_, _Germany_ and _Slavonia_
are doing homage and offering gifts. The whole motive and design is
borrowed from a much earlier Byzantine work, such as the mosaics of
Justinian's time (c. 530 A.D.) in the churches of Ravenna.

_Classical influence._

Fig. 18 from another fine manuscript of _the Gospels_ is far nobler in
style; here the influence is rather classical than Byzantine. The figure
illustrates one of the usual four miniatures of the Evangelists, Saint Mark
dipping his pen into the ink. The Saint is robed in the _alb_, _dalmatic_
with two stripes, _chasuble_ and _pall_ as being Archbishop of Alexandria.
The figure is very dignified, and is evidently copied from a much earlier
Italian _Textus_, such as that which Saint Augustine received from Pope
Gregory or brought from Italy to Canterbury.

[Illustration: Fig. 18. Miniature of the Evangelist St Mark; from a
manuscript of the _Gospels_.]

_Later Emperors._

Throughout the tenth century, and especially under the patronage of the
three Emperor Othos and Henry the Fowler, fine and richly decorative
manuscripts continued to be produced, with little change in the style of
ornament employed. After a long period of great artistic brilliance and
wonderful fertility of production the Carolingian style of illumination
came to an end when Charles the Great's Empire was (in France) divided
among various Feudal Lords. Then a serious decadence of art set in, and
lasted till the beginning of a most magnificent artistic revival in the
twelfth century.

[Illustration: Fig. 19. Miniature of the Crucifixion from a German
manuscript of the eleventh century; showing extreme artistic decadence.]

To a large extent the illuminations of French manuscripts during the latter
part of the eleventh century consisted of rude pen drawings with no washes
of colour. The subsequent history of the illuminator's art in France is
discussed below, see page 126.

_Extreme decadence._

Fig. 19 gives an example of the extreme artistic decadence that in many
places followed the brilliant Carolingian period. This miniature of the
Crucifixion is copied from a German early eleventh century manuscript, now
at Berlin. The ludicrous ugliness of the drawing is not atoned for by any
decorative beauty of colour; the whole miniature is dark and heavy in tone,
with yellow and green flesh-tints of the most cadaverous hues.



One of the most extraordinary artistic developments that ever took place in
the history of the world has been the Celtic Monastic School of Art which
in the seventh century reached its highest aesthetic and technical climax,
more especially in the production of exquisitely minute gold jewellery and
no less minute and richly illuminated manuscripts.

_The Irish Church._

The Christian Church in the east of Ireland dated from an earlier period
than the establishment of Christianity in England[56]. It was founded about
the year 430 A.D., and the monks of Ireland, owing to their remote
position, were able for a long period to develope peacefully their artistic
skill, undisturbed by such successive foreign invasions as those which for
so many years kept Britain in a constant tumult of war and massacre.

_Celtic goldsmiths._
_Gold jewellery._

Thus it happened that by the middle or latter part of the seventh century
the Celtic monks of Ireland had learned to produce goldsmiths' work and
manuscript illuminations with such marvellous taste and skill as has never
been surpassed by any age or country in the world[57]. Not even the finest
Greek or Etruscan jewellery, enriched with enamels and studded with gems,
can be said to surpass the amazing perfection shown in such a masterpiece
of the goldsmith's art as the so-called "Tara brooch"[58] in the Museum of
the Royal Irish Academy. As a rule the skill of these Irish goldsmiths was
devoted to the service of the Church in the manufacture of such objects as
croziers, morses (or cope-brooches), shrines, chalices, textus-covers,
receptacles for Bishops' bells, and other pieces of ecclesiastical

_Technical processes._

These precious objects are decorated by a variety of technical processes,
such as applied filagree, repoussé or beaten reliefs, enamels, both
_champlevé_ and _cloisonné_, and inlay of precious stones, especially the
carbuncle in minute slices, set in delicate gold _cloisons_ and backed with
shining gold-leaf. All these and other decorative processes were employed
with unrivalled skill by the monastic goldsmiths of eastern Ireland, a fact
which it is important to notice, since nearly all the methods and styles of
ornament which occur in the Irish illuminated manuscripts of the same
period are clearly derived from prototypes in gold jewelled work. It is in
fact often possible to trace in a fine Irish manuscript of the class we are
now concerned with, ornamental patterns of several quite distinct classes,
one being derived from the patterns of spiral or plaited form produced by
soldering delicate gold wire on to plain surfaces of gold, another being
copied from gold _champlevé_ enamels, and a third no less clearly derived
from the inlaid rectangular bits of carbuncle framed in delicate gold
strips or _cloisons_.

_Influence on illuminations._

This strongly marked influence of the technique of one art on the designs
of another is due to the fact that the arts both of the goldsmith and the
manuscript illuminator were carried on side by side in the same monastery
or group of monastic dwellings[59], and in some cases we have written
evidence that the scribe who wrote and illuminated an elaborate manuscript
and the goldsmith who wrought and jewelled its gold cover were one and the
same person[60].

_The Book of Kells._

It was in the second half of the seventh century that the Celtic art of
Eastern Ireland reached its highest point of perfection. To this period
belongs the famous _Book of Kells_, now in the library of Trinity College,
Dublin, which was probably written between 680 and 700, and for many years
was, with its jewelled gold covers, the principal treasure of the cathedral
church at Kells[61]. This church had been founded by Saint Columba, and so
in old times this marvellous manuscript was usually known as "the Great
Gospels of Saint Columba."

_Perfect workmanship._

No words can describe the intricate delicacy of the ornamentation of this
book, lavishly decorated as it is with all the different varieties of
pattern mentioned above, the most remarkable among them being the
ingeniously intricate patterns formed by interlaced and knotted lines of
colour, plaited in and out, with such amazingly complicated lines of
interlacement that one cannot look at the page without astonishment at the
combined taste, patience, unfaltering certainty of touch and imaginative
ingenuity of the artist. The wonderful minuteness of the work, examined
through a microscope, fills one with wonder at the apparently superhuman
eyesight of the scribe.

_Complex interlacings._

With regard to the intricate interlaced ornaments in which (with the aid of
a lens) each line can be followed out in its windings and never found to
break off or lead to an impossible loop of knotting, it is evident that the
artist must have enjoyed, not only an aesthetic pleasure in the invention
of his pattern, but must also have had a distinct intellectual enjoyment in
his work, such as a skilful mathematician feels in the working out of a
complicated geometrical problem.

_Microscopic intricacy._

The combined skill of eye and hand shown in the minute plaits of the _Book
of Kells_ places it among the most wonderful examples of human workmanship
that the world has ever produced. By the aid of a microscope Mr Westwood
counted in the space of one inch no less than 158 interlacements of bands
or ribands, each composed of a strip of white bordered on both sides with a
black line.

Giraldus Cambrensis, who visited Ireland in 1185 as secretary to Prince
John, writes in the most enthusiastic language of the splendour of a
similar manuscript of the _Gospels_ which he saw in Kildare Cathedral. It
shows, he says, superhuman skill, worthy of angels' hands, and he was lost
in wondering admiration at the sight.

_Copies of jewellery._
_Primitive spiral patterns._

One class of ornament in the _Book of Kells_ and in other manuscripts of
this class consists of bands or diapers formed with step-like lines
enclosing small spaces of brilliant colour. It is this class of pattern
which is derived from the _cloisonné_ inlay with bits of transparent
carbuncle used in gold jewellery. Other ornaments consist of various spiral
forms derived from the application of gold wire to flat surfaces of gold, a
class of pattern which appears to have come, as it were, naturally to the
gold-workers of many different periods and countries. Many of these spiral
designs in the Irish manuscripts are almost identical with forms which
occur so frequently among the gold ornaments of the Greek "Mycenean
period," one among many examples in the art history of the world, which
show the remarkable sameness of invention in the human mind at a certain
stage of development whatever the time or the place may be[62].

It should moreover be noticed that this close imitation of metal-work is
not limited to the separate details of the manuscripts. The main lines and
divisions of the decoration on whole pages are accurately copied from the
enamelled and jewelled gold or silver covers in which these precious
_Gospels_ were bound. Thus, the same design might appear in delicate
goldsmiths' work on the covers of a _Textus_, and also might be seen
represented by the illuminator in brilliant colours on a page within.

_Trumpet pattern._

One form of ornament, which occurs very frequently in the Irish
manuscripts, is what is often called "the trumpet pattern" from its
supposed resemblance to a curved metal trumpet. This kind of spiral
ornament is used not only in the Celtic manuscripts and goldsmiths' work,
but also on bronze shields and other pieces of metal-work on a large scale.
This special ornament is not peculiar to the Irish, but was commonly used
by the Celtic tribes of Britain from a very early date.

_Arab influence._

United with these purely native types of ornament, we find in these Celtic
manuscripts one curious class of foreign ornament derived from the patterns
on imported pieces of textile stuffs woven in Arab looms[63]. Among many
strange forms of serpents, dragons and other monsters of northern origin,
other animals, such as lions, eagles and swans, occur which resemble
closely those represented with such perfect conventional skill on the rich
silk stuffs and early Oriental carpets woven in Syria, in the Arab towns of
Sicily and in other Moslem centres. These beautiful stuffs were imported
largely into Northern Europe for ecclesiastical purposes, such as for the
vestments of priests or to form wrappings round some sacred reliquary[64].

_The human form._

Though these Celtic manuscripts show such marvellous dexterity of touch and
unerring firmness of line in every minute and complicated pattern, yet the
monastic artist appears to have been absolutely incapable of representing
the human form.

The figures of Christ and the Saints, which sometimes do occur in these
manuscripts, are treated in a purely ornamental and (in its stricter sense)
conventional way; the hair and beard, for example, are worked up into
scrolls or spiral ornaments, and the draperies are merely masses of varied
colour, with little or no resemblance to the folds of a dress.

_Colours without gold._

The pigments used by the Celtic monks are very varied and of the most
brilliant tints, prepared with such skill that after more than a thousand
years they seem as fresh and bright as ever.

Among these pigments is included the fine _murex_ purple which the Irish
monks used occasionally to stain sheets of vellum like those in the _Golden
Gospels_ of the Byzantines. We are told by the Venerable Bede that the
Irish monks had learnt how to extract this beautiful dye from a variety of
the _murex_ shell-fish which is not uncommon on both shores of the Irish
Channel. Splendid as they are in colour, there is one curious feature in
the early Irish manuscripts of the finest class, such as the _Book of
Kells_; that is, that no gold or silver either in the form of leaf or as a
fluid pigment is used. This seems specially strange when we remember the
close connection there was between the arts of the goldsmith and of the
illuminator of manuscripts among the Irish artists.

_Celtic art in Britain._

In later times, when the Celtic style of illumination was transplanted to
England, gold was to some extent introduced, but in the finest Irish
manuscripts of the best period, the latter half of the seventh century,
gold is completely absent. Nevertheless, so great was the decorative genius
of these Irish monks that, even without burnished gold and silver, their
illuminated pages quite equal, not only in artistic beauty, but even in
mere splendour of effect, any illuminations that have ever been produced.

_The Book of Durrow._

In addition to the _Book of Kells_ another manuscript of similar style and
date and of almost equal splendour should be mentioned, the _Book of
Durrow_[65], which, like the _Book of Kells_, was also known as the
"Gospels of Saint Columba," who is said to have left behind him, at his
death in 597, no less than three hundred manuscripts written with his own
hand. It is not impossible that the _Book of Durrow_ is one of these, as it
bears some signs of being earlier in date than the _Book of Kells_.

_Monks of Iona._

From Ireland the art of illuminating manuscripts was carried by monkish
colonists to the Western coasts of Scotland, and especially to the Island
of Iona, where a monastery had been founded by Saint Columba in the latter
part of the sixth century[66]. Great numbers of manuscripts resembling in
style the _Book of Kells_ were produced in Iona; and offshoots from the
monastery of Iona, established at various places on the mainland, became
similar centres for the writing of richly decorated manuscripts. No less
than thirteen monasteries in Scotland and twelve in England were founded by
Irish monks from the mother settlement in Iona. In fact the whole of
Britain seems to have owed its Christianity, during the Anglo-Saxon period,
to the Irish missionaries from Iona, with the important exception of the
kingdom of Kent, which was occupied by the Roman mission of Saint

_Celtic missionaries._

In the year 635, at the request of Oswald King of Northumbria, the Scottish
king sent an Irish monk from Iona, named Aidan, to preach Christianity to
the Northumbrian worshippers of Thor and Odin. Aidan selected the little
island of Lindisfarne as the head-quarters of his missionary church, which,
at first consisting mainly of a few Irish monks from Iona, rapidly grew in
size and importance. In a few years, Saint Aidan, Bishop and Abbot of
Lindisfarne, was able to establish a number of monastic houses throughout
the Northumbrian Kingdom, and his own Abbey of Lindisfarne became one of
the chief centres of Northern Europe for the production of fine illuminated
manuscripts of the Celtic type.

After the death of Saint Aidan other Irish monks succeeded him as Bishop of
Lindisfarne, and the school of manuscript illumination continued to

_Gospels of St Cuthbert._

One of the most beautiful existing examples of the Lindisfarne branch of
the Irish school of miniature work is the famous "Book of the Gospels of
Saint Cuthbert[67]" as it is called, now in the British Museum (_Cotton
manuscripts, Nero_, D. IV). The history of this manuscript is a very
curious one; it was written some years after Saint Cuthbert's death in 688,
not during his lifetime as was formerly believed. Eadfrith, a monk of
Lindisfarne in Saint Cuthbert's time, and subsequently eighth Bishop of
Lindisfarne (698 to 721), was the writer of these _Gospels_, "in honour of
God and of Saint Cuthbert," as he records in a note. The illuminations were
added by the monk Aethelwold, afterwards ninth Bishop of Lindisfarne, and
the elaborate gold, gem-studded cover of this magnificent _textus_ was the
work of a third monk of the same Abbey named Bilfrith.

_Viking piracy._
_Travels of the Gospels._

In the ninth century the Viking pirates were constantly harrying the shores
of Northumbria; more than once the Abbey of Lindisfarne was plundered and
many of the monks were slain, till at last, in the year 878, the small
remnant who had escaped the cruelty of the Northmen decided to leave
Lindisfarne and seek a new settlement in the original home of the founders
of Lindisfarne, the eastern coast of Ireland. In 878 the survivors set off,
carrying with them the body of Saint Cuthbert, and the magnificent
manuscript of the _Gospels_, which was the chief treasure of their Abbey,
and which had been successfully hidden in Saint Cuthbert's grave at the
time of the invasion of the Northmen. The monks crossed to the western
shore of Northumbria, and there took ship for Ireland. A great storm,
however, arose; their boat shipped a heavy sea which washed overboard the
precious Gospels of Saint Cuthbert, which had been carefully packed in a
wooden box. Eventually the little ship was driven back, and finally was
stranded on the Northumbrian shore. Soon after reaching the land the
fugitive monks, wandering sadly along the beach, found, to their great joy,
the lost box with its precious manuscript thrown up by the waves and lying
on dry land. According to the chronicle of Symeon[68] (chapter xxvii.), the
brilliant illuminations were quite uninjured by the sea-water; this is not
literally the case; some of the pages are a good deal stained, but
wonderfully little injured considering what the book has gone through.

_Minster of Durham._

When after many wanderings the successors of the exiles from Lindisfarne
found, in 995, a final resting-place for the body of Saint Cuthbert in the
Minster which they founded at Durham, the manuscript of the Gospels was
laid on the coffin of the Saint. There it remained till 1104, when Saint
Cuthbert's body was exhumed, and soon after it was sent back to
Lindisfarne, where a Benedictine monastery had been founded in 1093 by some
monks from Durham on the site of Saint Cuthbert's ruined Abbey.

There it was safely preserved till the dissolution of the monasteries under
Henry VIII. The gold covers were then stripped off and melted, but the
still more precious manuscript escaped destruction; it was subsequently
acquired by Sir Robert Cotton, and is now one of the chief manuscript
treasures of the British Museum.

_Anglo-Celtic school._

In point of style the "Gospels of Saint Cuthbert" are a characteristic
example of the Irish school of illumination, modified by transplantation to
English soil. The intermediate stage in Iona and other monasteries of
western Scotland seems to have introduced no change of style into the
primitive Irish method of ornament. Whether produced in eastern Ireland or
in western Scotland the manuscripts were the work of the same Celtic race,
the Scots, who, at first inhabiting the north-east of Ireland, passed over
to the not very distant shores of northern Britain to which these Irish
settlers gave the name Scotland.

_Improved drawing._

When however the Irish monks passed from Iona to Northumbria the case was
different; they were surrounded with a new set of artistic influences
mainly owing to the introduction into Northumbria of fine Byzantine and
Italian manuscripts. The result of this was that though the Lindisfarne
manuscripts continued to be decorated with exactly the same class of
patterns that had been used in the _Book of Kells_ and other Irish
manuscripts for initials, borders and the like, yet in the treatment of the
human figure a very distinct advance was made. Thus in Saint Cuthbert's
_Gospels_ the seated figures of the Evangelists are drawn with much dignity
of form and with some attempt at truth in the pose, the proportions and in
the disposition of the folds of the drapery. The monk Aethelwold who
painted these miniatures must have had before him some fine manuscripts of
the Gospels probably both of Byzantine and Italian style.

_Use of metal leaf._

The whole result is a very splendid one, the _Gospels_ of Saint Cuthbert in
richness of invention and minute intricacy of pattern almost equal the
_Book of Kells_; while the figure subjects, instead of being grotesque
masses of ornament, are paintings with much beauty of line as well as
extreme splendour of colour. Another modification is the introduction of
gold and silver leaf, which are wholly wanting in the _Book of Kells_ and
the other finest purely Irish manuscripts.

_MS. of Bede._
_Italian influence._

Other typical examples of this combined Celtic and English style are the
magnificent _Gospels_ in the Imperial library in St Petersburg, and a
manuscript of the Commentary on the Psalms by Cassiodorus now in the
Chapter library at Durham. This latter manuscript, which dates from the
eighth century, is traditionally said to have been written by Bede himself.
The illuminations in this manuscript are specially rich with interlaced
patterns, dragon monsters and diapers of the most minute scale, all purely
Celtic in style, and all showing with special clearness their derivation
from originals in goldsmiths' work. Not only the distinctly metallic
motives of ornament are faithfully copied, but even the manner in which the
gold-workers built up their elaborate manuscript covers by the insertion of
separate little plates of gold filagree and enamel side by side on a large
plate or matrix is exactly reproduced by the illuminator. As in the case of
the Lindisfarne _Gospels_, the figures of the Psalmist which are introduced
are very superior to any figures which occur in the purely Irish
manuscripts, showing the distinct influence of Italian manuscripts of
debased classical style.

_The Corpus Gospels._

Another very interesting example of the Anglo-Celtic school of
illumination, with fine initials and a painting of an eagle of the
characteristic Northern type, is in the possession of Corpus Christi
College, Cambridge; No. CXCVII. This is an imperfect manuscript of the
_Gospels_ containing only the Gospels of Saint Luke and Saint John. The
decorative borders and initials have the interlaced Irish class of
ornament. This interesting manuscript was (in the sixteenth century) in the
library of Archbishop Parker, who inserted a note stating that it was one
of the manuscripts which were sent by Pope Gregory to Saint Augustine. The
actual date of the manuscript is probably not earlier than the eighth
century, in spite of the ancient appearance of the figure painting. An
earlier copy of the _Gospels_ in the same library has full page miniatures
of the two Evangelists of purely classical style, surrounded with
architectural framework of debased Roman form, very little modified from
similar Roman miniatures of the fifth century A.D.

_Gospels of MacDurnan._

Returning for the moment to the Irish school of Celtic art, it should be
observed that richly illuminated manuscripts continued to be produced in
Ireland till the ninth and tenth centuries, but these later manuscripts,
fine as they are, do not equal in beauty the _Book of Kells_ and other
works of the seventh and eighth century. The Book of the _Gospels of
MacDurnan_[69], who was Archbishop of Armagh from 885 to 927, is a good
example of the later school of Irish art, in which the figures of the
Evangelists are no less grotesque than those in the earlier manuscripts,
while the interlaced and diapered patterns of the borders and initials are
inferior in minute delicacy of execution to such masterpieces as the _Book
of Kells_; see fig. 20.

_Book of Deer._

Another still stronger proof of artistic decadence among the Celtic
illuminators of this period is afforded by the _Book of Deer_[70] in the
Cambridge University library. This is a small octavo copy of the _Latin
Gospels_ after the Itala version[71]. In style it is a mere shadow of the
glories of early Irish art, with comparatively coarse and feebly coloured
decorative patterns. It appears to have been written in Scotland by an
Irish scribe during the ninth century[72].

[Illustration: Fig. 20. Miniature from the _Gospels_ of MacDurnan of the
ninth century.]

_Gospels of MacRegol._

One of the finest of the manuscripts of the later Irish type is the Book of
_the Gospels of MacRegol_ in the Bodleian library (D. 24. No. 3946)
executed in the ninth century. The ornaments and the very conventional
figures of the Evangelists are of the purely Irish type, unmodified by any
imitation of the superior figure drawing in Byzantine and Italian

_Gospels of St Chad._

The manuscript _Gospels of Saint Chad_ in the Chapter library of Lichfield
Cathedral is another example of the Irish school and of the same date as
the last-mentioned book. It is named after Ceadda or Chad who, in the
seventh century, was the first Bishop of Lichfield, nearly two hundred
years before the date of this manuscript of the _Gospels_[74].

_Celtic school on the Continent._

During the most flourishing period of Celtic art in Ireland its influence
was by no means limited to the Northumbrian school of illuminators. The
Irish types of ornament were adopted by the scribes of Canterbury and other
places in the South of England; and on the Continent of Europe Celtic art
was widely spread by Irish missionaries such as Saint Columbanus, and by
the founding of Irish monasteries during the sixth century in various
countries, as, for example, at Bobbio in Northern Italy, at St Gallen in
Switzerland, at Wurtzburg in Germany, and at Luxeuil in France. In these
and in other places Irish monastic illuminators worked hard at the
production of manuscripts and spread the Celtic style of ornament over a
large area of Western Europe. The library of St Gallen possesses a number
of richly illuminated manuscripts of the later Irish type, exactly similar
in style to those which during the eighth and ninth centuries were produced
in the monasteries of Ireland and Scotland[75].

_Psalter of St Augustine._

The result of this spread of Celtic influence was that borders, initial
letters and similar ornaments of pure Irish style were used in many
manuscripts in which the figures of Saints were designed after an equally
pure Italian or debased classic style. A good example of this is the
so-called _Psalter of Saint Augustine_[76] (Brit. Mus. _Cotton manuscripts
Vesp._ A. i) which for many centuries belonged to the Cathedral of
Canterbury. This is a manuscript of the eighth century; one of its chief
miniature paintings represents David enthroned, playing on a harp with a
group of attendant musicians and two dancing figures round his throne.
These figures are purely Italian in style, of the debased Roman School; but
the arched frame which borders the picture is filled in with ornament of
the Irish metal type, closely similar in style, except that gold and silver
are largely used, to those in the _Book of Kells_, though inferior in
minute delicacy of execution. It is of course very possible that the
illuminations in this _Psalter_ are the work of two hands, the figures
being painted by an Italian illuminator and the borders by an English or
Irish monk.

_Scandinavian art._

In later times, especially during the ninth century, the Celtic art of
Ireland appears to have been largely introduced into Scandinavia by means
of the Viking pirates who harried the whole circuit of the shores of
Britain and Ireland, and finally in the ninth century established a Norse
Kingdom in eastern Ireland with the newly founded Dublin as its
capital[77]. The Norsemen were far from being a literary race and it was
not in the form of manuscript illuminations that Irish art was introduced
into Norway and Denmark, but rather in the rich gold and silver jewellery
with which the Viking chiefs adorned themselves, and also on a larger scale
in the magnificently decorative reliefs which were carved on the wooden
planks which formed the frames or architraves of the doors of the
Scandinavian wooden churches in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, after
the worship of the Thunderer had been replaced by the Faith of the White

Lindisfarne, Iona and the other chief Irish monasteries suffered again and
again from the inroads of the Vikings, who found rich and easily won
plunder in the form of gold and silver chalices, reliquaries and
book-covers in the treasuries of the monastic churches undefended by any
except unarmed and peaceful monks.

_The Golden Gospels of Stockholm._

One curious record of Viking plunder is preserved in the Royal library of
Stockholm. This is a very magnificent manuscript Book of the _Gospels_ of
the eighth century, commonly known as the _Codex aureus_ of Stockholm. It
is mostly written with alternate leaves of purple vellum, the text on which
is in golden letters. In general style and in the splendour of its
ornaments it closely resembles the Lindisfarne "_Gospels of Saint
Cuthbert_," described above at page 88, and most probably, like the latter,
was also written in the monastery of Lindisfarne. The interlaced ornaments
of the Irish type are marvels of beauty, while the dignified drawing of the
enthroned figures of the four Evangelists shows clearly the influence of
Continental manuscript art. In this case the Celtic or English illuminator
must have had before him a copy of the _Gospels_ not of the Italian but of
the Byzantine style, since the Evangelists and other figures in the book
which are represented in the act of benediction do so in the Oriental not
in the Latin fashion[78].

_Viking robbers._

On the margin of the first page of Saint Matthew's Gospel an interesting
note has been written about the year 850 by the owner of the Gospels, an
English Ealdorman named Aelfred; this note records that the manuscript had
been stolen by Norse robbers and that Aelfred had purchased it from them
for a sum in pure gold in order that the sacred book might be rescued from
heathen hands. Aelfred then presented it to the Cathedral Church of
Canterbury, and new gold covers appear then to have been made for this
_Textus_, as there is another note in a ninth century hand requesting the
prayers of the Church for three goldsmiths, probably those who replaced the
original gold covers which the Viking pirates had torn off[79].

_The two Churches in Britain._

Returning now to the manuscripts of the Celtic Church in Northumbria, in
order to understand the gradual introduction into Northern England of the
Italian or classical style of painting it is necessary to remember the
struggle which took place during the seventh century between the adherents
of the older Celtic Church and those who supported the Papal claims for
supremacy throughout Britain.

On the one hand the See of Canterbury, founded by the Roman Saint
Augustine, claimed jurisdiction in the north as well as in the south of
Britain, in opposition to the Celtic Abbot of Iona, who was then the real
Metropolitan of the Church in the north of England.

_Long struggle._

Wilfrid of York and Benedict Biscop of Jarrow spent many years in a series
of embassies, between 670 and 690, backward and forward between Northumbria
and Rome striving to introduce the Papal authority, by the aid of imported
books, relics and craftsmen skilled in building stone churches in place of
the simple wooden structures which at that time were the only
ecclesiastical buildings in Northumbria[80]. Very large numbers of
illuminated manuscripts were brought to England during the many journeys of
Wilfrid and Benedict Biscop; and important libraries were created at York
and at Jarrow which led to these places becoming literary and artistic
centres of great and European importance.

_Synod of Whitby._
_Defeat of the Celtic party._

In the end, after many failures, Wilfrid, Archbishop[81] of York, was
successful in bringing Northumbria under the supremacy of Canterbury and
Rome. In 664 a great Council was held at Whitby in the presence of the
Northumbrian King Oswiu. Bishop Colman, the successor of Saint Aidan at
Lindisfarne, represented the Celtic Church and the authority of Saint
Columba, while Wilfrid appeared to support the authority of Saint Peter and
the Bishop of Rome. After hearing that Saint Peter possessed the keys of
Heaven and Hell, while Saint Columba could claim no such marvellous power,
King Oswiu decided in favour of the Roman Supremacy. This decision, though
based on such fanciful grounds, was a fortunate one for the English Church,
since, in the main, learning, culture and established order generally were
on the side of the Italian Church.

The practical result of this Roman victory at the Synod of Whitby in 664
was that a classical influence gradually extended itself in all the English
centres for the production of illuminated manuscripts. It has already been
noted that the splendid manuscripts of Lindisfarne and other Northumbrian
monasteries, though of Celtic origin, show a distinct Roman influence in
the improvement of the drawing of their figures of Saints. By degrees the
Irish element in the illuminations grew less and less; though the
interlaced patterns and fantastic dragon and serpent forms lasted for many
centuries in all the chief countries of western Europe and form an
important decorative element till the thirteenth century[82].

_Baeda of Durham._

One of the chief schools of English manuscript illumination, that of the
Benedictine Abbey at Durham, was raised to a position of European
importance by the Northumbrian monk Baeda, afterwards called the Venerable
Bede, who was born in 673, a few years after the Synod of Whitby.

As the author of a great _Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation_,
Baeda ranks as the Father of English History; he did much to foster the
study of ancient classical authors, was himself a skilful writer of
manuscripts, and made the Abbey of Jarrow, where he lived till his death in
735, an active centre for the production of richly illuminated manuscripts
of many different literary classes.

_Northumbrian school._
_Celtic and Classic styles._|

In the eighth century the schools of illumination in the Abbeys of Jarrow,
Wearmouth and York in Northumbria, and of Canterbury and Winchester in the
south were among the most active and artistically important in the
world[83]. In these schools of miniature painting was gradually created a
special English style of illumination, partly formed out of a combination
of two very different styles, that of the Irish Celtic illuminators and
that of the Italian classical scribes.

This English School of illumination, which had been partially developed
before the close of the tenth century, became, for real artistic merit, the
first and most important in the whole of Europe, and for a considerable
period continued to occupy this foremost position[84].



_Danish invasions._

The ninth century in England was one of great turmoil and misery, on
account of the fearful havoc wrought by the Danish Northmen throughout the
whole length and breadth of the land. In Northumbria the thriving literary
and artistic school which had been raised to such preeminence by Baeda was
utterly blotted out from existence by the invading Danes; and when at last
King Alfred, who reigned from 871 to 901, secured an interval of peace he
was obliged to seek instructors in the art of manuscript illumination from
the Frankish kings.

_Time of King Alfred._

In this way the wave of influence flowed back again from France to England.
In Charles the Great's time the Carolingian school of manuscripts had been
largely influenced by the Celtic style, which Alcuin of York introduced
from Northumbria, and now the later art of Anglo-Saxon England received
back from France the forms of ornament and the technical skill which in
Northumbria itself had become extinct.

Alfred was an enthusiastic patron of literature and art, especially the art
of manuscript illumination, and before long a new school of manuscript art
was created in many of the Benedictine monasteries of England and
especially among the monks of the royal city of Winchester, which in the
tenth century produced works of extraordinary beauty and decorative force.

_Benedictional of Aethelwold._

As an example of this we may mention the famous _Benedictional_ of
Aethelwold, who was Bishop of Winchester from 963 to 984[86]. The writer of
this sumptuously decorated manuscript was Bishop Aethelwold's chaplain, a
monk named Godemann, who afterwards, about the year 970, became Abbot of
Thorney. Unlike the manuscripts of earlier date in which the illuminated
pictures are usually few in number, this _Benedictional_ contains no less
than thirty full page miniatures, mostly consisting of scenes from the life
of Christ. Each picture is framed by an elaborate border, richly decorated
in gold and brilliant colours, with conventional leaf-work of classical
style. The drawing of the figures is dignified, and the drapery is usually
well conceived and treated in a bold, decorative way, showing much artistic
skill on the part of the illuminator.

Fig. 21 shows one of the miniatures, representing the Ascension; the
colouring is extremely beautiful and harmonious, enhanced by a skilful use
of burnished gold.

_Foreign influence._

Though the figures and especially the delicately modelled faces have a
character of their own, peculiarly English in feeling, yet in the general
style of the miniatures, and in their elaborate borders there are very
distinct signs of a strong Carolingian influence, owing, no doubt, to the
introduction of Frankish illuminators and the purchase of Carolingian
manuscripts during the reign of Alfred the Great, more than half a century
before the date of this manuscript.

[Illustration: Fig. 21. Miniature from the _Benedictional_ of Aethelwold;
written and illuminated by a monastic scribe at Winchester.]

There is, for example, much similarity of style in the miniatures of this
_Benedictional_ and those in a Carolingian manuscript of _the Gospels_
written for King Lothaire in the monastery of St Martin at Metz soon after
843[87]; see above fig. 14, p. 71.

_Winchester Charter._

Another very fine example of the Winchester school of illumination is the
manuscript _Charter_ which King Edgar granted to the new minster at
Winchester in 966. The first page consists of a large miniature, painted in
gold and brilliant colours on a purple-stained leaf of vellum[88], with
Christ in Majesty supported by four angels in the upper part of the
picture, and, below, standing figures of the B. V. Mary and Saint Peter,
with King Edgar in the middle offering his charter to Christ. The whole
picture is very skilfully designed so as to fill the whole page in the most
decorative way, and it is framed in a border with richly devised
conventional leaf-forms.

In artistic power this tenth century Winchester school of illuminators
appears, for a while at least, to have been foremost in the world. Both in
delicacy of touch and in richness of decorative effect the productions of
this school are superior to those of any contemporary Continental country.

_St Dunstan as an artist._

Saint Dunstan, the great ecclesiastical statesman of the ninth century,
created another school of illumination in the Benedictine Abbey of
Glastonbury. Dunstan himself was no mean artist, as may be seen from a fine
drawing of Christ, which he executed[89]; the Saint has represented himself
as a small monkish figure prostrate at the feet of Christ. At the top of
the page is inscribed in a twelfth century hand, "Pictura et scriptura
hujus pagine subtus visa est de propria manu sancti Dunstani."

_Coloured ink drawings._

During the tenth century a large number of illuminated manuscripts were
executed in the southern parts of England, the miniatures in which are very
unlike and, as decoration, very inferior to the manuscripts of the
Anglo-Carolingian style, as represented by the magnificent _Benedictional_
of Aethelwold. This class of illumination consists of drawings, often with
a large number of small figures, executed with a pen in red, blue and brown
outline. The drawing of these figures is very mannered, the heads are
small, the attitudes awkward, and the draperies are represented in numerous
small, fluttering folds, drawn with an apparently shaky line, as if the
artist had lacked firmness of hand. This, however, is a mere mannerism, as
wherever he wished for a steady line, as, for example, in the drawing of
the faces, the artist has drawn with the utmost decision and firmness of
touch. The costumes of these curious outline drawings, the architectural
accessories and other details, all show clearly the influence of the very
debased forms of classical Roman art, which still survived among the
manuscript illuminations of Italy[90]. This degraded form of classical art
was far from being a good model for the Anglo-Saxon illuminator to imitate,
and the blue and red outline miniatures are very inferior to the sumptuous
Anglo-Carolingian manuscripts which were being produced at Winchester by
contemporary illuminators.

_MSS. of the XIIth century._
_Roll of St Guthlac._
_Beauty of line._

In the eleventh century Anglo-Saxon miniatures in coloured outline improved
greatly in beauty of form and in gracefulness of pose; till at the
beginning of the twelfth century extremely fine miniatures of this class
were produced. A very beautiful example of this is a long vellum roll
illuminated with eighteen circular miniatures, mostly drawn with a pen in
dark brown ink. These outline miniatures represent scenes from the life of
Saint Guthlac, the Hermit of Crowland. The series begins with a drawing of
the youthful Guthlac receiving the tonsure from Hedda, Bishop of Winchester
(676 to 705), in the presence of the Abbess Ebba and two nuns. The whole
composition is very skilfully arranged to fill the circular medallion, and
there is great dignity and even delicate beauty in the separate figures.
The precision of touch shown in the drawing is most admirable, recalling
the perfect purity of line seen in the finest vase-paintings of the Greeks,
in which, as in these miniatures, the greatest amount of effect is produced
with the fewest possible touches. A few flat washes are introduced into the
backgrounds, but all the principal part of the miniatures is executed with
this pure outline.

There are no grounds for the suggestion that these medallion drawings were
intended as designs for stained glass. There is much similarity of style in
stained glass paintings and manuscript illuminations during the twelfth to
the fourteenth century in England, just as in the early Byzantine
manuscripts the same design serves for a miniature painting and a colossal
wall-mosaic. The same simplicity of drawing and flatness of composition
were preserved in both classes of art, and there is nothing exceptional in
the fact that these miniatures of Saint Guthlac might have served as
excellent motives for a glass-painter[91].

_Pontifical of St Dunstan._

The _Pontifical_ of Saint Dunstan (Brit. Mus. _Cott. Claud._ A. 3),
executed in the early part of the eleventh century, is a magnificent
example of decorative art, both in its noble designs and richness of
colour. Though no gold is used, the greatest splendour of effect is
produced, especially in a large miniature representing Saint Gregory
enthroned under an elaborate architectural canopy, with prostrate figures
at his feet of Archbishop Dunstan and the Benedictine scribe of this
beautiful manuscript; see Westwood, _Irish Manuscripts_, Pl. 50.

_Byzantine decadence._

The beauty of the best English manuscripts of the twelfth century is a
remarkable contrast to the once splendid Byzantine school of illumination,
which by this time had sadly degenerated from its former vigorous
splendour, and had become weak in drawing, clumsy in pose and inharmonious
in colour. The English school on the other hand, all through the twelfth
century, was making rapid advances towards a perfection both of design and
technique which culminated in the Anglo-Norman style of the latter part of
the thirteenth century, which for beauty of all kinds remained for a long
time quite without rival in any European country.

_Canute a patron of art._
_Feeble colouring._

To return to the Anglo-Saxon school of manuscripts in the eleventh century,
it should be observed that the Danish King Canute, unlike his destructive
predecessors, did all that he could to encourage literature and art in
England. With a view to fostering the production of fine illuminated
manuscripts he introduced into this country, and especially into the royal
and monastic libraries of Winchester, a large number of Roman manuscripts
with the usual illuminations of the debased classic type. This, no doubt,
helped to encourage the production of miniatures in outline such as those
in the _Utrecht Psalter_[92]. Another variety of Anglo-Saxon manuscript
illumination, executed during the first half of the eleventh century,
consists first of all of a pen drawing in brown outline; to which
subsequently the artist added with a brush narrow bands of blue or red laid
on in a thin wash as a sort of edging to the brown outlines, apparently
with the object of giving roundness to the drawing[93].

This class of illumination is, however, very inferior in beauty and
decorative splendour to the finest works of the monks of Winchester and
Glastonbury, in which solid colour in great variety of tint is used, as,
for example in the above-mentioned _Benedictional_ of Aethelwold and the
_Pontifical_ of Saint Dunstan.

_The Anglo-Norman school._

The Norman conquest of England in 1066 soon put an end to the Anglo-Saxon
school of illumination, with its weak imitations of the debased classical
style of Italy. In place of this the magnificent Anglo-Norman schools of
miniature painting were developed on both sides of the British Channel.
England and Normandy became one country, and as long as this union lasted
manuscripts of precisely similar character were produced both in Normandy
and in England, as is described in the following Chapter.



The twelfth century in England and Northern France was a period of rapid
artistic development in almost all branches of the arts, from a miniature
illumination to a great Cathedral or Abbey church.

_The Norman invasion._
_Robert of Gloucester._

With regard, however, to the art of illuminated manuscripts and other
branches of art in England it should be observed that though the conquered
English and the Norman conquerors with remarkable rapidity were amalgamated
with great solidarity into one united people[94], yet for a long period
after the Conquest it was distinctly the Norman element that took the lead
in all matters of art and literature. The Bishops, Abbots and Priors of the
great English ecclesiastical foundations were for a long period wholly or
in the main men of the Norman race, and thus (intellectually) the native
English took a lower place, and did far less to advance the arts of England
than did the Normans who formed the upper and more cultivated class. As
Robert of Gloucester the Benedictine monkish Chronicler of the thirteenth
century says,

  Of the Normannes beth thys hey men, that beth of thys lond,
  And the lowe men of Saxons, as ych understonde[95].

_Architectural growth._

In the eleventh century building in stone on a large scale for military and
ecclesiastical purposes had been introduced into England by the Normans in
place of the frail wooden structures of the Anglo-Saxons. Towards the close
of the twelfth century the Gothic style of architecture, with its pointed
arches and quadripartite vaults, was brought to England by the Cistercian
monks of northern France, and soon spread far and wide throughout the

The artists of this century began to study the human form, its pose and
movement, and also in their drapery learnt to depict gracefully designed
folds with much truth and with a keen sense of beauty[96].

_Anglo-Norman school._

Manuscripts of various classes were now richly illuminated with many varied
series of picture subjects, and the old hieratic canons of Byzantine
conservatism were soon completely thrown aside. In the ornaments of the
Anglo-Norman manuscripts of the twelfth century rich foliage is used made
of conventionalized forms which recall the old acanthus leaf, the half
expanded fronds of various ferns and other plants, all used with great
taste in their arrangement, and wonderful life and spirit in every line and
curve of the design. Older Celtic motives are also used; ingeniously
devised interlaced work of straps and bands, plaited together in
complicated knots, and terminating frequently in strange forms of serpents,
dragons and other grotesque monsters[97]. These ornaments are strongly
decorative both in form and colour, and, though delicately painted, are
treated somewhat broadly, very unlike the microscopic minuteness of the
earlier Irish and Anglo-Celtic school.

_Illuminated Psalters._
_Martyrdom of St Thomas._

At this time a large number of very magnificently illuminated _Psalters_
were produced; and the use of gold leaf both for the backgrounds of
pictures and in combination with brilliant pigments began to come into more
frequent use. A fine typical example of English manuscript art at the close
of the twelfth century is to be seen in the so-called _Huntingfield
Psalter_, which was executed, probably in some monastic house in Yorkshire,
a little before 1200 A.D.[98] It contains 68 miniatures of very fine style,
delicately painted on backgrounds partially of gold; the subjects are taken
from both the Old and the New Testament, beginning with the Creation of the
World. The general style of the illuminations in this _Psalter_ is more
exclusively English in character and less Norman than is usual in
manuscripts of this date. The book is interesting as containing one of the
earliest representations of the Martyrdom of Thomas à Becket, who
subsequently became so popular a Saint in England and Normandy. In this
case the painting is not quite of the same date as the bulk of the
manuscript, but it evidently was added not many years after Becket's death,
which occurred in 1170; Saint Thomas was canonized only two years

One of the earliest representations of this subject is a miniature painted
by Matthew Paris on the border of a page of his _Greater Chronicle_ in the
library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, No. xxvi.

_The Angevin kingdom._

Though I have used the phrase "Anglo-Norman" to denote the school of
manuscript illumination which, from the twelfth to the fourteenth century,
existed on both sides of the Channel, it should be observed that
manuscripts of a similar type to those of Normandy were produced in many
places far to the south, and indeed almost throughout the whole dominions
of the Angevin kings, including the whole western half of France down to
Gascony and the Pyrenees. The fact is that to a great degree all forms of
Norman art extended throughout the whole Angevin dominions, so that, for
example, we find a Cathedral as far south as Bayonne (not far from the
Spanish frontier) resembling closely both in general design and details of
mouldings and carving the ecclesiastical architecture of Canterbury and

_English art in the XIIIth century._

_English art at its highest period of development._ The thirteenth century
was the culminating period of Anglo-Norman art of all kinds; and indeed for
a brief period England occupied the foremost position in the world with
regard to nearly all the principal branches of the fine arts.

_Henry III. as an art patron._

The early years of the thirteenth century were a time of war and tumult,
little favourable to artistic advance, but during the long reign of Henry
III., which lasted from 1216 to 1272, progress of the most remarkable kind
was made. The King himself was an enthusiastic patron of all the arts,
ranging from manuscript illumination to the construction of such a fabric
as Westminster Abbey; and the lesser arts of life, such as weaving,
embroidery, metal work, together with stained glass, mural painting and
other forms of decoration, were all brought in England to a wonderful pitch
of perfection between 1250 and 1300.

_Houses of Henry III._

Immense sums were spent by the King in improving and decorating his Palaces
and Manor Houses all over the kingdom with an amount of refinement and
splendour that had hitherto been unknown. Many interesting contemporary
documents still exist giving the expenses of the many works which Henry
III. carried out. He spent large sums on fitting the windows with glass
casements, laying down floors of "painted tiles," and in panelling the
walls with wainscot which was richly decorated with painting in gold and
colours. Large mural paintings were executed by a whole army of painters on
the walls of the chief rooms; and decorative art both for domestic and
ecclesiastical purposes was in England brought to a pitch of perfection far
beyond that of any continental country.

_Chief works of Henry III._

The chief works of Henry III. were the building of a magnificent Palace at
Westminster in place of the ruder structure of the earlier Norman kings;
the reconstruction of Westminster Abbey, and the providing for the body of
Edward the Confessor a great shrine of pure gold, richly studded with
jewels of enormous value. A long and interesting series of accounts of
these and other lavish expenditures of money still exist in the Record

_Wall-paintings at Westminster._

A magnificent series of wall-paintings, with subjects from sacred and
profane history and from the Apocryphal books of the Old Testament, were
executed by various artists, both monks and laymen, on the walls of the
chief rooms in the new Palace of Westminster. In style these paintings were
very like the miniatures in an illuminated manuscript of the time; they
were simply designed, flat in treatment, and executed with the most minute
and delicate detail. Great richness of effect was produced by the use of
wooden stamps with which delicate diapers and other patterns were stamped
over the backgrounds of the pictures on the thin coat of _gesso_ which
covered the stone wall. These minutely executed reliefs were then thickly
gilt, forming rich gold backgrounds, such as are so commonly used in the
manuscripts of the Anglo-Norman school; see fig. 23, p. 130.

_Paintings copied from MSS._

The close connection between these magnificent wall paintings and the
illuminated miniatures in manuscripts is borne witness to by an interesting
record that, in the year 1250, the King ordered Richard de Sanford, Master
of the Knights Templars, to lend an illuminated manuscript in French of
"_The Gestes of Antioch and the History of the Crusades_" to the painter
Edward of Westminster, so that he might copy the miniatures, using the
designs to paint the walls of "the Queen's low room in the new Palace of
Westminster" with a series of historical pictures. From these paintings of
"the Gestes of Antioch" the Queen's room was thenceforth known as "the
Antioch chamber[101]".

_The Painted Chamber._

The largest of the halls in the Westminster Palace, decorated with a
marvellous series of exquisitely finished paintings, was known as "the
Painted Chamber" _par excellence_ from its great size and the immense
number of pictures which covered its walls. The system of decoration
adopted in the thirteenth century was not to paint large pictures in a
large hall, but simply to multiply the number of small ones, keeping the
figures as delicate in execution and small in scale as if the room had been
of the most limited dimensions.

This had the effect of enormously adding to the apparent scale of the room,
a great contrast to the method of decoration which was employed in later
times of decadence, when large halls were dwarfed and rendered
insignificant by covering the walls with figures of colossal size. The
sixteenth century tapestry in the great hall at Hampton Court is a striking
example of the way in which gigantic figures may destroy the scale of an

_Existing fragments._

The great beauty and extreme minuteness of the work can be seen in some few
damaged fragments, now in the British Museum, which were not completely
destroyed when the Royal Palace of Westminster, the seat of the two Houses
of Parliament, was burnt in 1834.

In the second half of the thirteenth century, during the reigns of Henry
III. and Edward I., the painting of England was unrivalled by that of any
other country[102]. Even in Italy, Cimabue and his assistants were still
labouring in the fetters of Byzantine conventionalism, and produced no
works which for jewel-like beauty of colour and grace of form were quite
equal to the paintings of England under Edward I.

_English sculpture._
_William Torell._

In sculpture too England was no less pre-eminent; no continental works of
the time are equal in combined dignity and beauty, both of the heads and of
the drapery, to the bronze effigies of Henry III. and Queen Eleanor of
Castile on the north side of Edward the Confessor's Chapel at Westminster.
These noble examples of bronze sculpture were the work of the goldsmith
citizen of London William Torell, who executed them by the beautiful _cire
perdue_ process with the utmost technical skill[103]; see page 232 on their
gilding, which was executed by the old "mercury process."

_The Fitz-Othos._

One of the chief English families of the thirteenth century, among whom the
practice of various arts was hereditary, was named Otho or Fitz-Otho.
Various members of this family were goldsmiths, manuscript illuminators,
cutters of dies for coins and makers of official seals, as well as painters
of mural decorations. The elaborate gold shrine of the Confessor, one of
the most costly works of the Middle Ages, was made by the Otho family. The
great royal seals of more than one king were their handiwork, and it should
be observed that the seals of England, not only of the thirteenth century
but almost throughout the mediaeval period, were far the most beautiful in
the world, both for splendour and elaboration of design, and for exquisite
minuteness of detail.

_English needlework._

Another minor branch of art, in which England during the thirteenth century
far surpassed the rest of the world, was the art of embroidering delicate
pictures in silk, especially for ecclesiastical vestments. The most famous
embroidered vestments now preserved in various places in Italy are the
handiwork of English embroiderers between the years 1250 and 1300, though
their authorship is not as a rule recognized by their present
possessors[104]. The embroidered miniatures on these marvellous pieces of
needlework resemble closely in style the illuminations in fine Anglo-Norman
manuscripts of the thirteenth century, and in many cases have obviously
been copied from manuscript miniatures.

_Decay of English art._

There is, in short, ample evidence to show that the Anglo-Norman art of the
thirteenth century, in almost all branches, and more especially on English
soil, had reached a higher pitch of perfection, aesthetic and technical,
than had been then attained by any other country in the world. In the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, owing largely to the Black Death and
the protracted Wars of the Roses, the arts of England fell into the
background, but it should not be forgotten that there was one period, from
about 1260 to 1300 or 1320, when England occupied the foremost place in the
artistic history of the world.

With regard to the Anglo-Norman manuscripts of the thirteenth and early
part of the fourteenth century, the most remarkable class, both for beauty
of execution and for the extraordinary number that were produced, consists
of copies of the _Vulgate_, richly decorated with a large number of initial
letters containing minute miniatures of figure subjects[105].

_MS. Bibles._
_Historiated Bibles._

These Bibles vary in size from large quartos or folios down to the most
minute _codex_ with writing of microscopic character. In the latter it
appears to have been the special aim of the scribe to get the whole of the
_Vulgate_, including the _Apocrypha_, the _Prologue of St Jerome_, and an
explanatory _list of Hebrew names_, into the smallest possible space. The
thinnest uterine vellum of the finest quality is used[106], the text is
frequently much contracted, and the characters are of almost microscopic
size[107]. In these smallest Bibles the initials are mostly ornamented with
conventional leaves and grotesque dragon monsters; but in the larger
manuscripts the initials at the beginning of every book, about 82 in
number, are illuminated with a miniature picture of the most exquisite
workmanship, a perfect model of beauty and refined skill. The drawing of
the faces and hair is specially beautiful, being executed with a fine,
crisp line with the most precise and delicate touch, worthy of a Greek
artist of the best period. The drawing of the hair and beard of the male
figures is most masterly, with waving curls full of grace and spirit, in
spite of the extreme minuteness of the scale.

_Method of execution._

The miniatures of this school are executed in the following manner: first
of all a slight outline is lightly sketched with a lead or silver point;
the main masses are then put in with flat, solid colour; the internal
drawing of the folds of the drapery, the hair and features and the like,
are then added with a delicate pointed brush, capable of drawing the finest
possible line; and finally some shading is added to give roundness to the
forms, especially of the drapery, a broader touch being used for this,
unlike the first drawing of the details, which is executed with a thin,
though boldly applied line. As a rule the portions which are in shadow are
put in with a pure pigment; the high lights being represented with white,
and the half lights with a mixture of white and the same pigment that is
used for the dark shadows. By this somewhat conventional system of
colouring, the local colour is never lost, and the whole effect is highly
decorative, and far more suitable for painting on such a minute scale than
a more realistic system of colour would have been[108].

_Bible of Mainerius._
_Benedictine scribes._

One of the larger and more magnificent manuscripts of this class, in the
library of S^{te} Géneviéve in Paris, is a historiated _Vulgate_ in three
large volumes, which is of special interest from the fact that it is signed
by its scribe, a monk named Mainerius of the Benedictine Abbey of

Most of these Bibles and other sacred manuscripts of this period appear to
have been written and illuminated in the great Benedictine Abbeys of
England and Normandy. On this side of the Channel York, Norwich, Bury St
Edmunds, Winchester, St Albans, and Canterbury were specially famed for
their schools of illumination[109]. And probably some work of the kind was
done in every Benedictine House[110].

The unity of a great monastic Order like that of St Benedict, and the fact
that monks were often transferred from a monastery in one country to one of
the same Order in another country, had an important influence on the
artistic development of mediaeval Europe.

_Monastic unity._

This unity of feeling was of course encouraged by the existence of a common
language (Latin) among all the ecclesiastics of Western Europe; and to a
great extent the old traditions of a great Western Empire, uniting various
races under one system of government, survived in the organization of the
Catholic Church.

This unity of life, of custom and of thought, which was so striking a
feature of the monastic system, was, to a great extent, the cause why we
find a simultaneous change of artistic style taking place at several far
distant centres of production[111]. Hence also it is usually impossible,
from the style of illumination in an Anglo-Norman manuscript of the
thirteenth century, to judge whether it was executed in Normandy or in

_Backgrounds of sheet gold._

One extremely magnificent class of illumination of this date and school,
specially used for _Psalters_, _Missals_ and other Service-books, has the
background behind the figures formed of an unbroken sheet of burnished gold
of the most sumptuously decorative effect.

_Chequer backgrounds._

In the fourteenth century the plain gold background was mostly superseded
by delicate diapers of lozenge and chessboard form, with alternating
squares of gold and blue or red, very rich and beautiful in effect, and
sometimes of extreme minuteness of scale, so that each lozenge or square of
the diaper is not larger than an ordinary pin's head. In France these
diapered patterns were used with great frequency, and their use survived in
some cases till the early part of the fifteenth century.

_Scroll patterns._

Another form of background, used in Anglo-Norman miniatures, consists of
delicate scroll patterns or outlined diapers put in with a fine brush and
with fluid gold over a ground of flat opaque colour. Gold scroll-work of
this kind on a _pink_ ground is specially characteristic of miniatures
painted in England during the fourteenth and first half of the fifteenth

_Architectural backgrounds._

A fourth style of background, used in miniature pictures of this date,
consists of architectural forms, which frequently enshrine the whole
miniature, with background, frame, and canopy in one rich architectural
composition. This is often painted in gold, with details in firm, dark
lines, and, though conventionally treated, gives not unfrequently a
representation of an exquisitely beautiful Gothic structure[112].

_Realistic backgrounds._

Last of all come the realistic backgrounds, with pictorial effects of
distance and aerial perspective, often very skilful and even beautiful in
effect, but not so strongly decorative or so perfectly suited to manuscript
illumination as the more conventional backgrounds of an earlier date.

These realistic surroundings began to be introduced in the fourteenth
century, but are more especially characteristic of the fifteenth century.
In the sixteenth century, when the illumination of manuscripts had ceased
to be a real living art, though painfully and skilfully practised by such
masters of technique as Giulio Clovio and various Italian and French
painters, the pictorial character of the backgrounds was carried to an
excessive degree of elaboration and decadence.

_Psalter at Burlington House._

Among the most magnificent of the Anglo-Norman manuscripts of the
thirteenth century are copies of the _Psalter_. One in the library of the
Society of Antiquaries in Burlington House is of extraordinary beauty for
the delicate and complicated patterns of interlaced scroll-work which fill
its large initials. The first letter _B_ of the beginning of the Psalms
(_Beatus vir_ etc.) is in this and some other illuminated _Psalters_ of the
same class, of such size and elaboration that it occupies most of the first
page. Among its ingeniously devised interlaced ornaments various little
animals, rabbits, squirrels and others are playing--marvels of minute and
delicate painting. Round the border which frames the whole are ten minute
medallion pictures, some of them representing musicians playing on various
instruments, one of which is a kind of barrel organ, called an
_organistrum_, worked by two players. This magnificent manuscript dates
from about the middle of the thirteenth century.

_The Tenison Psalter._

Another still more beautiful _Psalter_ in the British Museum, called from
its former owner _Archbishop Tenison's Psalter_, was illuminated for Queen
Eleanor of Castile, the wife of Edward I., about the year 1284. It was
intended as a marriage gift for their third son Alphonso, who, however,
died in August 1284, a few days after the signing of his marriage contract.
The manuscript was for this reason unfortunately left unfinished, and was
afterwards completed by a very inferior illuminator. The letter _B_ on the
first page is filled by an exquisite miniature of the Royal Psalmist; and
in the lower part of the border is the slaying by an infantile David, of
Goliath, represented as a gigantic knight in chain armour. At intervals
round the border are minute but very accurately painted birds of various
kinds, including the gull, kingfisher, woodpecker, linnet, crane and
goldfinch. In places where the text does not reach to the end of the line
the space is filled up by a narrow band of ornament in gold and colours,
occupying the same space that a complete line of words would have done.
This method of avoiding any blank spaces in the page, and making the whole
surface one unbroken mass of beauty was employed in the finest manuscripts
of this and of other classes, especially the manuscripts of France and

_Tenison Psalter._

The _Tenison Psalter_ appears to have been written and illuminated in the
Monastic House of the Blackfriars in London; it is quite one of the noblest
existing examples of English art during the thirteenth century, and is
unsurpassed in beauty and skilful technique by the manuscripts of any age
or country[113].

_MSS. of the Apocalypse._

_Manuscripts of the Apocalypse._ The Anglo-Norman and French manuscripts of
the _Apocalypse_, executed during the fourteenth century, are on the whole
the most beautiful class of illuminated manuscripts that the world has ever

For combined decorative splendour, exquisite grace of drawing, and poetry
of sentiment they are quite unrivalled. During several years before and
after 1300 a considerable number of these copiously illustrated manuscripts
of the _Apocalypse_ seem to have been produced with a certain uniformity of
style and design, which shows that, as in the case of the historiated
Bibles, one model must have been copied and passed on from hand to hand
through the _Scriptoria_ of many different Monastic Houses.

_Perfect beauty._

No words can adequately express the refined and poetical beauty of these
miniatures of Apocalyptic scenes, glowing with the utmost splendour of
burnished gold, ultramarine and other brilliant pigments. The whole figures
of the angels, their beautiful serene faces, their exquisitely pencilled
wings with feathers of bright colours, the simple dignified folds of their
drapery, all are executed with the most wonderful certainty of touch and
the highest possible sense of romantic beauty.

The accessories are hardly less beautiful; the Gothic arches and pinnacles
of the New Jerusalem, the vine plants and other trees and flowers, designed
with a perfect balance between decorative conventionalism and realistic
truth, and last of all the sumptuous backgrounds covered with delicate
diapers or scroll-work in gold and blue and crimson, all unite the whole
composition into one perfect harmony, like a mosaic of gleaming gems, fixed
in a matrix of pure, shining gold.

_Machine-made art._

Nothing perhaps could better exemplify the gulf that separates the artistic
productions of this feverish, steam-driven nineteenth century from the
serene glories of the art of bygone days than a comparison of such a book
as the Trinity _Apocalypse_ with that masterpiece of commercial art called
"the Victoria Psalter," which, printed in a steam-press on machine-made
paper, illuminated by chromolithography, and bound in a machine-embossed
leather cover, produces a total effect which cannot adequately be described
in polite language[115].

_English Monasteries._

_The later English manuscripts._ In the fourteenth century a more
distinctly English style of illumination began to branch off from the
Anglo-Norman style. Something like separate schools of painting gradually
grew up in the great Benedictine Monasteries, such as those at St Albans,
Norwich, Glastonbury and Bury Saint Edmunds.

The type of face represented in English miniatures from about the middle of
the fourteenth century onwards is rather different from the French type
with its long oval face and pointed nose[116]. In English manuscripts the
faces are rounder and plumper, and the backgrounds are very frequently
formed by gold scroll-work over a peculiar pink, made by a mixture of red
lead with a large proportion of white.

_The Black Death._

On the whole the style of figure painting in English manuscripts
deteriorated very distinctly after the ravages caused by the Black Death in
the middle of the fourteenth century; that is to say the average of
excellence became lower; and, especially in the fifteenth century, a good
deal of very coarse and inferior manuscript illumination was produced. On
the other hand there were some illuminators in England whose work is not
surpassed by that of any contemporary French or Flemish artist.

_Outline drawings._

One very beautiful class of English illumination, executed about the middle
of the fourteenth century, has very small and delicate figures, drawn in
firm outline with a pen and brown ink; relief is then given to the figures
by the partial application of transparent washes of delicate colour,
producing an effect of great beauty and refinement. _The Poyntz Book of
Hours_ in the Fitzwilliam Library has no less than 292 miniature paintings
of this very beautiful style. The book was written for a friend and
companion of the Black Prince about the year 1350. Its delicate paintings
have unfortunately, in many places, been coarsely touched up with gold and
colours by a later hand.

_Lectionary of Sifer Was._

A very fine characteristic example of English art towards the close of the
fourteenth century is preserved in the British Museum (_Harl. Manuscripts_
7026). This is a noble folio manuscript _Lectionary_[117], unfortunately
imperfect, which was written and illuminated by a monk named Sifer Was for
Lord Lovel of Tichmersh, who died in 1408; it was presented by him to the
Cathedral church of Salisbury, as is recorded by a note which asks for
prayers for the donor's soul. The text is written in a magnificent large
Gothic hand, such as was imitated by the printers of early _Missals_[118]
and _Psalters_. On the first page is a large, beautifully painted miniature
representing the scribe Sifer Was presenting the manuscript to Lord Lovel.
The figures are large in scale, and the heads are carefully executed
portraits, evidently painted with great eiconic skill. Each page of the
text has a richly decorative border with conventional foliage of the
characteristically bold English type. Figures of angels are introduced at
the sides, and an exquisitely minute little painting is placed at the top,
by the initial letter of the page.

_English foliage._

The English foliated borders and capitals in manuscripts of this type are
very bold and decorative in effect, with a simple form of leaf with few
serrations, twining in most graceful curves and broadly painted in blue and
red with very good effect, even in many manuscripts where the execution is
not of the most refined kind. A variety of what is commonly known as "the
pine-apple design"[119] is frequently introduced into these very effective
pieces of ornament.

_Portrait figures._

It should be noticed that the first growth of portrait painting in Western
Europe seems to have arisen out of this custom of introducing portrait
figures of patrons and donors at the beginning of important manuscripts. In
French and Burgundian manuscripts especially we find many very interesting
portraits of Kings and Princes together with those of the authors or the
illuminators of richly decorated manuscripts.


Donors' portraits are also commonly introduced into votive altar-pieces,
usually in the form of small kneeling figures. As time went on these
figures of donors gradually became more important in scale and position.
Thus, for example, the magnificent altar-piece in the Brera Gallery in
Milan, painted by Piero della Francesca about the year 1480[120], has, in
the most conspicuous place in the foreground, a kneeling figure of the
donor, Duke Federigo da Montefeltro of Urbino, which is actually larger in
scale than the chief figures of the picture--the Madonna and attendant
angels. During the fourteenth century, both in altar-pictures and in
manuscript illuminations, the portraits of living people are treated in a
more subordinate way.

_Portrait of Richard II._

A fine example of portraiture in a manuscript is to be seen in the _Epistre
au Roy Richard II. d'Angleterre_ (Brit. Mus. _Royal Manuscripts_ 20 B. vi)
written by a Hermit of the Celestin Order in Paris. The upper half of the
first page is occupied by an exquisite miniature of Richard II. on his
throne, surrounded by courtiers, accepting the bound copy of the manuscript
from the monastic author, who kneels on one knee, presenting his book with
one hand, while in the other he holds a sacred banner embroidered with the
Agnus Dei. The background is of the sumptuous chess-board pattern in gold,
blue and red, and the whole page is surrounded with the so-called ivy-leaf

_Portraits of Henry VI. and his Queen._

The _Shrewsbury manuscript_, containing a collection of chivalrous
_Romances_ (Brit. Mus. _Royal Manuscripts_ 15 E vi), has another beautiful
example of miniature portraiture. The first painting represents John
Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, for whom this interesting manuscript was
illuminated, kneeling to present the book to Queen Margaret of Anjou on the
occasion of her marriage with Henry VI. The King and Queen are represented
side by side on a double throne, and around is a group of courtier
attendants. The kneeling figure of Earl Talbot is interesting for its
costume; the mantle which the Earl wears is powdered (semée) with small
garters embroidered in gold; an early but now obsolete form of state robe
worn by Knights of the Order of the Garter. Both these manuscripts, though
executed for English patrons, are of French workmanship.

Some of the most magnificent manuscripts of the fifteenth century and
earlier were, like Lord Lovel's _Lectionary_, illuminated at the cost of
some wealthy layman for the purpose of presentation to a Cathedral or Abbey
Church. In return for the gift the Church often agreed to keep a yearly
_obiit_ or annual Mass for the donors soul, which in England was called
"the years mind"; and this kind of gift thus often served to provide a
"Chantry" of a limited kind.

_Queen Mary's Prayer-book._

One of the finest examples of English manuscript art in the fourteenth
century is a _Psalter_ commonly known as "Queen Marys Prayer-book". This
exquisite manuscript, which is in the British Museum, contains, before the
_Psalter_, a large number of miniatures of Biblical scenes executed in
outline, treated with delicate washes of transparent colour. The _Psalter_
is illuminated in quite a different style, with brilliant gold and colours
in all the miniatures and borders, which are painted with wonderful
delicacy of touch, unsurpassed by the best French work. A _Bestiary_ is
introduced into the margins of the _Psalter_; and at the end there are
beautiful paintings of New Testament scenes. The date of this book is c.
1330; in 1553 it was given to Queen Mary.

_MSS. of Dan Lydgate._

Another English manuscript of special interest both for its text and its
beautiful illuminations is a copy in the British Museum of Dan Lydgate's
_Life of Saint Edmund_, which was written and illuminated in 1433 by a Monk
in the Benedictine Monastery at Bury Saint Edmunds; it is an early and very
beautiful example of a manuscript in the Vulgar tongue. In style the
illuminated borders are not unlike those in "Queen Mary's Prayer-book."

Another very similar manuscript both in date and style was sold at the
Perkins sale, in June, 1873, for £1320[121]. This is a magnificently
illuminated folio of "The Siege of Troye compiled by Dann John Lydgate,
Monke of Bury"; it contains seventy miniature paintings, chiefly of battle
scenes, in which the combatants wear armour of the first half of the
fifteenth century. The illuminated borders are of the boldly decorative
English type mentioned above, and the miniatures are large in scale, in
many cases extending across the whole width of the page with its double
column of text.

_Woodcut initials._

In England the introduction of the art of printing in 1477 seems to have
brought the illuminator's art to an end more quickly than was the case in
Continental countries. Caxton's later books have printed initials[122],
instead of blank spaces left for the illuminator, as in most of the early
printed books of Germany, France and Italy; and English book-buyers appear
to have been soon satisfied with simple illustrations in the form of rather
rudely executed woodcuts.

The subjects represented in English miniatures are for the most part the
same as those in contemporary French manuscripts; but the martyrdom of
Saint Thomas of Canterbury occurs more frequently in English than in any
continental manuscripts[123]. Almost immediately after the event in 1170
this scene began to be represented; see above, page 108.

_St George and the Dragon._

Another specially English subject is Saint George, who was at first the
Crusaders' Patron and then the national Saint of England. He is usually
represented as a Knight on horseback slaying the dragon with a lance. This
subject did not come into popular use till the fourteenth century[124].

Both in England and in France, during the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries, manuscript _Chronicles_ and _Histories_ of both ancient and
modern times formed a large and important class of manuscripts; and these
were usually copiously illustrated with miniatures. The _Chronicles_ of Sir
John Froissart was justly a very favourite book on both sides of the
Channel[125], and many richly illuminated manuscripts of it still exist;
see below, page 139.

_MS. Chronicles._

The British Museum possesses a magnificent manuscript of the _Chronicles of
England_ in seven large folio volumes, which were compiled and written at
the command of Edward IV. The miniatures which decorate this sumptuous work
are partly Anglo-Norman and partly Flemish, in the style of the school of
the Van Eycks at Bruges.

One favourite form of _Chronicle_, giving an abstract of the whole World's
history, was in the shape of a long parchment roll, illuminated with
miniatures in the form of circular medallions. Some of these great rolls
were written and illuminated by English miniaturists, but they appear not
to have been as common in England as they were in France; see below, page
139. On these rolls the writing usually continues down the strip, not at
right angles to the long sides, as on classical papyrus rolls.



_Psalter of St Louis._

During the thirteenth century "the art of illumination as it is called in
Paris"[126] flourished under the Saintly King Louis IX. (1215-1270) as much
as it did in England under Henry III. Manuscripts of most exquisite beauty
and refinement were produced in Paris, in style little different from those
of the Anglo-Norman school. One of the most beautiful and historically
interesting is a _Psalter_ (Paris, _Bibl. Nat._) which is said  to have
been written for St Louis about 1260. This is a large folio, copiously
illustrated with sacred subjects minutely painted on a ground of burnished
gold enriched by tooling. Many of the miniatures are framed in a beautiful
architectural composition of cusped arches, with delicate open tracery
supported by slender columns.

_Perfect finish._

Fig. 22 gives the bare design of one of the historiated initials in this
lovely manuscript, the capital _B_ at the beginning of the Psalms. In the
upper part is the scene of David watching Bathsheba bathing; and below is a
kneeling figure of the king adoring Christ in Majesty. No reproduction can
give any notion of the exquisitely delicate painting, or of the splendour
of its burnished gold and colours. The historical scenes from the Old
Testament have, after the usual fashion of the time, the Hebrew warriors
and their enemies represented as mediaeval knights in armour.

[Illustration: Fig. 22. A page from the _Psalter_ of Saint Louis, written
about the year 1260, by a French scribe.]

_Archaism of detail._

It should, however, be observed that in this and many other French and
English miniatures of the time the ancient warriors are represented not in
the armour of the actual date of the execution of the manuscript, but with
the dress and arms of a couple of generations earlier. The monastic artists
were not skilled archaeologists, but they wished to suggest that the scene
they were painting was one that had happened long ago, and therefore they
introduced what was probably the oldest armour they were acquainted
with--that of their grandfathers' or great-grandfathers' time. This is an
important point, as in many cases a wrong judgment has been formed as to
the date of a manuscript from the mistaken supposition that contemporary
dress and armour were represented in it.

It is just the same with the thirteenth century art of England. Paintings
executed for Henry III. in his Palace at Westminster had representations of
knights in the armour of William the Conqueror's time or a little later. In
later times, especially in the fifteenth century, this _naïve_ form of
archaeology was given up, and the heroes of ancient and sacred history are
represented exactly like kings and warriors of the artist's own time.

_MS. Bibles._

The historiated Bibles of Paris in the thirteenth century were equal in
beauty and very similar in style to those of the Anglo-Norman miniaturists,
but they do not appear to have been produced in such immense quantities as
they were in the more northern monasteries.

In the fifteenth century the influence of the Church tended to check the
study of the Bible on the part of the laity, and very few manuscripts of
the Bible were then written. Their place was to some extent taken by the
_Books of Hours_, enormous numbers of which were produced in France and the
Netherlands, all through the fifteenth century; see page 141.

_French illuminated Manuscripts of the XIVth and XVth centuries._ To this
class belong a great many of the magnificent manuscripts of _the
Apocalypse_ which have been described under the head of Anglo-Norman
manuscripts. No hard and fast line can be drawn between the manuscript
styles of Normandy and the northern provinces of France.

_Archaism of style._

In the fourteenth century Paris and Saint Denis were important centres for
the production of manuscripts of the most highly finished kind. Historiated
Bibles, both in Latin and in French, continued to be produced in great
number till past the middle of the fourteenth century. Some of these French
translations, executed as late as 1370, are what may be called archaistic
in style; that is to say, the subjects selected and the method of their
treatment and execution continued to be almost the same as that of the
historiated _Vulgates_ of France and Normandy at the beginning of the
century. The miniatures are very minute in scale, and are often painted on
backgrounds of the brilliant chess-board and other diapers in red, blue and
gold. Though extremely decorative and beautiful, the miniatures of this
class are not quite equal to those of the thirteenth century Bibles, either
in vigour of drawing or in delicacy of touch.

_The ivy pattern._

On the whole, in the fourteenth century, the French schools of illumination
were the finest in the world, and the manuscripts of Northern France were
the most sumptuously decorated of all. One specially beautiful style of
ornament was introduced early in the century and lasted with little
modification for more than a hundred years. This was the method of writing
on a wide margined page, and then covering the broad marginal space by
delicate flowing scrolls or curves of foliage, leaves and small blossoms of
various shapes being used, but more especially one form of triple-pointed
leaf which is known commonly as the "ivy" or "thorn-leaf pattern."
Brilliant effect is given to these rich borders by forming some of the
leaves in burnished gold; and variety is given to the foliage by the
introduction of minutely painted birds of many kinds, song-birds,
game-birds and others, treated with much graceful realism[127].

[Illustration: Fig. 23. Miniature representing King Conrad of Bohemia, with
an attendant, hawking; from a manuscript of the fourteenth century, showing
the influence of French art.]

Fig. 28 shows part of a border from a manuscript of this class, a _Book of
Hours_ executed for the Duke de Berri; the typical pointed "ivy-leaves"
grow from each of the quatrefoils which are introduced to hold the arms and
initials of the owner. It comes from the same manuscript as the
illumination shown in fig. 25.

_Decorative unity._

These elaborate borders are usually made to grow out of the ornaments of
the illuminated initials in the text, and thus a sense of unity is given to
the whole page, the decorations of which thus become, not an adjunct, but
an essential part of the text.

Fig. 24 shows a miniature from a French manuscript of this magnificent
class, the _Treasure-Book_ of the Abbey of Origny in Picardy, executed
about 1312 for the Abbess Héloise. It contains fifty-four large miniatures
of scenes from the life and martyrdom of Saint Benedicta. The shaded part
of the border is of the richest burnished gold, and the whole effect is
magnificently decorative.

The scene represented is the murder of the Saint, whose soul is being borne
up to Heaven by two Angels, held in the usual conventional loop of drapery.

_Horae of the Duc d'Anjou._

As an example of this class of illumination we may mention the famous _Book
of Hours_ of the Duke of Anjou (Paris, _Bibl. Nat._) illuminated about the
year 1380. Every page has a rich and delicate border covered with the ivy
foliage[128], and enlivened by exquisitely painted birds, such as the
goldfinch, the thrush, the linnet, the jay, the quail, the sparrow-hawk and
many others; and at the top of the page, at the beginning of each division
of the _Horae_, is a miniature picture of most perfect grace and beauty,
the decorative value of which is enhanced by a background, either of gold
diaper, or else of delicate scroll-work in light blue painted over a ground
of deep ultramarine.

Enormous prices were frequently paid by wealthy patrons for sumptuously
illuminated manuscripts, especially in the fifteenth century for _Books of

[Illustration: Fig. 24. Scene of the martyrdom of Saint Benedicta from a
_Martyrology_ of about 1312.]

_Horae of the Duc de Berri._

The Paris library possesses (_Bibl. Nat._ Lat. 919) a very magnificent
manuscript _Horae_, which was painted for the Duc de Berri at the beginning
of the century by a French miniaturist named Jaquemart de Odin. At the
Duke's death this _Book of Hours_ was valued at no less than four thousand
livres Tournois, equal in modern value to quite two thousand pounds. It is
mentioned thus in the inventory of the Duke's personal property, _item,
unes tres belles heures tres richement enluminees et hystoriees de la main
de Jaquemart de Odin...._ Like all books of this class, specially painted
for a distinguished person, the arms and badges of the owner are introduced
among the foliated ornaments of the borders of many pages; as the inventory
states, _par les quarrefors des feuilles en plusieurs lieux faictes des
armes et devises_[129].

Fig. 25 shows part of a page from this lovely book, with a miniature of the
Birth of the Virgin, painted by Jacquemart de Odin, within a beautiful
architectural framing of the finest style.

Space will not allow any attempt to describe even in outline the many
splendid classes of illuminated manuscripts which were produced by the
French artists of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. A few notable
points only can be briefly mentioned.

_Architectural framing._

One special beauty of French illumination of this date is due to the
exquisite treatment of architectural frames and backgrounds which are used
to enshrine the whole picture. The loveliest Gothic forms are introduced,
with the most delicate detail of tracery, pinnacles, canopy-work, shafts
and arches, all being frequently executed in gold with subtle transparent
shading to give an effect of relief. From the technical point of view these
manuscripts reach the highest pitch of perfection; the burnished gold is
thick and solid in appearance, and is convex in surface so as to catch high
lights, and look, not like gold leaf, but like actual plates of the purest
and most polished gold[130]. The pigments are of the most brilliant
colours, so skilfully prepared and applied that they are able to defy the
power of time to change their hue or even dim their splendour.

[Illustration: Fig. 25. Miniature of the birth of the Virgin painted by the
illuminator Jacquemart de Odin for the Duc de Berri. The border is of the
characteristic French and Franco-Flemish style; see fig. 28 on page 146.]

_Survival of style._

Another noticeable point about the French and Franco-Flemish illumination
is the manner in which certain modes of decoration survived with very
little alteration for more than a century. Thus we find the blue, red and
gold diapers used for backgrounds, and the ivy-leaf pattern and its
varieties[131], which had been fully developed before the middle of the
fourteenth century, still surviving in manuscripts of the second half of
the fifteenth century, and continuing in use till the growing decadence of
taste caused them to be superseded by borders and backgrounds painted in a
naturalistic rather than a decorative manner[132].

_Costly Horae._

The Franco-Flemish manuscripts of the fifteenth century were in some cases
remarkable for the amazing amount of laborious illumination and the
enormous number of miniatures which they contain. Some of these, which were
executed for Royal or Princely patrons and liberal paymasters, engaged the
incessant labour of the illuminator for many years. In these cases he was
usually paid a regular salary, and so was relieved from the incentive to
hasty work which caused so much inferior illumination to be produced in the
fifteenth century.

_The Bedford Breviary._

One of the most famous examples of this lavish expenditure of time on one
book is the _Breviary_ of the Duke of Bedford, who was Regent of France
from 1422 to 1435[133]. This wonderful manuscript, in addition to countless
elaborate initials, and borders round every page, contains more than 2500
miniature paintings, all delicately and richly executed in burnished gold
and brilliant colours, with backgrounds, in many cases, of the fourteenth
century type, with chess-board patterns and other diapers of the most
elaborate and sumptuous kind. The figures are of the finest Franco-Flemish
style, showing the influence of the Van Eycks, who were then becoming the
most skilful painters, technically at least, in the world.

_The Bedford Missal._

Another no less famous manuscript is the _Bedford Missal_ in the British
Museum, which was painted for the Duke of Bedford, and was presented by his
wife to Henry VI. of England, when he was crowned King of France in Paris
in the year 1430. The _Bedford Missal_ contains no less than fifty-nine
large miniatures and about a thousand smaller ones, not counting initials
and borders. One point of special interest about this gorgeous manuscript
is that the illuminations have evidently been executed by at least three
different miniaturists, who represent three different schools, the
Parisian-French, the Franco-Flemish and the English.

_MSS. by various hands._

It is by no means uncommon to find the work of several different
illuminators in one manuscript. Naturally, when a wealthy patron ordered a
magnificent book, he was not always willing to wait several years for its
completion, as must have been necessary when the whole of a sumptuous
manuscript was the work of one man.

Again, it was not an uncommon thing for unfinished manuscripts to be sent
to Bruges, Ghent and other centres of the illuminator's art from various
distant towns and countries, especially from France, Italy and Spain, in
order that they might be decorated with borders and miniatures by one of
the Flemish miniaturists.

In some cases it was only the miniature subjects which were left blank; so
that we have the text with the illuminated borders and initials executed in
the style of one country, while the miniatures are of another quite
different school.

Moreover, we find from the Guild records of Bruges that a certain number of
Italian and Spanish scribes had taken up their residence in Bruges, and
become members of the Guild of Saint John and Saint Luke, so that some
manuscripts actually written in Flanders have a text which in style is
Italian or Spanish.

Various other combinations of style occur not unfrequently. Many English
manuscripts, for example, have miniature paintings which are French or
Flemish in style, united with bold decorative borders of the most
thoroughly English type.

_MSS. in Grisaille._

_Manuscripts in Grisaille._ In addition to the illuminations glowing with
gold and colour of jewel-like brilliance, a peculiar class of miniature
painting came into use in France during the fourteenth century and to some
extent lasted till the close of the fifteenth. This was a system of almost
monochromatic painting in delicate bluish grey tints with high lights
touched in with white or fluid gold; this is called painting in _grisaille_
or _camaieu-gris_[134]; it frequently suggests the appearance of an onyx
_cameo_ or other delicate relief.

The earliest examples of _grisaille_, dating from the first half of the
fourteenth century, sometimes have grounds of the brilliant gold, red and
blue diapers, the figures themselves being painted in _grisaille_; but in
its fully developed form no accessories of colour are used, and no
burnished gold is introduced, only the _mat_, glossless fluid gold being
used in some cases for the high lights.

_Delicacy of Grisaille._

Some of the miniatures of this class are extremely beautiful for the
delicacy of their modelling and the great refinement of the design, and are
evidently the work of artists of the highest class. This system of
illumination, being unaided by the splendours of shining gold and bright
colours, requires a rather special delicacy of treatment, and was of course
quite unsuited for the cheap and gaudy manuscripts which were mere
commercial products. In some cases the _grisaille_ pictures are clearly the
work of a different hand from the rest of the book, and thus we sometimes
see them combined with richly illuminated initials and ivy-leaf borders of
the usual gorgeously coloured type.

In some late manuscripts the _grisaille_ miniatures are distinctly intended
to imitate actual bas-reliefs, and are painted with deceptive effects of
roundness. This led to the introduction into manuscript ornaments of
imitations of classical reliefs of gilt bronze or veined marbles, such as
occur so often in the very sculpturesque paintings of the great Paduan,
Andrea Mantegna.

_Secular MSS._

Till the early part of the fourteenth century the art of the illuminator
had been mostly devoted to books on sacred subjects, but at this time
manuscripts of _Chronicles_, accounts of _travel_, _Romances_ and other
secular works, often in the vulgar tongue, were largely written and
illuminated in the most sumptuous way, especially for the royal personages
of France and Burgundy.

Philip the Bold of Burgundy, who died in 1404, was an enthusiastic patron
of literature and of the miniaturists art; as was also Charles V. of France
(1337-1380). A typical example of this school of manuscripts is a
magnificent folio, formerly in the Perkins collection[135], of _Les cent
Histoires de Troye_, a composition in prose and verse written by Christina
of Pisa[136] about 1390. This magnificent volume contains one hundred and
fifteen delicately executed miniatures, the first of which represents
Christina presenting her book to Philip of Burgundy.

_Interesting details._

These miniatures and others of the same class are very interesting for
their accurate representations of contemporary life and customs. The
costumes, the internal fittings and furniture of rooms, views in the
streets and in the country, feasts, tournaments, the king amidst his
courtiers, scenes in the Court of Justice, and countless other subjects are
represented with much minuteness of detail and great realistic truth. We
have in fact in the miniatures of this class of manuscripts the first
beginning of an early school of _genre_ painting, which in its poetic
feeling and sense of real beauty ranks far higher than the ignoble realism
of the later Dutch painters.

_MS. Chronicles._

One rather abnormal class of manuscript, which belongs both to this period
and the following (the fifteenth) century, consists of French or Latin
_Chronicles of the World_ beginning with the Creation and reaching down to
recent times, written and illuminated with numerous miniature paintings on
great rolls of parchment, often measuring from fifty to sixty feet in
length. These are usually rather coarse in execution.

Sir John Froissart's _Chronicles_, and their continuation from the year
1400 by Enguerrand de Monstrelet, were favourite manuscripts for sumptuous
illumination among the courtier class both of France and England.

_MS. travels._

Among the many illuminated books of travel which were produced during the
latter part of the fourteenth and the fifteenth centuries one noble example
in the Paris library may be selected as a typical example. This is a large
folio manuscript entitled _Les Merveilles du Monde_, containing accounts in
French of the travels of Sir John Mandeville, Marco Polo and others. This
manuscript was written about the year 1412 for the Duke of Burgundy and was
given by him to his uncle the Duc de Berri. Its numerous miniatures are
very delicate and graceful, of elaborate pictorial style, with views of
landscapes and carefully painted buildings, street scenes and other
realistic backgrounds to the figure subjects, all executed with great
patience and much artistic feeling. The richly illuminated borders to the
text are filled with elaborate foliage, in which real and conventional
forms are mingled with fine decorative results.

_MS. poems._

In the fourteenth century the growing love for national poetry and the more
widely spread ability to read and write, which in previous centuries had
been mostly confined to ecclesiastics, led to the production of a large
number of illuminated manuscripts of works such as the _Quest of the Holy
Grail_, including the whole series of the _Chansons de Geste_ with the
Lancelot and Arturian romances, the _Roman de la Rose_, one of the most
popular productions of the fourteenth century, and a whole class of
_Fabliaux_ or short stories in verse dealing with subjects of chivalrous
and romantic character.

Romances based on ancient history and mythology, such as _Les cent
Histoires de Troye_ written by Christina of Pisa[137] about 1390-1395,
became very popular among the knightly courtiers of the Rulers of France
and Burgundy[138].

In manuscripts of this class the miniature illuminations play a very
important part, and give great scope to the fancy and skill of the

_Italian influence._

In southern France the style of manuscript illumination differed a good
deal from that of the northern provinces. During the fourteenth century
there was a considerable strain of Italian influence, partly due to the
establishment of the Papal Court at Avignon, and the introduction there of
Simone Martini or Memmi, and other painters from Florence and Siena, to
decorate the walls of the Pope's Palace[139].

On the whole, however, manuscripts were not produced in such abundance or
with such skill in southern France as they were in the north. Paris,
Burgundy and the French districts of Flanders were the chief homes of the
illuminator's art.

_Secular miniaturists._

By this time the production of illuminated manuscripts ceased to be almost
wholly in the hands of monastic scribes, as it had been in earlier days
when manuscripts dealing with profane subjects were scarcely known.

In Paris, Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Arras and other French and
Flemish cities, large classes of secular writers and illuminators of
manuscripts grew up, and special guilds of illuminators were formed,
exactly like the guilds of other arts and crafts[140].

Before long this great extension of the art of illumination, and the fact
that it became a trade, a method of earning a livelihood, like any other
craft, led to a serious decadence in the art. Though wealthy patrons were
able to pay large prices for richly illuminated manuscripts, thus keeping
up the production of very elaborate and artistically valuable works of
miniature art, yet the practical result was a growing decadence of style
and workmanship.

_Decay of the art._

No illuminator working mainly for a money reward could possibly rival the
marvellous productions of the earlier monastic scribes, who, labouring for
the glory of God, and the credit to be won for themselves and for their
monasteries, could devote years of patient toil to the illumination of one
book, free from all sense of hurry, and finding in their work the chief joy
and relaxation of their lives[141].

In most even of the best productions of the guild-scribes of the fifteenth
century one sees occasional signs of weariness and haste; and in the cheap
manuscripts, which were turned out by the thousand in France and Flanders
during the latter part of the fifteenth century, there is a coarseness of
touch and a mechanical monotony of style, which remind one of the artistic
results of the triumphant commercialism of the nineteenth century.

_Cheap MSS._

It is more especially in the cheap _Books of Hours_ of the second half of
the fifteenth century that the lowest artistic level is reached in France,
Flanders and Holland. Education had gradually been extended among various
classes of laymen, and by the middle of the fifteenth century it appears to
have been usual not only for all men above the rank of artisans to be able
to read, but even women of the wealthy bourgeois class could make use of
prayer-books. Hence arose a great demand for pictured _Books of
Hours_[142], which appear to have been produced in enormous quantities by
the trade-scribes of towns such as Bruges, Paris and many others. These
common manuscript _Horae_ are monotonous in form and detail; they nearly
always have the same set of miniatures, which are often coarse in detail
and harsh in colour; and the illuminated borders, with which they are
lavishly though cheaply decorated, have the same forms of foliage and fruit
repeated again and again in dozens of manuscripts, which all look as if
they had come out of the same workshop.

[Illustration: Fig. 26. Miniature executed for King René of Anjou about

It must not however be supposed that all the later French manuscripts, even
of the latter half of the fifteenth century, were of this inferior class.
Though the best figure painting was far inferior to the glorious miniatures
in the _Apocalypses_ of the fourteenth century, yet in their own way, as
pictorial rather than decorative illustrations, the French miniatures of
this date are often very remarkable for their beauty, their refinement and
their interesting and very elaborate details.

_King René's romance._

Some very fine manuscript illuminations of the highly pictorial type were
executed for King René of Anjou, who died in 1480. Fig. 26 shows a good
example of this, with a carefully painted landscape background, one of
sixteen fine miniatures in a manuscript of the _Roman de la très douce
Mercy du Cueur damour épris_, one of the poetical and allegorical romances
which were then so popular in France. This miniature represents the meeting
of the Knight _Humble Requeste_ with the Squire _Vif Désir_. This
manuscript is now at Vienna, in the Imperial library, No. 2597.

_Beauty of fruit and flowers._

The illuminated borders are also not unfrequently of very great merit and
high decorative value; they are formed of rich and fanciful combinations of
various plants and flowers, treated at first with just the due amount of
conventionalism, but tending, towards the end of the fifteenth century, to
an excessive and too pictorial realism. As late as the middle of the
fifteenth century the "ivy pattern" of the previous century survived with
little modification, and very beautiful borders occur with branches of the
vine, the oak, the maple and other trees, together with a great variety of
flowers, such as the rose, the daisy, the columbine, the clove-pink or
carnation, the pansy, the lily, the iris or blue flag, the cornflower, the
anemone, the violet, the thistle; and with many kinds of fruit, especially
the grape, the strawberry, the pomegranate and the mulberry. Among this
wealth of fruit and foliage, variety is given by the introduction of birds,
insects, animals, and grotesque monsters half beast and half human, or else
living figures growing out of flower blossoms, all designed with much
graceful fancy and decorative beauty.

_Later style._
_Imitation of relief._

Towards the close of the fifteenth century one skilfully treated but less
meritorious style of illuminated border became very common in France and
Flanders. This consisted of isolated objects, such as sprigs of various
kinds of flowers and fruits, especially strawberries, together with
butterflies and other insects, shells, reptiles and the like scattered over
the margin of the page, very frequently on a background of dull fluid
gold[143]. A deceptive effect of relief is commonly attempted by the
painting of strong shadows, as if each object were lying on the gold ground
and casting its shadow on the flat surface. This attempt at relief of
course marks a great decadence of taste, and yet it occurs in manuscripts
which show much artistic feeling and great technical skill; as, for
example, in the magnificent Grimani _Breviary_, mentioned below at p. 167,
see fig. 38.

_Use of fluid gold._

In French and Flemish miniatures of this period, gold, applied with a
brush, is often used to touch in the high lights, not only in the
_grisaille_ miniatures, but also in paintings with brilliant pigments, much
in the same way as in the Umbrian and Florentine pictures of contemporary

Many manuscripts of the early part of the sixteenth century have elaborate
architectural borders, consisting of tiers of canopied niches containing
statuettes, all executed in fluid, _mat_ gold.

_Harsh colours._

The use of a very harsh emerald green is characteristic of this period of
decadence in France and in Flanders; and generally there is a want of
harmony of colour in the miniatures of this time, in which gaudiness rather
than real splendour gradually becomes the main characteristic.

_Renaissance style._

At the end of the fifteenth century the influence of the classical
Renaissance of art in Italy began to affect the French manuscript
illuminations, and especially those by Parisian miniaturists. The
introduction of architectural forms of Italian classic style into the
backgrounds of miniatures was the first sign of this, examples of which
occur as early as the year 1475 or 1480. Fig. 27 shows a characteristic
example of a French miniature executed under Italian influence. This is a
scene of the marriage of the B. V. Mary to the elderly Joseph, who holds in
his hand the dry rod which had blossomed. One of the unsuccessful suitors
is breaking his rod across his knee, as in Raphael's early _Sposalizio_ in
the Brera gallery at Milan.

[Illustration: Fig. 27. Miniature of the marriage of the B. V. Mary from a
French manuscript of about 1480, with details in the style of the Italian

_Horae of Jehan Foucquet._

The painting represented in Fig. 27 is from a manuscript _Book of Hours_
illuminated by the famous miniaturist Jehan Foucquet of Tours, whose
services were secured by Louis XI. from 1470 to 1475. This manuscript
_Horae_, which has been horribly mutilated, the miniatures being cut out of
the text, was originally executed for Maître Etienne Chevalier. Foucquet
and other French illuminators of his time were largely influenced not only
by Italian art, but also by the Flemish school of miniaturists who were
followers of Memlinc and Rogier van der Weyden; but by the end of the
fifteenth century the Italian influence reigned supreme and soon destroyed
all remaining traces of the older mediaeval or Gothic style.

Fig. 28 shows part of a border from the same MS. that is illustrated in
Fig. 25 on page 134.

[Illustration: Fig. 28. Border illumination from a _Book of Hours_ by
Jacquemart de Odin; see fig. 25.]



During the last few years of the fifteenth century and the first twenty or
thirty years of the sixteenth century Paris was remarkable for the
production of a beautiful class of books which form a link between printed
books and illuminated manuscripts.

_Paris Horae on vellum._
_Effect of colouring._

These are the numerous _Books of Hours_ printed on vellum, richly decorated
with wood-cut[144] borders and pictures, and frequently illuminated by
painting in gold and opaque colours over the engravings. One of the
earliest of these vellum-printed _Horae_ was produced by Pigouchet for the
bookseller Simon Vostre in 1487[145]; the pictures and borders are very
simply treated in broad outline, which the illuminator was meant to fill in
with colour, aided only in the general design by the wood-cut[146]. In 1498
Pigouchet began to execute for S. Vostre _Books of Hours_ of quite a
different and still finer style, with engravings of the most exquisite
beauty of design and delicacy of detail, perfect masterpieces of the
engraver's art. The decorative borders in these lovely books have dotted
(_criblée_) backgrounds, and the whole effect, though merely in black and
white, is rich and decorative in the highest degree. The comparatively
coarse touch of the illuminator ruins the beauty of these _Horae_; but
luckily a good many copies have escaped this tasteless treatment, which
must have appealed only to a very ignorant love of gold and gaudy colour on
the part of the purchasers.

_Decadence of style._

In the early part of the sixteenth century immense numbers and varieties of
these vellum-printed _Horae_[147] were issued by Pigouchet and Vostre,
Antoine Verard[148], Thielman Kerver and his widow, the brothers Hardouyn,
and other Paris printers and publishers. The cuts from the earlier,
fifteenth century editions[149], were reproduced, and a great number of new
ones were cut; but after the year 1500 there was a most rapid deterioration
of style. Even between the cuts of 1498 and those of 1503 a very marked
change for the worse is apparent, the fine mediaeval French style being
replaced by somewhat feeble imitations of the works of the Italian

These Parisian prayer-books gradually superseded the coarse manuscript
_Horae_ which were still produced in the early part of the sixteenth
century; and the latest examples of these vellum-printed books, the work of
Geoffroi Tory and others as late as 1546, came to be sold without any
assistance from the hand, one can hardly say the art, of the illuminator in
his extreme decadence.

_Latest decadence._

In a feeble way the art of writing and illuminating manuscripts, as a sort
of plaything for the wealthy, lingered on in Paris till the seventeenth
century. An illuminated _Book of Hours_ (_Office de la Sainte Vierge_),
with four miniatures and many floriated head-pieces of very minute
workmanship, which was in the Perkins collection[150], is signed _N. Jarry
Parisinus Scribebat_, 1660. Other elaborate examples of Nicholas Jarry's
work exist in the Paris library, mostly painted in _grisaille_.

_Early printing._
_The Mentz Psalter._

A few words on the connection between early printing and the art of
manuscript illumination may not here be out of place. The inventors of
printing, Gutenberg, Fust and Schoeffer, appear to have had no idea of
producing cheap books by their new art, but that for a fixed sum they could
produce a more magnificent and beautiful book than a scribe could for the
same price. Such a finished masterpiece of art as the _Mazarine Bible_,
issued by Gutenberg in the year 1455, was not sold at a lower rate than the
price of a manuscript Bible; but it was cheaper than a manuscript of equal
splendour. So also very few scribes of the fifteenth century could with the
utmost labour have produced such a marvel of beauty as the _Mentz Psalter_
of 1559, printed on the finest vellum and illuminated with 280 large
initials printed in blue and red--perfect marvels of technical skill in the
perfect fit of the two colours, or _registration_ as it is now called[151].

It is not known at what price this magnificent Psalter was originally sold,
but existing records show that copies of the _Vulgate_ produced in 1462 at
Mentz by the same printers, Fust and Schoeffer, were sold in Paris for no
less than sixty gold crowns, equal in modern value to double that number of

_Illumination and printing._
_The various arts of the printer._

For this reason, as beauty rather than cheapness was aimed at by the
inventors of printing, they left spaces for the introduction of richly
illuminated and historiated initials, which were frequently inserted by the
most skilful miniaturists of the time. Thus the art of printing and
illumination for more than half a century walked hand in hand. Some of the
earliest printers had originally been illuminators of manuscripts, as, for
example, Peter Schoeffer de Gernsheim[152], Mentelin of Strasburg, Bämler
of Augsburg and many others[153]. The workshop of an early printer included
not only compositors and printers, but also cutters and founders of type,
illuminators of borders and initials, and skilful binders who could cover
books with various qualities and kinds of binding[154]. A purchaser in
Gutenberg's shop having bought, for example, his magnificent Bible[155] in
loose sheets would then have been asked what style of illumination or
rubrication he was prepared to pay for, and then what kind of binding and
how many brass bosses and clasps he wished to have[156].

_Early Italian printing._

In Central and Northern Italy especially, the printed books of the
fifteenth and first decade of the sixteenth century were decorated with
illuminations of the most beautiful kind. Books printed in Venice about
1470-5 by Nicolas Jenson of Paris and Vendelin of Spires, and Florentine
books, even of a few years later date, frequently contain masterpieces of
the illuminator's art. The Magnificent Lorenzo de' Medici and others of his
family were liberal patrons of this class of work; as were also many of the
Venetian Doges and prelates, especially various members of the Grimani

_Early colophons._

There are no grounds whatever for the belief that the early printed books
were passed off as manuscripts, or that Fust was accused of having
multiplied books by magical arts. The early printers usually inserted a
statement in their _colophon_ to the effect that the book was produced
"without the aid of a pen (either of reed, quill or bronze), by a new and
complicated invention of printing characters." Many different varieties of
this statement occur.

In the Mentz _Psalter_ printed by Fust and Schoeffer in 1459 the printer's
statement at the end is, _Presens Psalmorum codex venustate capitalium
decoratus, rubricationibusque sufficienter distinctus, adinvencione
artificiosa imprimendi ac characterizandi; absque ulla calami exaracione
sic effigiatus et ad laudem Dei...._ In the Mentz _Catholicon_ of 1460 the
phrase is used, _Non calami, stili aut penne suffragio...._

It was not till about half a century after the invention of printing that
the new art grew into an important means for the increase of knowledge
through the copious production of cheap books.

_Aldine books._

No other typographer did so much for the advancement of learning as Aldus
Manutius, a Venetian scholar and printer, who, in the year 1501, initiated
a new and cheaper form of book by the printing of his Virgil in small 12mo.
size, with a new and more compact form of character, now commonly known as
the _Italic_ type[157]. As Aldus records in three verses at the beginning
of the Virgil, the new Italic fount of type was designed and cut by
Francesco Francia, the famous Bolognese painter, goldsmith and die-cutter.

These small _italic_ books of Aldus were not all intended for sale at a low
rate; many copies exist which are magnificently illuminated, and some are
even printed on vellum.

The issue of the cheaper Aldine classics gave the death-blow to the
illuminator's art, which the early large and costly printed folios had done
little or nothing to supersede.

_Wood-cuts in MSS._

It should also be noticed that half a century before the invention of
printing with moveable types, quite  at  the beginning of the fifteenth or
towards the close of the fourteenth century, some few manuscripts of a
cheap and inferior sort had their miniature illustrations not drawn by
hand, but printed from rudely cut wood-blocks. These prints were afterwards
coloured by hand. Manuscripts of this class are very rare, and are now
chiefly of value as supplying the earliest known European examples of wood

One of the most notable examples of these manuscripts illustrated with
wood-cuts is described by Mr Quaritch in his catalogue No. 291 of
1873[159]. This is a South-German manuscript of about the year 1400,
containing certain pious _Weekly Meditations_ written on 17 leaves of
coarse vellum; throughout the manuscript text are scattered 69 wood-cuts of
Saints and Prophets, with Biblical and other sacred scenes, averaging in
size three inches by two inches and a quarter. These miniature designs are
all richly illuminated with gold and colours; some of them have names and
other inscriptions forming part of the engraved block.


This method of combining printing and manuscript very soon led to the next
stage, that of _Xylographic_ printing or "block-books"; in which not only
the illustrations but the text itself was cut on blocks of wood and printed
like the wood-cut pictures; each page occupying a separate plank of

These block-book illustrations were coloured by hand in a very decorative
and effective way, very superior to the coarse gaudy painting in opaque
pigments with which the Parisian illuminators so often spoilt the exquisite
miniatures and the borders in the vellum-printed _Horae_. The block-books
are not painted over with _opaque_ pigment, but delicately washed in with
_transparent_ tints, without obliterating the outlines of the printed
pictures, which, though simple and even rude in treatment, are often full
of real beauty and great decorative charm[161].

_Illumination and printing._

Thus we see that as early as about the year 1400 the printer's art had
begun to supplement that of the manuscript illuminator[162]; and the two
arts continued to work, as it were, hand in hand till after the close of
the fifteenth century when the illumination of manuscripts ceased to be a
real living art and gradually degenerated into a mere appendage to
individual pomp and luxury.



_German MSS. of the XIth century._

Though in the main the eleventh century was a period of artistic decadence,
mentioned above as having succeeded the brilliant Carolingian period (see
page 78), yet we find that in certain places in Germany there was a very
distinct beginning of artistic revival, especially in the illumination of
manuscripts, about the middle of the eleventh century and even earlier. A
school of magnificently decorative art began then to be developed, and
though the drawing of the human figure was still weak, yet effects of the
noblest decorative character were produced by manuscript illuminators,
foreshadowing that marvellous climax of manuscript art which was reached in
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

_Missal of Henry II._

Fig. 29 shows a sumptuously decorative page from an eleventh century
manuscript _Missal_ which was executed for the Emperor Henry II. (now in
the Munich library). On a brilliant diapered background in gold, red and
blue, a standing figure of the Emperor is crowned by Christ, who sits
within a _vesica_ aureole. The Emperor receives from two angels the great
Cross Standard of the Empire and a sword. His arms are supported by a saint
on each side, Saints Ulrich and Emmeram. The whole page is a superb piece
of decoration, and is specially interesting because illuminations of this
type were evidently used by the earliest painters of stained glass windows
to supply them with designs.

[Illustration: Fig. 29. A page from the _Missal_ of the Emperor Henry II.]

Fig. 30 illustrates a stained glass figure of King David, one of five
lancet-windows from the Cathedral of Augsburg, executed about 1065, when
the Church was consecrated, and probably about the oldest existing example
of a figure in stained glass. The manuscript-like type of the design is
very evident.

[Illustration: Fig. 30. Figure of King David from a stained glass window in
the Cathedral of Augsburg, dating from 1065.]

_Gospels of the XIth century._

Fig. 31 is from a magnificently decorated book of the _Gospels_, executed
in the eleventh century for Uota, Abbess of the convent of Niedermünster,
at Ratisbon, in the reign of the Emperor Henry II. The whole page is a
superbly decorative composition; in the centre is a Crucifixion with
figures of Life and Death at the foot of the cross. In the lower angles are
minute paintings of the Rent Veil of the Temple, and the opened sepulchres;
above, at the sides, are symbolical figures of the Church and the
Synagogue, or Grace and Law. At the upper angles are the Sun and Moon
veiling their faces before the Passion of Christ. Graceful scroll foliage,
of the Oriental textile type, fills in the spandrels.

[Illustration: Fig. 31. Miniature from an eleventh century manuscript of
the _Gospels_, by a German illuminator.]

_Revival of art._

In the twelfth century the revival of manuscript art in Germany progressed
with great rapidity, and an immense number of magnificently illuminated
manuscripts were produced, especially in the chief Benedictine Monasteries,
which had always been the principal homes of learning and the chief centres
of the illuminator's art in Germany as in other European countries[163].

_Grotesque forms._

Frederic I. (Barbarossa), b. 1121-d. 1190, imitated the example of Charles
the Great in his patronage of art and especially of the art of the
illuminator. The manuscripts of his time are remarkable for the richness
and fancy of their twining masses of conventional foliage, mingled with
dragons, monkeys, human forms and monsters of all kinds, designed with
extreme beauty in their strong sweeping curves and coloured with brilliant
and yet harmonious tints in a superbly decorative way. Though the figure
drawing of the illuminators had not reached the perfection which was
attained a century later, yet in point of decorative ornament nothing could
surpass the best German manuscripts of the twelfth century[164]. Figs. 32
and 33 give good examples of the illuminations of this date.

[Illustration: Fig. 32. An initial S, illuminated with foliage of the
Northumbrian type, from a German manuscript of the twelfth century.]

[Illustration: Fig. 33. Miniature of the Annunciation from a German
manuscript of the beginning of the thirteenth century.]

[Illustration: Fig. 34. Page of a Kalendar from a German _Psalter_ of about
1200 A.D.]

Fig. 32 shows a fine initial S formed out of a winged dragon, and
ornamented with conventional foliage of the noblest type. This initial
shows the surviving Celtic or rather Northumbrian influence, which in the
time of Charles the Great had been so important in the German Empire.

_Painting of the Annunciation._

Fig. 33 illustrates a miniature of the Annunciation from a fine manuscript
_Evangeliarium_ or Book of the _Gospels_, which is now in the library at
Carlsruhe. The drawing, though stiff in pose, is noble in style; and the
whole miniature, with its graceful scroll-work background, is of high
decorative value, a prototype of the perfect style of the French and
Anglo-Norman illuminations of the second half of the thirteenth century. In
this painting, as in many other manuscripts of early date, the B. V. Mary
is represented as occupied in spinning with a distaff while the angel
Gabriel approaches to announce the birth of the Messiah.

_Page of a Kalendar._

Fig. 34 shows a very beautifully designed page of the Kalendar at the
beginning of a _Psalter_ executed about the year 1200 for the Landgrave of
Thüringen. On the left is the space in which the scribe inserted the days
of the months, and on the right is a noble and gracefully drawn figure of
Saint Matthew. The interlaced foliage of the initial K is of characteristic
German type.

Fig. 35 shows a very elaborate and graceful initial Y, from another
manuscript of the same date, decorated by a vine-plant from which a youth
is gathering grapes, while a monkey, sitting in the branches, is eating
some of the fruit. The whole design is a masterpiece of decorative beauty,
elaborately worked out in gold and colours.

_Mural paintings._

The fine _mural paintings_ of this date are frequently identical in style
and design with pages from illuminated manuscripts. This is most remarkably
the case with the late twelfth century paintings on the walls and vault of
the church of St Michael at Hildesheim; in which the figures, the
conventional foliage and the general arrangement of the whole have
evidently been copied from manuscript illuminations[165].

_Vault of St Michael's._

Fig. 36 shows a striking example of this, painted about 1186 on the vault
of Saint Michael's. The whole treatment of this grandly decorative painting
is precisely like that of the page of an illuminated book.

[Illustration: Fig. 35. Initial Y from a German manuscript of the beginning
of the thirteenth century, with a most graceful and fanciful combination of
figures and foliage.]

_The Fall of Man._

In the centre is the Fall of Man in a medallion frame with a conventionally
treated tree on each side; all round are smaller paintings, including the
great Rivers of Paradise and the Jordan, two Evangelists and their Symbols,
with a series of medallion busts of Old Testament Saints linked together by
scroll-work of foliage exactly like that in illuminations of contemporary

[Illustration: Fig. 36. Paintings on the vault of the church of St Michael
at Hildesheim, closely resembling in style an illuminated page in a

The German manuscripts of the thirteenth and fourteenth century are less
purely national in style. The finest illuminations of this date show in
some cases a marked French influence, and, especially during the fourteenth
century, a strong Italian influence was prevalent.

_MS. of the XIVth century._

Fig. 37 gives a good example of this from a manuscript _Passionale_,
written in 1312 for the Abbess of the Convent of St George at Prague. The
figures in this manuscript resemble those in some of the Florentine
illuminated manuscripts of Dante's _Divina Commedia_, executed about 1360
to 1390. The subject of the miniatures shown in fig. 37 is a romantic story
of a bride who was carried off by brigands and flung into a blazing
furnace, from which, by the aid of the B. V. Mary, she was rescued unhurt
by the knight, her husband.

_School of the Van Eycks._

In the fifteenth century an important development of Teutonic art took
place under the Van Eycks and their pupils. In Flanders, especially in
Bruges, Antwerp and Ghent, a very elaborate and beautiful class of
illumination was produced, in some respects different in style from the
Franco-Flemish school of art.

_School of Memlinc._

In the latter part of the century magnificent manuscripts were produced by
illuminators of the Memlinc and Van der Weyden school, such as the famous
Grimani _Breviary_ in the Venetian Ducal library, so-called from its having
been bought from a Sicilian dealer in 1521 for 500 gold ducats by Cardinal
Grimani, a member of the Venetian Grimani family, who were liberal patrons
of this class of art; this sum was quite equal to £2000 in modern value.
The miniatures in this manuscript were ascribed by the dealer to Hans
Memlinc, Gérard of Bruges and Lieven of Antwerp; they were probably by the
two latter illuminators, not by Memlinc, who died in 1494 or 1495.

[Illustration: Fig. 37. Miniatures of Italian style from a German
manuscript of 1312, showing the influence of Florentine art on the
illuminations of southern France.]

_Gérard David._
_The Horae of Prince Albert._

Gérard or Gheeraert of Bruges was a native of Oudewater in Holland; he was
born about the middle of the fifteenth century, and settled in Bruges in
the year 1483, when he became a member of the Guild of Saint John and Saint
Luke, to which all painters and manuscript illuminators were obliged to
belong. Gérard took the surname of David, and became a famous painter of
triptychs and altar-pieces, as well as a skilful illuminator of
manuscripts. Many fine panel-paintings by him still exist in Bruges and
elsewhere[166]. There are also several fine manuscripts with miniatures by
his hand in addition to those in the Grimani _Breviary_. Among these are
two _Books of Hours_ in the collection of the late Baron Anselm Rothschild
of Vienna, and another manuscript _Horae_, which was written and
illuminated for the Cardinal Prince Albert, Elector of Brandenburg, who was
consecrated Archbishop of Magdeburg in the year 1513 at the age of
twenty-three. An interesting monograph, with photographic reproductions of
the miniatures, was written by Mr W. H. J. Weale for Mr F. S. Ellis, the
owner of the manuscript. This lovely manuscript is almost equal in beauty
to the Grimani _Breviary_; it is rather later in date, having been
illuminated between 1514 and 1523.

_The Grimani Breviary._

The miniatures in the sumptuous Grimani _Breviary_, which dates from the
latter years of the fifteenth century, probably about 1496, are very
pictorial in style, with figures which are larger than usual,
proportionally to the size of the page. In some of the miniatures the
figures are shown only in half length, so that the elaborately finished
heads are painted to a large scale. The borders which surround the pages,
enclosing both text and miniatures, are of the Franco-Flemish style, with
realistic flowers, fruit, insects and the like, scattered over a flat gold
ground, as is described above at page 143. The butterflies, dragon-flies,
strawberries, irises and lilies are perfect marvels of naturalistic skill
and beauty.

_The month of April._
_The Grimani Breviary._

Fig. 38 illustrates one of the miniatures in the Grimani _Breviary_; it is
one of the lovely series representing the characteristic occupations of the
twelve months in the Kalendar, which commonly occur as small pictures at
the tops of pages in manuscript Kalendars of the fifteenth century, but in
this exceptionally magnificent book are full page miniatures. The one
copied in fig. 38 represents the month of April, a time for love-making and
out-door parties of pleasure; here illustrated by a most beautiful and
dignified group of ladies and gentlemen, enlivened by the humour of the
scene in the left-hand corner, with a little dog barking jealously at
another pet dog which is being petted on a lady's lap.

[Illustration: Fig. 38. Miniature symbolizing the month of April from the
Kalendar of the Grimani _Breviary_, executed about 1496.]

The background, with trees and Cathedral spires like those of Antwerp or
Malines, is specially beautiful and highly finished.

Though marvels of minute and beautiful workmanship these late Teutonic
manuscripts belong to a period of decadence. As has already been remarked,
neither in poetic feeling nor in decorative value do they approach the
masterpieces of French art during the fourteenth century.

_Horae of King René._

Fig. 39 shows a page from a _Book of Hours_ (Paris, _Bibl. Nat. Lat._ 10,
532) which was illuminated for King René II. of Lorraine (1473 to 1508).
The figure of the Virgin shows the influence of Italian art, which about
this time, 1490, was largely modifying and adding grace to the paintings of

The border, with lupines or vetch-plant realistically painted on a gold
ground, is a good typical specimen of the style.

_Horae of Anne of Brittany._

The famous _Prayer-book of Anne of Brittany_, painted about 1500, after her
second marriage to Louis XII., is a work of the same magnificent style,
with an immense variety of the most exquisitely painted fruits and flowers
treated with the most minute realism. It is now in the Paris library[167].

Fig. 40 gives a page from a magnificent _Book of Hours_ in the Imperial
Library of Vienna (no. 1857); the miniatures in which are of the finest
Teutonic type, in some cases suggesting the school of Van der Weyden, and
in others that of Hans Memlinc. The conventional scroll-work of foliage
with long serrated leaves in the border is very characteristic of the
German and Dutch manuscripts of the fifteenth century.

[Illustration: Fig. 39. A page from the _Book of Hours_ of King René,
painted about 1480.]

[Illustration: Fig. 40. A page from a _Book of Hours_ at Vienna, of the
finest Flemish style.]

_Technical methods._

In some cases this foliage is painted with fluid gold; the high lights
being touched in with white, and the shadows with a _grisaille_ blue.
Another beautiful style of decoration in manuscripts of this class has
conventional flower forms painted in transparent lake with white lights
over a sheet of burnished gold. The skilful use of gold both in the pigment
form, and in leaf on a raised enamel-like ground, is specially
characteristic of German and Dutch manuscripts of the fifteenth century. In
some manuscripts very beautiful borders are executed in delicate
scroll-work with fine lines and dots, all of burnished gold, the effect of
which is very magnificent.

The borders and long marginal ornaments, which grow out of the large
illuminated initials, are often diversified with figures of a naturalistic
or grotesque type, devised with greater fancy and variety than the similar
figures of the same sort which occur in so many French manuscripts.

_MS. of the Emperor Wenzel._

Fig. 41 shows a beautiful example of this, which dates from the last years
of the fourteenth century, c. 1390. It is an ornament at the foot of one of
the pages in a manuscript which was illuminated for the Emperor Wenzel of
Bohemia. Two scenes, a prisoner in the stocks, and a man being bathed by
two attendant girls, are placed in the centre of the grand sweeping lines
of foliage. The backgrounds with their delicate scroll-work and diaper
patterns are imitated from those in the fine French and Anglo-Norman
manuscripts of the earlier part of the fourteenth century.

In some marginal illuminations, miniature figures of knights jousting are
introduced charging through the scrolls of foliage; and Angels gracefully
drawn are very frequently introduced into the elaborate borders, as is
shown on fig. 40.

_Grotesque figures._

Grotesque figures were great favourites with the Teutonic illuminators;
devils and monkeys, pigmies fighting cranes, or strange monsters made up
(like the Roman _grylli_) of several animals and birds united, are of
frequent occurrence in German and Dutch illuminated manuscripts, more
especially in _Books of Hours_, where such fancies were probably a relief
from the gravity of the text both to the illuminator and to the owner of
the book: see below, page 208.

[Illustration: Fig. 41. Marginal illumination of very beautiful and refined
style from a manuscript executed for King Wenzel of Bohemia about the year

[Illustration: Fig. 42. Miniature of Duke Baldwin, painted about the year
1450 by an illuminator of the school of the Van Eycks of Bruges.]

The finest Teutonic manuscripts of the fifteenth century show in their
miniatures the influence of the Van Eycks; as is also the case with many of
the manuscripts which fall rather under the head of the Franco-Flemish than
the Teutonic school[168].

_School of the Van Eycks._

Fig. 42 gives a fine example of a miniature by an illuminator who must have
been an actual pupil of the Van Eycks. It is taken from a fragment of a
manuscript of the _Croniques de Jherusalem_, now in the Imperial library of
Vienna (no. 2533). It represents Duke Baudouin (or Baldwin), who was
crowned King of Jerusalem, in the guise of a fifteenth century German
knight, under a graceful Gothic canopy of characteristically German style.
The date of this sumptuous manuscript is about 1450.

_Influence on painting generally._

As is remarked below with regard to Italian art, it is interesting to
observe the strong influence that miniature painting in manuscripts had
upon the larger pictures of Teutonic artists. In many cases the German and
Flemish painters of altar-pieces were also illuminators of manuscripts,
like Liberale of Verona and Girolamo dai libri, who are mentioned below,
see page 197[169].

And even without this reason for similarity, it was not uncommon for the
painter of a retable to borrow his composition and general decorative
scheme from an illuminated manuscript by some skilful artist.

Fig. 43 shows a good example of this, the central panel of a retable dated
1473, in the church of St Martin at Colmar, which is almost certainly the
work of Martin Schoen or Schöngauer.

_The Cologne School._

In the art of the Cologne School more especially, the relationship between
the panel paintings and the miniature illuminations of manuscripts is very
close, both in the general decorative schemes and also in the extreme
minuteness and delicacy of the larger paintings.

[Illustration: Fig. 43. Retable painted by Martin Schöngauer, in the style
of a manuscript illumination.]

[Illustration: Fig. 44. All altar-piece of the Cologne school, showing the
influence of manuscript illumination on the painters of panel-pictures,
especially retables.]

_Retable at Cologne._

Fig. 44 shows a beautiful example of this, a small panel, now in the
Archiepiscopal Museum at Cologne, representing the Virgin and Child seated
on a flowery sward with a trellis covered with roses as a background, and
lovely child-angels playing on musical instruments all round. The whole
panel is a perfect gem of brilliantly decorative art of the purest and most
perfect kind, quite free from the too pictorial realism which at this time,
about 1460, was growing rapidly among the miniaturists of France and the

Half a century later, in the early part of the sixteenth century, the same
tendency to paint pictures like a magnified manuscript illumination is
frequently to be observed.

_Triptych by the elder Holbein._

Fig. 45 represents one wing of an altar triptych by Hans Holbein the elder,
painted about the year 1514. This beautiful figure of Saint Elizabeth of
Hungary is interesting as showing the influence of Italian art, which at
that time was widely spread throughout Germany and France; it also, in its
minutely delicate touch and in the grotesque ornaments at the top and
bottom, shows a strong tendency to use the forms and methods of the
manuscript illuminator.

_Illuminations by A. Dürer._

Manuscripts of the Teutonic school, which are known to be by the hand of a
famous painter, are of rare occurrence; there is therefore special interest
in the book of which one of the border-illuminations is illustrated in fig.
46. The text itself (a book of prayers) is _printed_ on vellum, but
forty-five of the pages are decorated with borders drawn by the masterly
hand of Albert Dürer in red, green and violet ink, a method possibly
suggested to Dürer by the sight of one of the tenth or eleventh century
manuscripts which were illuminated with outline drawings in inks of these
three colours. This beautiful prayer-book was decorated by Albert Dürer in
1515 for the Emperor Maximilian; it is now in the Munich Library[170].
There is much that is grotesque and humorous introduced among the finely
designed scroll-work of these borders; and their firm strong touch, united
to much fanciful grace of form in the varied forms of leafage, makes the
whole well worthy of its illuminator's artistic fame.

[Illustration: Fig. 45. Wing of a triptych, with a figure of St Elizabeth
of Hungary, painted by the elder Hans Holbein; this illustrates the
influence on painting of the styles of manuscript illumination at the
beginning of the sixteenth century.]

[Illustration: Fig. 46. Illuminated border drawn by Albert Dürer in 1515.]

The border illustrated here has, at the foot, a spirited group of
musicians, and a beautiful background, with a river and castle-crowned
hill, such as Dürer loved to introduce into paintings and engravings of all
kinds. On one of the kettledrums in the foreground are the initials of the
artist and the date 1515.

_Dutch fifteenth century manuscripts._

In the main the manuscripts of Holland resemble those either of the other
contemporary Teutonic or of the Franco-Flemish schools.

In the fifteenth century an enormous number of _Books of Hours_ and other
works for private devotion, such as "the Book of Christian Belief," _Den
Boeck van den Kersten Ghelove_, and others of the same class, were produced
in Holland. Many of these are written in the vulgar tongue.

_Dutch methods of ornament._

The miniature illuminations are on the whole inferior to the exquisite
paintings in Flemish manuscripts; but they are usually very decorative in
treatment, of a simple, homely style, which is not without charm. The
decorative initials are often very large and beautiful, in some cases
occupying a large proportion of the page; and the borders, which grow
gracefully out of these large capitals, are magnificently rich both in
design and execution. Gold is used profusely and with remarkable taste and
skill in these Dutch illuminations, which frequently have a combination of
_mat_, fluid gold applied with the brush over a ground of brilliantly
burnished gold leaf. Very beautiful initials are also formed by painting
with a transparent lake red over a ground of burnished gold, which shines
through the red pigment, thus producing a brilliantly decorative effect.

_Realistic details._

The miniatures of the fifteenth century Dutch manuscripts are noticeable
for their realistic architectural details, with interiors of rooms full of
elaborate furniture, bookshelves, sideboards covered with silver plate, or
the humbler jugs and dishes of pewter, with countless other kinds of
fittings and furniture.

Dutch miniatures with ecclesiastical scenes frequently have elaborately
rendered interior views of churches, which are usually very interesting
from their illustration of the choir and altar fittings, the retables, the
"riddles" or altar-curtains, the tabernacles for the Reserved Host, and
many other valuable records of mediaeval church furniture and ritual[171].

One very delicate and beautiful kind of illumination, which occurs in many
of the best Dutch manuscripts, is by no means peculiar to Holland, but is
also found in many English, French, Flemish and Italian manuscripts.

_Skilful use of the pen._

This consists of capitals, often of large size, decorated with rich
ornamentation executed wholly with thin lines of blue and red drawn with a
very fine pen. The firmness of touch and spirited quality of this pen
illumination is often very remarkable, showing the most perfect training of
hand and eye on the part of the illuminator. Though not as gorgeous as the
usual initials painted with gold and colours, this line ornament is
sometimes of the richest and most delicate quality that can be imagined. In
some cases a purple or violet ink is used, as well as the brighter blue and
red, especially in Italian manuscripts.

The form of the pen ornaments used in this class of illumination is very
much the same in all the chief European classes of manuscripts; a somewhat
exceptional circumstance, since, as a rule, each country has its own
peculiar types of decoration.

Illuminations in printed books.

This beautiful pen-work reached its highest point of perfection in the
first half of the fifteenth century. It is frequently used for the
illuminated initials in the early printed books of Germany. Books printed
at Strasburg by Mentelin, about 1460 to 1468, are often decorated with very
elaborate and skilfully drawn ornament of this type; in many cases probably
by Mentelin's own hand, since he was a skilful manuscript illuminator
before he began to practise the art of printing[172].

The printed books of Koburger of Nuremberg are also remarkable for the
beauty of their illuminations, both in the blue and red pen-work and also
with painted ornaments in gold and colour.



_Classic survival._

As has been already mentioned, the old classical forms survived in the
manuscript miniatures of Italy for many centuries with but little

A slow, but steady degradation in the forms of classic art began to take
place about the fifth or sixth century; the fact being that no art can for
long remain stationary; there must be either advance or decay, and when the
habit of copying older forms has once become the established rule an
artistic degradation soon becomes inevitable.

_Italian decadence._

Just as the manuscript art of the Byzantine illuminators first lost its
vitality and then rapidly deteriorated, so in Italy the late surviving
classical style of miniature became weaker and weaker in drawing, feebler
in touch, and duller in composition, till in the eleventh and twelfth
century a very low stage of degradation was reached, at the very period
when the illuminator's art in more northern countries was growing into the
most vigorous development of power and decorative beauty.

The great Renaissance of art in Italy, which led to such magnificent
results in the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, in its first
beginnings lagged behind the artistic movement in the north, so that during
the thirteenth century, when England, France and Germany had almost reached
their climax of artistic growth, Italy had hardly begun to advance[173].

_MS. of Donizo._

As an example of the degraded state of Italian art during the twelfth
century I may mention a manuscript in the Vatican library (_Vat._
4922)[174] of a poem in honour of the Countess Matilda written by a monk of
Canossa named Donizo, which has a number of miniature illustrations. These
are of the lowest type, utterly feeble in the drawing of the human form and
quite without any feeling for the folds of drapery; the figures are mere
shapeless masses without any decorative beauty of colour to make up for the
helpless ignorance of the draughtsman; see fig. 47.

Later on in the twelfth century, and during the first half of the
thirteenth century, art in Italy was mainly a feeble reflection of the then
degraded art of the Byzantines. This was partly due to the introduction
into Italy of mosaic-workers from Constantinople, such as those who
decorated the vault of the old Cathedral of Florence (now the Baptistery)
with badly drawn but grandly decorative mosaics of the Day of Doom[175].

_Oderisi of Gubbio._

Little is known of the two illuminators of manuscripts who are immortalized
by Dante (_Purg._ xi. 79-83). Oderisi of Gubbio, whom Dante calls the
"Honour of the art that in Paris is called _alluminare_," is said to have
been employed by Pope Boniface VIII. to illuminate manuscripts in Rome
about the time of the great Jubilee of 1300, when Dante visited Rome as an
envoy from Florence.

_Franco of Bologna._

Franco (Francesco) of Bologna is the other miniaturist mentioned by Dante
as an artist of great merit; nothing is known of him or of his works.
During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Bologna was one of the chief
Italian centres for the production of manuscripts, partly on account of its
being the seat of one of the oldest and most important Universities of

[Illustration: Fig. 47. Illumination from an Italian manuscript executed
for the Countess Matilda in the twelfth century; this illustrates the
extreme decadence of art in Italy before the thirteenth century.]

_MS. of Giotto's school._

One of the finest manuscripts of the Florentine school, executed by an
unknown _miniatore_ of the school of Giotto, is a _Missal_ in the Chapter
library of the Canons of Saint Peter's in Rome. The arms of the donor,
repeated several times among the floreated borders, show that the
manuscript was illuminated for Giotto's patron Cardinal Gaetano
Stefaneschi, probably between 1330 and 1340. The same volume contains, by
the same illuminator's hand, a richly illuminated _Life of Saint George_,
with large historiated capitals of great beauty and finely decorative
colouring. Fig. 48 shows one of the initials with Saint George slaying the
dragon, and the Princess Saba kneeling at the side.

_Italian art in France._

In some cases, especially during the fourteenth century, skilful Italian
illuminators appear to have worked in France. Many French and even Flemish
manuscripts, such as some of those executed for Philip of Burgundy and the
Duc de Berri towards the end of the century, show distinctly two styles of
painting, French and Italian, the book evidently being the work of two
different artists. Some of these Italian paintings in French manuscripts
suggest the hand of a disciple of Simone Martini (Memmi), or some artist of
the very decorative Sienese school; this was probably in many cases due to
the introduction of Italian painters into Avignon when the Papal court was
resident there; see page 140.

_Late artistic revival._

It was, however, not till nearly the middle of the fourteenth century that
Italy produced many illuminated manuscripts of any remarkable beauty. Those
executed under the immediate influence of Giotto, between 1300 and about
1340, were not as a rule to be compared to the illuminations of northern
Europe either for decorative value or for minute beauty of detail.

By the middle of the fourteenth century, however, the illuminator's art in
Italy, and especially in Florence, had reached a very high degree of

[Illustration: Fig. 48. Miniature of St George and the Dragon from a
_Missal_, illuminated about 1330 to 1340 by a painter of the school of

_Monastic painters._
_Don Silvestro._

Vasari, in his life of Don Lorenzo Monaco[176], mentions a Camaldolese monk
of the Monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli near Florence, who, about the
year 1350, wrote and illuminated a number of magnificent choir-books for
his monastery, which were very highly valued; so much so that after the
death of the monk, whose name was Don Silvestro, his hand was preserved in
a shrine as a sacred relic of the dead monk's piety and skill[177]. Some of
Don Silvestro's manuscripts are now preserved in the Laurentian library in
Florence, and a number of miniatures cut out of his choir-books were
acquired by W. Young Ottley[178].

_MSS. of Don Silvestro._
_Methods of decoration._

The existing works of Don Silvestro show that the enthusiasm of his fellow
monks was not exaggerated. The miniatures are noble in style, finished with
the most exquisitely minute touch, splendidly brilliant in colour, and in
every way masterpieces of the illuminator's art. These choir-books are of
enormous size, being intended to be placed on the central choir lectern so
that the whole body of monks standing round could chant the _antiphonalia_
from the same book, and the initials are proportionately large to the size
of the page. Thus some of the figures of Saints which fill the central
spaces of the large initials are as much as from six to seven inches in
height, and yet they are painted with the minute detail of an ordinary
sized miniature. The grounds of these splendid figures are usually of
burnished gold, decorated by incised tooling of diapers or scroll-work; and
the floreated borders, which surround the letters and form marginal
ornaments to the pages, consist of nobly designed conventional foliage in
vermilion, ultramarine and other fine pigments, relieved and lighted up by
bosses of burnished gold thickly sprinkled among the sumptuous coloured
foliage. Tooled and burnished gold is also used largely for the decoration
of the dresses of the figures, their crowns, jewelled ornaments and the
apparels and orphreys of their vestments. The whole effect is magnificent
in the extreme, and yet, in spite of the dazzling brilliance of the gold
and colours, the whole effect is perfectly harmonious and free from the
harsh gaudiness which disfigures so much of the late fifteenth century work
of the French and Flemish manuscript painters.

_Italian ornament._

The special style of ornament used by Don Silvestro survived in Italian
illumination for nearly a century and a half. In Italy realistic forms of
fruit and flowers, such as were painted with such taste and skill by the
northern miniaturists, were scarcely ever used. All through the fifteenth
century, alike in the manuscripts of the Florentine, Sienese and Venetian
schools, the same purely conventional forms of foliage were used, with
great curling leaves, alternately blue and red, lighted up by the
jewel-like studs and bosses of burnished gold.

_The monk Don Lorenzo._

According to Vasari, the same Camaldolese Monastery produced another
manuscript illuminator whose skill was hardly inferior to that of Don
Silvestro. This was Don Lorenzo, who appears to have been born about 1370,
and to have died about 1425[179]. Examples of his skill, also in the form
of large choir-books, are preserved in the Laurentian library at Florence;
they are rich with miniatures of great beauty, and, like Don Silvestro's
paintings, show a lavish expenditure of time and patience in the exquisite
minuteness with which they are finished. Vasari tells us that his hand also
was preserved as a sacred relic in the treasury of Santa Maria degli

_Visit of Leo X._

In later times Pope Leo X., who, like other members of the Medici family,
was an enthusiastic lover of illuminated manuscripts, when on a visit to
the Monastery, desired to carry away to the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome
some of these choir-books by the hand of Don Lorenzo[180].

_Dominican painters._

The Dominican Convent of San Marco in Florence, where the famous Florentine
painter Fra Beato Angelico[181] was a Friar, possesses, or till quite
recently did possess, a magnificent collection of choir-books richly
illuminated with miniatures by various members of the Convent. Some of
these are said to have been painted by Fra Angelico himself, others by a
brother of his who was a Friar in the same Convent[182].

The records of the Dominican Convent at Fiesole, where Fra Angelico was
born, show that he was working there as a painter of illuminated
manuscripts in the year 1407 and for some time subsequently.

_Fra Angelico's style._

It is noticeable that Fra Angelico's style, even when painting a colossal
mural fresco, was essentially that of the manuscript illuminator. He is
utterly unrealistic in drawing and still more so in colour; he deals with
no possible effects of light and shade, but paints all his figures glowing
with the most brilliant effects of gold and colour, in a style far earlier
than that of his own date, and with certain technical peculiarities which,
as a rule, are to be found only in the illuminations of manuscripts[183].

_MSS. of northern Italy._
_Renaissance in Italy._

In the fifteenth century the manuscript art of central and northern Italy,
especially Siena, Florence, Venice and Milan, rose to a pitch of beauty and
perfection which left it quite without rival in any country in the world.
As was the case in writing of the glories of such manuscripts as the French
_Apocalypses_ of the fourteenth century, words are inadequate to describe
the refined beauty of the best Italian manuscripts of this period. As has
been already pointed out Italy was late in beginning her artistic
Renaissance; and now, just when the rest of Europe was sinking into a more
or less rapid and complete state of decadence, Italy blossomed out into one
of the most magnificent artistic periods that the world has ever seen[184].
The manuscripts of this period are not unworthy of the general artistic
glories of the time, and in some cases their technical qualities bear
witness to an almost superhuman amount of dexterity and patience.

During the first half of the century, by far the greater proportion of the
manuscripts written in Italy were for ecclesiastical purposes. Among the
most magnificent, but at the same time also the rarest, are folio
manuscript _Pontificals_[185], executed for wealthy ecclesiastics of
Episcopal rank.

_The Fitzwilliam Pontifical._

An Italian folio _Pontifical_, dating from early in the fifteenth century,
in the library of the Fitzwilliam Museum, is of its kind, one of the most
beautiful manuscripts in the world. The delicacy of execution of the
figures and especially the faces is little short of miraculous, and the
numerous historiated initials, each representing some episcopal act of
Consecration or Benediction, scattered thickly all through the volume, are
a remarkable proof of the patient, unwearied skill which through years of
labour must have been devoted to this one superb volume.

_Italian poems._
_The owner's arms._

Among the illuminated manuscripts with secular texts the most important are
copies of Dante's _Divine Comedy_, the works of Boccaccio and the Poems of
Petrarch. The first page of such works as these is usually richly decorated
with a wide border of scroll foliage, studded with the usual gold bosses.
Frequently small miniatures in medallion frames are set at intervals among
the conventional leafage; and at the bottom is a shield to receive the
owner's coat of arms, surrounded with a delicately painted leafy wreath,
which is supported on each side by a graceful figure of a flying angel or
Cupid[186]. In many cases the shield is still left blank; the book not
having been written for any special purchaser and the owner having
neglected to insert his arms[187].

The painting of the wreath which surrounds the shield is usually very
beautiful, and the two flying angels or _amorini_ are models of grace. This
motive of the wreath held by two flying figures was largely used by the
Florentine sculptors of the fifteenth century, such as Ghiberti and Luca
della Robbia; it was suggested by the similar design, of very inferior
execution, which occurs on so many ancient Roman sarcophagi.

_Classical influence._

Some of the most elaborate Italian manuscripts of the second half of the
fifteenth century are decorated with very minutely and cleverly painted
copies of antique classical gems, cameos, coins and medals, or reliefs in
marble and bronze. Wonderful skill is often shown by the way in which the
illuminator has given the appearance of relief and the actual texture of
the metal or stone[188]. Beautiful as the borders of this class are, they
belong to a period of decadence of taste, though not of skill, and they
paved the way for the elaborate futilities of Giulio Clovio and other
miniaturists of the sixteenth century period of decadence.

_Capture of Constantinople._

The influx of Greek exiles into Florence, after the conquest of
Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, led to the famous revival of
classical learning, and for a while made Florence not only the artistic but
the intellectual centre of the world. Many of these fugitive Greeks brought
with them both Greek and Latin manuscripts of ancient date, and a new
development of manuscript art took place in consequence of this.

_Copyism of early writing._

Though manuscripts of Service books and other sacred works continued to be
written in the mediaeval "Gothic" form of character, for secular
manuscripts[189] a very beautiful kind of "Roman" hand was largely used by
the scribes of Florence, Venice and other Italian centres of the
illuminator's art. This newly developed mode of writing was based on the
beautiful clear form of character which had been used by the most skilful
northern scribes of the ninth and tenth century; and at the same time a
style of illumination for borders and initials was imitated or rather
adapted, with the utmost taste and skill from the characteristic interlaced
patterns of England, France and Germany during the twelfth century.

_Celtic style of ornament._

This beautiful kind of ornament consists of delicately interlaced and
plaited bands of white or gold, thrown into relief by filling in the
background, or spaces between the laced bands, with alternating colours,
blue, red and green.

This style of initial was also largely used for the early printed books of
Rome, Florence and Venice[190], many copies of which were illuminated in
the most magnificent way, quite equal to the ornaments of the finest vellum

Some of the Italian manuscripts of the second half of the fifteenth
century, for delicate beauty and for exquisite refinement of detail, are
unrivalled by the illuminated manuscripts of any other country or age.

_Italian Horae._

Among the greatest marvels of human skill that have ever been produced are
some of the very small _Books of Hours_ which were executed for the
merchant princes of Florence and Venice and for other wealthy Italian
patrons. The borders in these frequently have minute figures of Cupid-like
angels (amorini) playing among decorative foliage, or birds and animals,
such as fawns, cheetahs and the like, designed with an amount of grace and
modelled with a microscopic refinement of touch that no words can
adequately describe.

_Beauty of the text._

And it is not only the unequalled beauty of the painted decorations and
miniatures for which these late Italian manuscripts are so remarkable; the
mere writing of the text in the most brilliant black and red ink is of
striking beauty in the form of the letters and the perfect regularity of
the whole. Last of all the vellum used by the Italian scribes of this
period is far more beautiful, from its ivory-like perfection of tint and
surface, than that of any other class of manuscripts. Though not, of
course, as exquisitely thin as the uterine vellum of the Anglo-Norman
thirteenth century scribes, it is more beautiful in texture, and does much
to complete the artistic perfection of the manuscripts of fifteenth century
Italy, by its exquisitely polished surface and perfect purity of tint.

_MSS. of N. Italy._

The provinces of Florence, Pisa, Siena, Bologna and Venice, including
Verona, were all important centres for the production of fine illuminated
manuscripts. On the whole Florence was the most famous in this as in other
branches of art, and it was especially to Florence that wealthy foreign
Princes sent their commissions when they desired to possess exceptionally
beautiful manuscripts.

_Corvinus a patron of art._

One of the most enthusiastic art patrons of Europe, Matthias Corvinus, King
of Hungary from 1458 to 1490, had a large number of most magnificent
manuscripts written and illuminated for him by various _miniatori_ of
Florence; some of these are now in the Imperial library of Vienna.

So also Federigo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino about the same time,
purchased from a Florentine that most superbly illuminated Bible, in two
large folio volumes, dated 1478, which is now in the Vatican library[191].

_Attavante the miniaturist._

Among the miniaturists who worked for King Corvinus, the most famous was a
Florentine named Attavante di Gabriello, who was born in 1452. Vasari
mentions him as a pupil and friend of Fra Angelico[192], and describes at
great length and with much enthusiasm a sumptuous manuscript of Silius
Italicus, belonging to the Dominican Monastery of San Giovanni e Paolo in
Venice, as being the work of Attavante.

This once magnificent manuscript still exists, but in a much mutilated
state, in the Venetian Biblioteca Marciana (Cl. XII. Cod. LXVIII.); all the
large miniatures have been cut out, but the borders with winged Cupids,
birds and animals among decorative scroll-work are marvels of beauty and
minute delicacy of touch. Though quite worthy of Attavante's fame, this
manuscript cannot be his work, as it was executed many years too early, in
the time of Pope Nicholas V., who reigned from 1447 to 1455.

_MSS. at Venice._

The same library does, however, possess real examples of Attavante's
wonderful illuminations. The borders are specially remarkable for the
minute medallion heads which are introduced among the conventional foliage.
These minute pictures occur in many of the finest manuscripts of this
class; and other _miniatori_ painted them with a microscopic refinement of
detail, quite equal to the best illuminations of Attavante. Fig. 49 gives a
good typical example of this style of border, with two Cupid-like angels
and busts of saints in quatrefoil medallions.

Some of the borders of this class, especially in Venetian and Florentine
manuscripts, are decorated with very cleverly painted representations of
jewels, such as the emerald and ruby, set at intervals along each margin.
These are often wonderful examples of skilful realism, the transparency of
the gem, and its bright reflected lights, being rendered with an almost
deceptive appearance of reality.

_The miniaturists called dai Libri._

In the fifteenth century Verona was one of the chief Italian centres for
the production of magnificent manuscripts. Various members of one family,
known from their occupation as "dai Libri," were specially famous as
miniaturists. Stefano the eldest was born about 1420; he and his younger
brother Francesco were both skilled miniaturists, and Francesco's son
Girolamo dai Libri (1474 to 1556) was famous not only as a _miniatore_, but
also as a painter of altar-pieces and other sacred pictures on a large

[Illustration: Fig. 49. An illuminated border from a manuscript by
Attavante of characteristic north Italian style.]

_Liberale of Verona._

Another Veronese painter, Liberale di Giacomo, who was born in 1451, was in
his youth a very skilful miniaturist.

He spent some years in illuminating large choir-books for the Benedictine
monastery of Monte Oliveto near Siena, and then after 1469 he was for long
occupied in the illumination of similar choir-books for the Cathedral of

The miniatures in these great _Antiphonals_ are most exquisitely finished,
rich in fancy, brilliant in colour, but wanting decorative breadth of
style. With a far greater expenditure of labour and eyesight, these
wonderful illuminations are far inferior to the works of the fourteenth
century French miniaturists, and show signs of that decadence of taste,
which, in the sixteenth century, led to the destruction of the true
illuminator's art[195].

_MSS. of N. Italy._

In addition to Venice, Padua and Ferrara were both important centres of
manuscript illumination of a very high order during the fifteenth century.
The Paduan miniatures show strongly the influence of Andrea Mantegna and
Gian Bellini, whose styles also appear in the contemporary manuscripts of
Venice. The British Museum possesses a magnificent example of the work of
one of the ablest _miniatori_ of Padua, a _Missal_ by Benedetto Bordone,
who also illuminated the great choir-books of the Convent of Santa Justina
in Padua.

[Illustration: Fig. 50. A miniature from the Bible of Duke Borso d'Este,
painted between 1455 and 1461 by illuminators of the school of Ferrara.]

_School of Ferrara._

Ferrara too produced many very beautiful manuscripts, especially under the
patronage of Duke Borso d'Este. It was for this Duke of Ferrara that the
magnificent choir-books, now in the Municipal library at Ferrara were

Fig. 50 shows a miniature from a very splendid Bible, which was illuminated
for Duke Borso d'Este between 1455 and 1461 by Taddeo di Crivelli and
Franco di Messer Giovanni da Russi, two very talented miniaturists of the
Ferrarese school, though they were natives of the neighbouring city of

_Parma and Modena._

Parma, Modena and Cremona also were thriving centres of the illuminators
art; in fact wherever in Italy there was a school of painting a subsidiary
school of manuscript miniaturists seems also to have existed. The two
classes of painting acted and reacted upon one another; and in some cases,
as is indicated below[196], the more important art of painting on a large
scale owed more to the manuscript illuminators than has commonly been

_School of Milan._

Milan, especially under Duke Ludovico and other members of the Sforza
family, was an active centre of manuscript illumination. Some very
beautiful late manuscripts exist with miniatures which show the influence
of Leonardo da Vinci and his pupil Bernardino Luini; a _Book of Hours_ in
the Fitzwilliam Museum is a good example of this.

_Illuminated documents._

One rather exceptional class of richly illuminated manuscripts was largely
produced in Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; these were
State documents, University diplomas and licences, patents of nobility and
legal instruments of various kinds, often very elaborately decorated with
illuminations and miniatures in gold and colours.

In Venice especially immense numbers of these were produced; the most
elaborate are Appointments of Governors, Commissions of officials of rank,
Patriarchal Briefs, together with State records and documents of the most
varied kinds. Bologna, Padua, Pisa and others of the chief Universities of
Italy issued diplomas for Doctors degrees, and licences to give lectures,
which were frequently very magnificently decorated with letters of gold and
richly illuminated capitals and borders.

_Retables like MSS._

Before passing on to the Italian _miniatori_ of the last period, it is
worth while to notice the strong influence that the art of manuscript
illumination had on the painters of large retables and other sacred
pictures in Italy and especially in Venice; just as was the case with the
contemporary painters of Germany and Flanders[197]. Many of the Venetian
altar-pieces, from their minute detail, their use of burnished gold
enriched with tooled patterns, their decorative treatment of flowers and
their architectural backgrounds and framework, look exactly like a page
from an illuminated manuscript.

_Retable at Venice._

Fig. 51 shows a characteristic example of this, a magnificent retable
glowing with brilliant colours and burnished gold, now in the Accademia of
Venice, which was painted in 1446 in the little island of Murano by two
painters named Johannes and Antonius de Murano[198].

The same strongly marked influence of the decorative style of illuminated
manuscripts is to be seen in nearly all the works of Carlo Crivelli,
another Venetian painter of the latter part of the fifteenth century, and
in the gorgeous retables of Gentile da Fabriano[199], a follower of Fra
Angelico's richly decorative and brilliantly coloured method of painting.

_The XVIth century._

_Italian manuscripts of the sixteenth century._ By about the end of the
first decade of the sixteenth century the art of manuscript illumination
had ceased in Italy to be a real living art; and, though it continued to be
practised with great technical skill for more than half a century later,
the art, which once had been one of the most beautiful and dignified of all
branches of art, sank into the production of costly toys to please a few
Popes and luxurious Princes who were willing to pay very large prices for
manuscripts illuminated by the skilful hands of Giulio Clovio and other
miniaturists, whose patience, eyesight and technical skill were superior to
their sense of what was fitting and beautiful in an illuminated manuscript.

[Illustration: Fig. 51. A Venetian retable by Giovanni and Antonio di
Murano, in the style of an illuminated manuscript.]

_Giulio Clovio._

Of all the illuminators of this class the Dalmatian Giulio Clovio[200]
(1498-1578) was the most famous and technically the most skilful. He found
many wealthy patrons in Italy and was employed by Charles V. of France.

The Soane Museum in London possesses a characteristic example of his style,
a _Commentary on the Epistles of Saint Paul_, executed for Giulio's early
patron, Cardinal Marino Grimani of Venice, the brother of the owner of the
Grimani _Breviary_ mentioned above. Clovio's miniatures are marvels of
minute execution, but not truly decorative in style, and in design usually
quite unsuited to their purpose. In most cases they resemble large oil
paintings reduced to a microscopic scale; the figures are commonly feeble
imitations either of large pieces of contemporary tapestry or else of
painting in Michel Angelo's grandiose style, both of which of course were
utterly unsuited for miniatures in a manuscript[201].

_The Vatican MSS._

_The Manuscripts in the Vatican Library._ The Archives of the Vatican
library contain a number of records of the development of the library
during the sixteenth century and later[202].

In mediaeval times manuscripts were rare and costly, so that even Kings,
Popes and Universities possessed libraries which in size were very
insignificant compared to those of ancient Alexandria, Rome and Byzantium.

_The Vatican library._

Even in Leo X.'s time (1513-1522) the Vatican library, which was probably
the largest in the world, contained only 4,070 manuscripts and printed
books. A century earlier, before the invention of printing, two or three
hundred volumes would have constituted an enormous library.

As a rule even Royal and Public libraries were contained in a few
iron-bound chests or _armaria_; and borrowers had to deposit a pledge--a
gold ring, a silver cup or some other valuable article, which was retained
by the librarian till the manuscript had been restored. In the Vatican this
practice survived till the sixteenth century, and books exist among the
Archives in which were recorded the date, the title of the book, the
borrower's name and a short description of the deposited pledge. When the
book was returned the word "restituit" was written in the margin.

_Payments to scribes._

The same Archives contain a number of accounts giving the sums paid to
various illuminators of manuscripts, especially in the time of Pope Paul
III. (Alex. Farnese, 1534 to 1553), who was a great patron of Giulio Clovio
and other miniaturists. In 1540 a number of _scriptores et miniatores_
employed in the Vatican library received as pay 4 gold ducats each monthly,
of 10 Julii to the ducat, equal to about £20 in modern value.

In 1541 Messer Paolo received 30 gold ducats for writing and illuminating
four volumes.

_Del Piombo as an illuminator._

It is interesting to note that the famous painter Sebastiano del
Piombo[203] ("Fra Bastiano piombator") received payment "pro libris
miniatis" in the year 1546 from Pope Paul III.

In 1549 Federigo Mario di Perugia received 4½ ducats a month for his labour
"in scribendis et ornandis seu pingendis libris." This is the same
miniaturist who illuminated some choir-books for the Roman Monastery of
Saint' Agostino[204].

It was especially for the great choir-books that the art of the scribe and
illuminator survived, the reason being that no printers' fount of type had
characters of sufficient size to be read by a whole circle of singers. Thus
we find Italian and Spanish manuscript _Antiphonals_[205] and the like,
which have the grand Gothic writing of the fifteenth century executed as
late as the year 1620 or even later[206].

_Spanish MSS._

_The Manuscripts of Spain, Portugal and the East._ Little need be said
about the manuscript illuminations of the Spanish peninsula since they
contain little that is native or original.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries many magnificent illuminations
were produced in Spain and Portugal, but they are mainly imitations either
of Italian or of Flemish miniatures. In earlier times in Northern Spain the
influence of France was paramount, and in Southern Spain the beautiful
"Saracenic" art of the Moorish conquerors influenced all branches of the
fine arts, including that of manuscript illumination.

_Moslem influence._

To some extent the same Moslem influence is apparent in the decorative
borders of Sicilian and Venetian manuscripts, especially during the
fifteenth century.

The illuminations of Oriental manuscripts do not fall within the limits of
this brief treatise, but it should be noted that during the mediaeval
period, and down to the present century, Persian and Arabic manuscripts
with decorative illuminations of extraordinary beauty and skilful execution
have been largely produced in Syria, Persia and India under the Moslem

For delicacy of touch, for intricate beauty of ornament, and for decorative
splendour in the use of gold and colour, these Oriental manuscripts are, in
their own way, unsurpassed.

_Persian MSS._

In the orthodox Sunni manuscripts miniatures with figure subjects do not
occur, but are lavishly used in the manuscripts of the Persians and other
members of the Sufi sect. The drawing of the human form is without the
dignity and grace that is to be seen in Western manuscripts, but as pieces
of decoration the Oriental miniatures are of high merit. Copies of the
_Koran_, and the works of the favourite Persian poets are among the most
common kinds of Oriental manuscripts. It is the latter that are so often
sumptuously decorated with figure subjects.



_The beauty of MSS._

_The Monastic Scribes._ It may be interesting to consider what were the
causes that made the illuminated manuscripts of the mediaeval period among
the most perfect and beautiful works of art that the world has ever
produced. No one can examine the manuscripts of any of the chief European
countries down to the fourteenth century without a feeling of amazement at
their almost unvarying perfection of execution, the immense fertility of
fancy in their design, and the utterly unsparing labour that was lavished
on their production. Moreover the manuscripts of this earlier period,
before their production became a commercial art in the hand of secular
scribes, are especially remarkable for their uniform excellence of
workmanship, and their complete freedom from any signs of haste or
weariness on the part of their scribes and illuminators.

_Conditions of life._
_Absence of hurry._

Now the fact is that the countless illuminated manuscripts which were
produced in so many of the Benedictine and other monastic Houses of Europe
were executed under very exceptionally favourable circumstances[207]. In
the first place the monastic scribe lived in a haven of safety and rest in
the middle of a tumultuous and war-harassed world. While at work in the
_scriptorium_ he was troubled with no thoughts of any necessity to complete
his task within a limited time in order to earn his daily bread. Food and
clothing of a simple though sufficient kind were secured to him, whether he
finished his manuscript in a year or in twenty years. He worked for no
payment, but for the glory of God and the honour of his monastic
foundation, and last, but not least, for the intense pleasure which the
varying processes of his work gave him.

_Pleasant work._

No one who examines a fine mediaeval manuscript can help seeing in it the
strongest marks of the delight which the illuminator had in his work; and
this sort of retrospective sympathy with the pleasure of the workman in his
work is an important element in the beauty of ancient works of art of many
different kinds and dates, from the simple but beautiful wheel-turned vase
of the Greek potter, down to the carved foliage in a Gothic church, or the
complicated ornamentation of an illuminated initial.

_Relief from monotony._

Again, it should be remembered that the life of a mediaeval monk was a very
uneventful and monotonous one, and even the most pious soul must at times
have felt a weariness in the oft-repeated and lengthy _Offices_ which made
him spend so large a proportion of each day within the Choir of his
monastic church. Thus it was that his work as an illuminator of manuscripts
provided the one great relief from his otherwise grey and monotonous life,
from which he turned to revel in every variety of fanciful shape and of
varied arrangement of gleaming gold and brilliant pigments. Here at least
was no monotony, but the fullest scope for imaginative fancy and the love
of variety which is inborn in the human mind.

_Scope for humour._
_Grotesque figures._

In the illumination of his manuscript the monastic scribe, even when
decorating a sacred book, could lay aside for a moment the solemn religious
thoughts to which his vows had bound him; he could sport with every variety
of grotesque monster and of Pagan imagery, and could find vent for his
repressed sense of fun and humour by the introduction of caricatures and
pictorial jokes of all kinds among the foliage of his borders and initials
without any fear of reproof on the part of his superiors[208]. Fig. 52 from
a French fourteenth century manuscript shows a characteristic example of an
illuminators humorous fancy, a grotesque Bishop, with a mitre made out of a
pair of bellows.

[Illustration: Fig. 52. Grotesque figure from a French manuscript of the
fourteenth century.]

Very frequently the jealousy which existed between the Regular and the
Secular Clergy is expressed in the pictorial sarcasms of the monastic
illuminators. This feeling, on the Secular side, is vividly set forth in
the amusing Latin Poems of Walter Map[209], who, toward the close of the
twelfth century, was the Parish Priest of a little church in the Forest of
Dean[210]. Walter Map's satire is mainly directed against the Cistercian
order of monks, with whom he was specially brought into contact owing to
his parish being situated near the Cistercian Abbey of Flaxley.

_Humorous scene._

Fig. 53. from a German manuscript of the end of the twelfth century, now in
the Chapter library of Prague Cathedral, gives an interesting example of
the introduction of a humorous scene into a grave work, Saint Augustine's
_De civitate Dei_. The illuminator, who was named Hildebert, has been
worried by a mouse, which stole his food; and here on the last leaf of the
manuscript he represents himself interrupted in his work and throwing
something at the mouse which is nibbling at his food. These explanatory
words are written on the open page of his book,

  _A wicked mouse._

  Pessime mus, sepius me probocas ad iram, ut te deus perdat.

  "You wicked mouse, too often you provoke me to anger, may God destroy

[Illustration: Fig. 53. Miniature of a comic subject from a German
manuscript of the twelfth century, representing a monastic scribe worried
by a mouse.]

_Portrait of the scribe._

At the feet of the scribe a lad named Everwinus, possibly a monastic
novice, is seated on a low stool, drawing a piece of ornamental
scroll-work. The Monk Hildebert's desk is in the form of a lectern
supported by a carved lion; in it are holes to hold the black and red
inkhorns, and two pens or brushes. In his left hand the scribe holds the
usual penknife, and another pen is stuck behind his ear.

_Short hours of labour._

There is yet another of the conditions under which the monastic scribe
worked which was not without important effect on the unvarying excellence
of his work, and that was that he could never remain long enough at work,
at any one time, for his hand or eye to get wearied. Owing to the
constantly recurring Choir services, the _Seven Hours_, which he had to
attend, the monastic scribe could probably never continue labouring at his
illumination for more than about two hours at a time.

_No weariness._

The importance of this fact is very clearly seen when we compare one of the
earlier monastic manuscripts with one of the fifteenth century French or
Flemish _Books of Hours_, executed by a professional secular scribe. Thus
in the older manuscripts the firmness of line and delicate, crisp touch
never relaxes, and the artist's evident sense of power and the joy in his
manual dexterity lasts without diminution from the first to the last page
of his book.

_Variety of labour._

Additional beauty is given to the mediaeval manuscripts by the fact that
each scribe commonly did much important work in the preparation of his inks
and pigments; in some cases even to the beating out of the gold leaf he was
about to use in his miniatures and borders[211]. No colours bought of a
dealer in a commercial age could ever equal in beauty or in durability the
pigments that an illuminator made or at least prepared for his own use. And
his command over the materials of his art would greatly enhance his
pleasure in using them, to say nothing of the relief given by the variety
of his labours.

_Varied schemes of ornament._

All these influences, combined with others which it might be wearisome to
dwell upon, combined to make the manuscripts of the pre-commercial period
works of the most unvarying perfection of technique, unspeakably rich in
the varied wealth of fancy shown in their decorative schemes, as well as in
the minute detail of each part. The illuminated ornament in one place is
concentrated into a gem-like miniature within the narrow limit of a small
initial letter. At another place it spreads out into the splendour of a
full-page picture, which swallows up most of the text, and covers the whole
page with one mass of burnished gold and brilliant colour. Or again,
springing from its roots in an illuminated capital, it grows over the
margin and frames the text with a mass of richly designed and exquisitely
graceful foliage.

Every possible scheme of decoration is to be found in these manuscripts;
but in all cases the illuminator is careful to make his painted ornament
grow out of and form, as it were, an integral part of the written text,
which thus becomes not merely a book ornamented with pictures, but is a
close combination of writing and illumination, forming one harmonious whole
in a united scheme of decorative beauty[212].

_Monastic Scriptoria._

_The Scriptoria of Monasteries._ As I have previously mentioned, it was
more especially the Benedictine monasteries[213] that were the centres for
the production of mediaeval manuscripts[214]. I will therefore describe the
usual arrangements of the _Scriptorium_ in a Benedictine House.

In early times, in the eighth and ninth centuries for example, the
Scriptorium and library appear usually to have been a separate room, near
or over the Sacristy, and adjoining the Choir of the church[215].

_Scriptoria in cloisters._

During most of the mediaeval period, however, and in England down to the
suppression of the Abbeys by Henry VIII., the system was to devote one
whole walk or alley of the cloister, that nearest to the church, to the
double purpose of a Scriptorium and library. This was naturally the warmest
and dryest portion of the cloister, at least in most cases when the usual
arrangement was followed of placing the cloister on the south side of the
nave of the Abbey church[216].

_Monastic library._

This north walk (as it commonly was) of the cloister faced south and so
received plenty of sun; at each end of it a screen was placed to shut it
off from the rest of the cloister, which formed a sort of common
living-room for the monks[217]. Along one side of this alley of the
cloister were fixed, against the wall of the church, oak cupboards
(_armaria_), with strong locks and hinges, to receive the manuscripts which
formed the library of the monastery[218]. At Westminster and in other
Benedictine monasteries the marks showing where these _armaria_ were fixed
are visible on the cloister wall or rather along the wall of the church,
which forms one side of this walk of the cloister.

[Illustration: Fig. 54. View of the scriptorium alley of the cloisters at
Gloucester, showing the recesses to hold the wooden _carrels_ for the
scribes or readers of manuscripts.]

_Scribes' carrels._

Down the middle of the alley a clear passage was left, and the other side
of the passage, that opposite the bookcases, was occupied, at least in the
fourteenth century, and probably much earlier, by a row of little wooden
box-like rooms called _carrels_[219], each of which was devoted to the use
of one scribe. As a rule there were either two or three of these carrels to
each bay or compartment of the cloister. They were commonly made of
wainscot oak, about six by eight feet in plan or even less; just big enough
to hold the seated scribe and his large desk, on which rested the
manuscript he was copying, and the one he was writing, with some extra
shelf space for his black and red inkhorns, his colours and other
implements; see fig. 53 on p. 209.

These little rooms were provided with wooden floors and ceilings, so as to
be warm and dry; they were set close against the traceried windows, which
in most cloisters ran all along the internal sides of the four alleys.

_Cloister at Gloucester._

The cloister of Gloucester Abbey[220] has a slightly different arrangement.
Here a series of stone recesses, each intended to hold a carrel, extends
all along the side of this walk[221] of the cloister. There are two of
these recesses to each bay, and the lower part of the outer wall, instead
of consisting of open tracery, is of solid masonry, pierced only by a small
glazed window to give light to the scribe; above the carrel recess there is
the usual large arch filled in with tracery; see fig. 54[222].

When provided with these and other wooden fittings, the cloister of a
Benedictine Abbey would not have been either in appearance or fact as cold
and comfortless as such places usually look now. With a small portable
brazier the monastic scribe in his little wooden cell was safe from damp
and probably fairly warm even in cold weather.

_Cloister at Durham._

_The Rites and Monuments of Durham_[223] (Cap. XLI.) give the following
very interesting description of the _carrels_ with which the Durham
cloister was fitted up;

  "In the northe syde of the Cloister, from the corner over againste the
  Church dour to the corner over againste the Dorter (dormitory) dour, was
  all fynely glased, from the hight to the sole (sill) within a little of
  the ground into the Cloister garth. And in every windowe iij PEWES or
  CARRELLS, where every one of the old Monks had his carrell, severall by
  himselfe, that, when they had dyned, they did resorte to that place of
  Cloister and there studyed upon there books, every one in his carrell,
  all the afternonne, unto evensong tyme. This was there exercise every
  daie. All there pewes or carrells was all fynely wainscotted (with oak)
  and verie close, all but the forepart which had carved wourke that gave
  light in at ther carrell doures of wainscott. And in every carrell was a
  deske to lye there bookes on. And the carrells was no greater then from
  one stanchell (mullion) of the windowe to another.

  _The Durham armaria._

  And over againste the carrells against the church wall did stande
  certaine great almeries (_armaria_ or cupboards) of wainscott all full of
  BOOKES, with great store of ancient manuscripts to help them in their
  study, wherein did lye as well the old auncyent written Doctors of the
  Church as other prophane authors, with dyverse other holie men's wourkes,
  so that every one dyd studye what Doctor pleased them best, havinge the
  Librarie at all tymes to goe studie in besydes there carrells."

In the sixteenth century, owing to the introduction of printed works, the
books in the Benedictine monastery of Durham had become too numerous for
the row of _almeries_ along the north walk of the cloister to hold them;
and so a separate room was provided as a second library. The present
library at Durham is the old Dormitory or _Dorter_ of the Monks with all
its "cubicles" or _sleeping-carrels_ removed.

_Other monastic Scriptoria._

In the Houses of other religious foundations the arrangements for the
writing of manuscripts were different from those of the Benedictines. In a
Convent of Dominican Friars, for example, each friar worked in his own cell
where he slept, and in a Carthusian monastery each monk had a complete
little house and garden with a small study and oratory and a larger room,
where his labours, literary or mechanical, were carried on.

The Dominican House of San Marco in Florence, of which Fra Beato Angelico
was a member, throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was famous
for the magnificent manuscripts that were illuminated there; see above, p.
190. And various other Convents of Dominican Friars in Italy were important
centres of manuscript illumination. Some of the Regular Canons were also
famous as illuminators, especially the Austin Canons.


_Growth of Guilds._

Towards the latter part of the thirteenth and throughout the fourteenth
century, secular artisans in all varieties of arts and crafts were
gradually throwing off the bonds of the old feudal serfdom under which they
had for long been bound. The growth in number and importance of the
Trade-Guilds, which in England developed so rapidly under Henry III., was
one of the chief signs of the growing importance of the artisans of the
chief towns of this and other European countries.

_Importance of the Trade-Guilds._

At the end of the thirteenth century, in London, in Florence, and in many
other cities no man could possess the rights of a citizen and a share in
the municipal government without becoming a member of one of the
established Trade-Guilds. Edward I., Edward III. and others of the English
Kings set the example of enrolling themselves as members of one of the
London Guilds[224]; and in Florence it was necessary for Dante to become a
member of a Guild[225] before he could serve the Republic as one of the

At first the scribes and illuminators (_librorum scriptores et
illuminatores_[226]) were members of one general Guild including craftsmen
in all the decorative arts and their subsidiary processes, such as
leather-tanning, vellum-making, and even saddlery[227].

_Guilds in the XVth century._

By degrees the Guilds became more numerous and more specialized in
character, till their fullest development was reached in the first half or
middle of the fifteenth century. Much interesting information about the
miniaturists' Guild in Bruges during the second half of the century has
been published by Mr Weale[228].

This was the Guild of Saint John and Saint Luke; and every painter,
miniaturist, illuminator, rubricator, copyist, maker of vellum, binder or
seller of books who lived and worked in Bruges was obliged to belong to
this Guild. This rule, which existed in Ghent, Antwerp and most artistic
centres, had a double use; on the one hand it protected the individual
illuminator from wrong and oppression of any kind; and, on the other hand,
it tended to keep up a good standard of excellence in the work which was
executed by the Guild-members.

_Rules of the Guilds._

No miniaturist could be admitted till he had laid before the Dean of the
Guild a sufficiently good sample of his skill, and all members were liable
to be fined if they used inferior materials of any kind, such as impure
gold, adulterated ultramarine or vermilion and the like. In this way the
officers of the Guild acted as moderators between the artisan and his
patrons, securing reasonable pay for the artist, and, in return for that,
reasonably good workmanship for his employer or customer. The Guilds also
prevented anything like commercial slave-driving by limiting very strictly
the number of apprentices or workmen that each master might employ.

_Decadence of MS. art._

Thus it happened that, though fine manuscripts were still written and
illuminated in many of the principal monasteries of Europe, a large class
of secular illuminators grew up, especially in Paris and the chief towns of
Flanders and northern Germany. In this way the production of manuscripts,
especially illuminated _Books of Hours_, became a regular commercial
process, with the inevitable result that a great deal of work of a very
inferior character was turned out to meet the rapidly growing demand for
cheap and showy books.

An immense number of these cheap manuscript _Horae_ were produced after a
few fixed patterns, with some mechanical dulness of repetition in every
border and miniature with which they were decorated.

_Costly Horae._

At the same time manuscripts were still produced, mostly at the special
order of some royal patron or wealthy merchant, which, in elaborate beauty
and in unsparing labour of execution, are hardly surpassed by the work of
the earlier monastic scribes[229]. Examples of this are mentioned above at
pages 135 and 169.

The Dukes of Burgundy and the Kings of France, towards the close of the
fourteenth and the first half of the fifteenth century, numbered many
illuminators among their regular paid adherents. In some cases the artist
was permanently engaged, and passed his whole life in the service of one
Prince; while in other cases famous illuminators were hired for a few
months or years, when the patron wanted a specially magnificent manuscript
either for his own use, or as a royal gift on the occasion of a marriage, a
coronation or other great event.

_Women artists._

In some cases, we find that women learnt to be manuscript illuminators of
great skill and artistic taste. For example Cornelia, the wife of Gérard
David of Bruges[230], was, like her husband, both an illuminator of
manuscripts and a painter of altar retables. A fine triptych painted by
Cornelia, in the possession of Mr H. Willett of Brighton, is a work of
great beauty and refinement, which it would be difficult to distinguish
from a painting by Gérard David himself.

_Costly gifts._

In the fifteenth century the commercial value of sumptuously illuminated
manuscripts rose to the highest point. No object was thought more suited
for a magnificent wedding present to a royal personage than a costly
manuscript[231]. And large sums were often advanced by money-lenders or
pawnbrokers on the security of a fine illuminated manuscript.

[Illustration: Fig. 55. Picture by Quentin Matsys of Antwerp, showing a
lady selling or pawning an illuminated manuscript.]

_Painting by Matsys._

Fig. 55 shows a lady of the Bourgeois class negociating for the sale or
pawn of a _Book of Hours_ or some such manuscript, illuminated with a
full-page miniature of the Virgin and Child. The money-lender appears to be
weighing out to her the money. This beautiful painting which is commonly
called the "Money-changer and his wife" is signed and dated 1514 by Quentin
Massys or Matsys of Antwerp. It is now in the Louvre.

In the sixteenth century, especially in Italy, during the last decadence of
the illuminator's art, very magnificent and costly manuscripts were
produced by professional miniaturists, but these are merely monuments of
wasted labour. Some account is given at page 202 of Giulio Clovio, the most
skilful though tasteless miniaturist of his age.

_Accounts of St George's, Windsor._

Mr J. W. Clark, the Registrary of the University of Cambridge, has procured
and kindly allows me to print the following very interesting record of the
cost of writing and illuminating certain manuscripts during the fourteenth
century. The extract is taken from the manuscript records of the expenses
of the Collegiate Church of St George at Windsor. The date is approximately
given by the fact that John Prust was a Canon of Windsor from 1379 to 1385.

"Compotus Johannis Prust de diuersis libris per eum factis videlicet j
Antiphonarium, j Textus Evangelij, j Martilogium, iij Processionalia.

  In primis onerat se de x li. vj s. viij d. receptis de Ricardo
      Shawe per Indenturam.

  Item onerat se de xx s. receptis de corpore prebende Edmundi

  Item onerat se de l s. receptis de dicto Edmundo pro officio
      suo videlicet Precentoris.

                           Summa totalis receptorum xiij li. xvj s. viij d.

  In xix quaternionibus pergamenti vituli emptis pro libro
      Euangelij precio quaternionis viij d.                  xij s. viij d.

  Item solutum pro uno botello ad imponendum Incaustum                 x d.

  Item solutum pro incausto                                        xiiij d.

  Item pro vermulione                                                 ix d.

  Item pro communibus scriptoris pro xviij^o. septimanis solutum
      per septimanam x d.                                             xv s.

  Item pro stipendio dicti scriptoris per idem tempus       xiij s. iiij d.

  Item solutum Ade Acton ad notandum "Liber generacionis"
      et "Passion[es]" in dicto libro[232]                          viij d.

  Item pro examinacione et ad faciendum literas capitales
      gloucas [for glaucas]                                          iij s.

  Item pro illuminacione dicti libri                         iij s. iiij d.

  Item pro ligacione dicti libri                             iij s. iiij d.

  Item auri fabro pro operacione sua                                  xx s.

  Item in uno equo conducto pro Petro Jon per ij vices London
      pro dicto libro portando et querendo                          viij d.

  Item pro expensis dicti Petri per ij vices                          xj d.

                        Summa lxxv s. viij d.

  Item in vij quaternionibus pergamenti vituli emptis pro libro
      Martilogij precio quaternionis viij d.                iiij s. viij d.
                                               et non plures quia staur[o].

  Item pro scriptura xij quaternionum precio quaternionis
      xv d.                                                           xv s.

  Item pro illuminacione dicti libri                              v s. x d.

  Item pro ligacione dicti libri                                ij s. ij d.

  Item ad faciendum literas capitales gloucas                       viij d.

                        Summa xxviij s. iiij d.

  Item in xxxiiij quaternionibus pergamenti vituli emptis pro
      vno Anthiphonario precio quaternionis xv d.             xlij s. vj d.

  Item xij quaterniones de stauro

  Item pro scriptura xl. quaternionum pro nota precio quaternionis
      xv d.                                                            l s.

  Item pro scriptura vj quaternionum de phalterio[233] precio quaternionis
      ij s. ij d.                                                   xiij s.

  Item ad notandum antiphonas in phalterio                            vj d.

  Item ad notandum xl. quaterniones pro antiphonis precio
      vj d.                                                           xx s.

  Item ad faciendum literas capitales gloucas                        xij d.

  Item pro illuminacione                                        xv s. xj d.

  Item pro ligacione                                                   v s.

                        Summa vij li. vij s. xj d.

  Item in xlvj quaternionibus pergamenti multonis emptis pro
      iij libris processionalium precio quaternionis ij d. ob.
                                                               ix s. vij d.

  Item pro scriptura dictarum xlvj quaternionum                       xv s.

  Item ad notandum dictas quaterniones                         vij s. vj d.

  Item pro illuminacione                                        ij s. ix d.

  Item pro ligacione                                            ij s. vj d.

                        Summa xxxvij s. iiij d.

                        Summa Totalis Expensarum xiiij li. ix s. iij d.
                        Et sic debentur computanter xij s. vij d.
                        probatur per auditores quos r[ecepit] de
                        Ricardo Shawe tunc precentore. Et sic

From these accounts we learn that six manuscripts were written, illuminated
and bound, one of them with gold or silver clasps or bosses, at a total
cost of £14. 9_s._ 3_d._, more than £150 in modern value.

The books were a _Textus_ or _Evangeliarium_, a _Martyrologium_, an
_Antiphonale_ and three _Processionals_.

                                                                  £  s.  d.

  The _Evangeliarium_ was written on 19 _quaternions_
  (quires)[234] of vellum, costing 8_d._ each, total                12    8

      Black ink                                                      1    2

      A bottle to hold the ink                                           10

      Vermilion                                                           9

      The scribe's "commons" (food) for eighteen
          weeks                                                     15    0

      Payment to the scribe                                         13    4

      Corrections and adding coloured initials                       3    0

      Illumination                                                   3    4

      Binding                                                        3    4

      Goldsmith's work (on the binding)                         1    0    0

      Two journeys to London and other smaller
          items, making a total of £3. 15_s._ 8_d._

  The _Martyrologium_ was partly written on 7
  quaternions of vellum[235], costing 8_d._ each  quaternion         4    8

      Payment to the scribe                                         15    0

      Illumination                                                   5   10

      Binding                                                        2    2

      Coloured initials                                                   8
                                                        Total   1    8    4

  The _Antiphonale_ was written on 34 quaternions
  of larger and more expensive sheets of
  vellum, costing 15_d._ a quaternion[236]                      2    2    6

      Payments to the scribe                                    3    3    0

      Adding the musical notation                               1    0    6

      Coloured initials                                              1    0

      Illumination                                                  15   11

      Binding                                                        5    0
                                                        Total   7    7   11

The three _Processionals_ only cost £1. 17_s._ 4_d._, being written on 46
quaternions of cheap parchment made of sheep-skin which cost only 2½_d._
the quaternion.

_Accounts of St Ewen's, Bristol._

The following extracts from the Parish accounts of the Church of St Ewen,
in Bristol[237], give some details as to the cost of writing, illuminating
and binding a manuscript _Lectionary_ during the years 1469 and 1470. The
total expense is £3. 4_s._ 1_d._, quite equal to £20 in modern value.


  "Item, for j dossen and v quayers of vellom to perform
      the legend [i.e. to write the lectionary on]                 x^s vj^d

  Item, for wrytyng of the same                                       xxv^s

  Item, for ix skynnys and j quayer of velom to the same
      legend                                                       v^s vj^d

  Item, for wrytyng of the forseyd legend                       iiij^s ij^d


  Item for a red Skynne to kever the legent                             v^d

  Also for the binding and correcting of the
      seid Boke                                                         v^s

  Also for the lumining of the seid legent                      xiij^s vj^d



_Finest vellum._

_Vellum for scribes[238]._ The most remarkable skill is shown by the
perfection to which the art of preparing vellum[239] for the scribe was
brought. The exquisitely thin uterine vellum, which was specially used for
the minutely written Anglo-Norman _Vulgates_ of the thirteenth century, has
been already described; see page 113. For ivory-like beauty of colour and
texture nothing could surpass the best Italian vellum of the fifteenth

One occasional use of the very thin uterine vellum should be noted. For
example in a German twelfth century copy of the _Vulgate_, now in the
Corpus library in Cambridge, some of the miniature pictures have been
painted on separate pieces of uterine vellum, and then pasted into their
place on the thicker vellum pages of the manuscript. This, however, is an
exceptional thing.

_High price of vellum._

The vellum used for illuminated manuscripts appears to have been costly,
partly on account of the skill and labour that were required for its
production, and, in the case of uterine vellum on account of the great
number of animals' skins that were required to provide enough material for
the writing of a single manuscript such as a copy of the _Vulgate_.

_Cost of vellum._

Even the commoner kind of parchment used for official documents was rather
a costly thing. The roll with the Visitation expenses of Bishop Swinfield,
Bishop of Hereford from 1282 to 1317, shows that 150 sheets of parchment
cost 3_s._ 4_d._, about £4 in modern value[240].

The vellum used for manuscripts has a different texture on its two sides.
One side, that on which the hair grew, has a _mat_, unglossy surface; the
other (interior) side of the skin is perfectly smooth and, in the case of
the finest vellum, has a beautifully glossy texture like that of polished

In writing a manuscript the scribe was careful to arrange his pages so that
two glossy and two dull pages came opposite each other[241].

_Bad modern vellum._

The art of preparing vellum of the finest kind is now lost; the vellum made
in England is usually spoilt first by rubbing down the surface to make it
unnaturally even, and then by loading it with a sort of priming of plaster
and white lead, very much like the paper of a cheap memorandum book.

The best modern _vellum_ is still made in Italy, especially in Rome. Good,
stout, undoctored vellum of a fine, pure colour can be procured in Rome,
though in limited quantities, and at a high price[242], but nothing is now
made which resembles either the finest ivory-textured vellum of fifteenth
century Italian manuscripts, or the exquisitely thin uterine vellum of the
Anglo-Norman Bibles.

_Use of paper._

_Paper[243]._ Though by far the majority of the illuminated manuscripts of
the Middle Ages are written on vellum, yet paper was occasionally used,
long before the fifteenth century, when its manufacture was largely
developed to supply the demand created by the invention of printing.

Paper made from the papyrus pith has been already described, see Chap. II.
page 22.

_Mode of making paper._

A very different process was used for the various kinds of paper which were
made in mediaeval and modern times. The essence of the process consists in
making a fine pulp of cotton or linen rags by long-continued pounding with
water sufficient to give the mixture the consistency of thick cream. A
handful of this fluid pulp is then spread evenly and thinly over the bottom
of a fine wire sieve, through which the superfluous water drains away,
leaving a thin, soft mass which is then turned out of the sieve, pressed,
dried and finally soaked with size to make the paper fit to write on. This
process leaves the wire-marks of the sieve indelibly printed on to the

These marks are of two kinds, _first_, those of the stouter wires which run
longitudinally along the sieve at intervals of about an inch or a little
more, and _secondly_, very fine cross wires, placed close together, and
woven in at right angles to the first-mentioned stouter wires.


In the fourteenth century what are called _water-marks_ came into use,
together with the invention of linen paper. Some simple device indicating
the city or province where the paper was made was woven with fine wire into
the bottom of the sieve, and this mark was impressed upon the paper, like
that of the other (parallel) wires of the sieve. A double-headed eagle, a
vase, a letter or a bull's head are among the earliest paper-marks which
occur in manuscripts and books of the fifteenth century[244]. In later
times, during the sixteenth century, each manufacturer adopted his own
mark[245]; and then still more recently the year-date has been added[246].

_Evidence of date._

These paper-marks in some cases afford useful evidence as to the origin and
date of a manuscript or printed book; but too much reliance should not be
placed on such evidence, since paper often remained for a long time in
stock, and the productions of one manufactory were frequently exported for
use by the scribes and printers of more than one distant country[247].

Paper of Oriental make has no water-mark, but the earliest linen-paper of
the fourteenth century made in Christian Europe always has a water-mark of
some kind, very clearly visible.

_Earliest cotton paper._

_The dates of paper manufacture._ The earliest paper appears to have been
made in China at a date even before the Christian Era. Its manufacture was
next extended in Syria, and especially to Damascus[248]. This early paper
was made of the cotton-plant, the "tree-wool" of Herodotus. Hence it was
called _charta bombycina_ or _Damascena_, or, from its silky texture,
_charta serica_. Paper of this class, almost as beautiful in texture as
vellum, is still made in the East and used for the fine illuminated
manuscripts of India, Persia and other Moslem countries.

_Arab MSS. on paper._

Many Arab manuscripts written on cotton-paper of as early a date as the
ninth century still exist. The Moslem conquerors of Spain and Sicily
introduced the manufacture of this _charta bombycina_ into western Europe,
and to some small extent it was used for Greek and Latin manuscripts during
the tenth and eleventh centuries. It was, however, rarely used in Christian
Europe till the thirteenth century.


At first cotton only was used in the manufacture of paper, but gradually a
mixture first of wool and then of flax or linen was introduced.

Peter, who was Abbot of Cluny from 1122 to 1150, in his treatise _Adversus
Judaeos_ mentions manuscripts written on wool-paper, made "ex rasuris
veterum pannorum."

_Linen paper._

In the fourteenth century linen-paper began to be made; at first mixed with
wool, and then of pure linen. This fourteenth century paper is
distinguishable by its stoutness, its close texture, and its thick
wire-marks; the water-mark being especially clear and transparent. Paper
was frequently used for official documents, charters and the like before it
came into use for manuscript books[249].

_Early MS. on paper._

The British Museum possesses one of the oldest known books on paper
(_Arundel Manuscripts_, 268); this is a collection of _Astronomical
treatises_ written by an Italian scribe early in the thirteenth century.

In the fourteenth century the Spanish manufactories of _cotton_-paper were
on the decline, and the first manufactory of _linen_-paper was started at
Fabriano in northern Italy. In 1340 another manufactory was set up in
Padua, and before the close of the fourteenth century paper was made in
nearly all the chief cities of northern Italy, especially in Milan and
Venice, and as far south as Florence and Siena.

In Germany paper-making began in Mentz in about 1320; and in 1390 a
manufactory was started at Nuremberg with the aid of Italian workmen. South
Germany, however, was supplied with paper from northern Italy till the
fifteenth century.

In Paris and other places in France paper began to be made soon after the
first manufactories in Italy were started.

_Paper in England._

In England cotton-paper, especially for legal documents, was largely used
in the fourteenth century. In Oxford, in the year 1355, a quire of paper,
small folio size, cost five pence, equal in modern value to eight or nine
shillings. In the fifteenth century its value had decreased to three pence
or four pence the quire.

Paper does not appear to have been made in England till the reign of Henry
VII.; before that time it was mainly imported from Germany and the

_Earliest English paper._

All Caxton's books are printed on foreign paper, and the first book printed
on paper which was made in England was Wynkyn de Worde's Bartholomaeus, _De
proprietatibus rerum_, printed about the year 1495, four years after
Caxton's death, with the following interesting _colophon_, which alludes to
the first paper manufactory in England, set up by John Tate at Hertford.

This _colophon_, which does not do credit to Wynkyn de Worde's literary
style, runs thus:

  And also of your charyte call to remembraunce
  The soule of William Caxton first prynter of this boke
  In laten tongue at Coleyn hymself to auance
  That every wel disyosyd man may theron loke
  And John Tate the yonger joye mote he broke
  Whiche late hathe in Englond doo make this paper thynne
  That now in our englyssh this boke is prynted inne.

During the fifteenth century the making of paper reached its highest degree
of perfection, and in the following century its excellence began to

_Beauty of Venetian paper._

The Venetian paper of about 1470, used, for example, in the printed books
of Nicolas Jenson and other printers in Venice, is a substance of very
great beauty and durability, inferior only in appearance to the very best
sort of vellum. It is very strong, of a fine creamy tint, and sized[250]
with great skill, so as to have a beautiful glossy texture. For the
illuminator's purpose it appears to have been almost as good as vellum. It
even receives the raised mordant for burnished gold of the highest beauty
and brilliance.

The very small quantity of good paper that is now manufactured, mainly for
artistic purposes, is made by hand in exactly the same way that was
employed in the fourteenth or fifteenth century.

Most paper is now made by machinery, and as a rule contains more esparto
grass than pure linen fibre.


_Fluid and leaf gold._

_Gold and silver or tin._ The splendour of illuminated manuscripts of
almost all classes, except manuscripts of the Irish school such as the
_Book of Kells_, is largely due to the very skilful use of gold and silver.
These metals were applied by the illuminator in two ways, _first_, as a
fluid pigment, and _secondly_ in the form of leaf.

The fluid method appears to have been the older. It is easier to apply, but
is not comparable in splendour of effect to the highly burnished leaf gold,
which was used with such perfection of skill by the illuminators of the
fourteenth century.

_Method of grinding._

_Fluid gold_ was made by laboriously grinding the pure metal on a porphyry
slab into the finest possible powder. This powdered gold, mixed with water
and a little size, was applied with a brush like any other pigment; see
Theophilus, I. 30 to 33[252]. When dry, it could be to some extent polished
by burnishing, but as it was laid directly on to the comparatively uneven
and yielding surface of the vellum it never received a very high polish. As
a rule therefore fluid gold was left unburnished, and its surface remained
dull or _mat_ in appearance.

_Dull and burnished gold._

For this reason it was not unfrequently used in conjunction with burnished
leaf gold, a fine decorative effect being produced by the contrast of the
_mat_ and polished surfaces. Thus, for example, in fourteenth and fifteenth
century manuscripts a delicate diaper of scroll pattern is sometimes
painted with a fine brush over a ground of burnished gold leaf.

In the fifteenth century, during the decadence of the illuminator's art,
the use of fluid gold, which had previously greatly diminished, was much
revived, especially for the background of the realistic borders in Flemish
manuscripts[253], for touching in the high lights of miniatures, and for
many other purposes. When used to cover large surfaces, it is always
unsatisfactory in effect and has little decorative value.

_Cistercian severity._

The preparation of this gold pigment was a very slow and laborious matter.
The severe Cistercian rule regarded this process as a waste of precious
time; and indeed the use of gold in any form was prohibited in the
manuscripts used in Cistercian Abbeys. In the dialogue between a Cistercian
and a Cluniac monk, _De diversis utriusque ordinis observantiis_ (_Thesaur.
Nov. Anecdot._ Vol. V. 1623), the Cistercian asks "what use there can be in
grinding gold and painting large capitals with it"; _aurum molere et cum
illo molito magnas capitales pingere litteras, quid est nisi inutile et
otiosum opus_? St Bernard himself had an even stronger objection, not only
to gold in manuscripts, but to any ornaments with grotesque dragons and
monsters, on the ground that they did not tend to edification.

_Fluid silver._

_Fluid silver_ was prepared and applied in the same way, but it was much
less used than gold pigment. A very beautiful effect is produced in some of
the gorgeous Carolingian manuscripts by using in the same ornament both
gold and silver, which mutually enhance each other's effect by contrast of

_Leaf gold._
_Mordant ground._

_Burnished Gold leaf._ The extraordinary splendour of effect produced by
skilfully applied gold leaf depends mainly on the fact that it was laid,
not directly on to the vellum, but on to a thick bed of a hard enamel-like
substance, which gradually set (as it got dry) and formed a ground nearly
as hard and smooth as glass; this enabled the gold leaf laid upon it to be
burnished to the highest possible polish, till in fact the gold gave a
reflexion like that of a mirror. This enamel-like ground, or _mordant_ as
it was called, was commonly as thick as stout cardboard, and its edges were
rounded off, which has the double result of making the gold leaf laid upon
it look not like a thin leaf, but like a thick plate of gold[254], and at
the same time the rounded edges catch the light and so greatly increase the
decorative splendour of the metal.

_Convex surface._

Thus, for example, the little bosses and studs of gold, which are strewn so
thickly among the foliage in the illuminated borders of Italian manuscripts
of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, are convex in shape, like an
old-fashioned watch-glass, and each boss reflects a brilliant speck of
light whatever the direction may be in which the light falls upon the page.
Perhaps the most sumptuous use of gold leaf is to be seen in some of the
early fourteenth century French manuscripts, in which large miniatures are
painted with an unbroken background of solid-looking burnished gold, with a
mirror-like power of reflexion.

It was only by slow degrees that the illuminators reached the perfect
technical skill of the fourteenth century in their application of gold

_Purity of the gold._

In the first place the purest gold had to be beaten out, not the alloy of
gold, silver and copper which now is used for making the gold leaf of what
is called "the finest quality." The English illuminators at the close of
the thirteenth and in the fourteenth century frequently got their gold in
the form of the beautiful florins of Florence, Lucca[255] or Pisa, which
were struck of absolutely pure gold[256]. In England there was no gold
coinage till the series of _nobles_ was begun by Edward III.[257], but
these were of quite pure gold, like the Italian florins, and so answered
the purpose of the illuminator.

Another important point was that the gold leaf was not beaten to one
twentieth part of the extreme tenuity of the modern leaf. The leaves were
very small, about three by four inches at the most, and not more than from
fifty to a hundred of these were made out of the gold ducat of Italy, which
weighed nearly as much as a modern sovereign[258].

In many cases, we find, the illuminator prepared his own gold leaf, and it
was not uncommon for the crafts of the goldsmith and the illuminator to be
practised by the same man. For example the Fitz-Othos, mentioned at page
112 as a distinguished Anglo-Norman family of artists in the thirteenth
century, were skilful both as makers of gold shrines and as illuminators of
manuscripts. Many interesting notes about the Fitz-Othos and other artists
employed at Westminster during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries are
to be found among the royal accounts now preserved in the Record Office:
see _Vetusta Monumenta_, Vol. VI., p. 1 seq.

Among the accounts of the expenses of decorating with painting the royal
chapel of Saint Stephen at Westminster in Edward III.'s reign, we find that
John Lightgrave paid for six hundred leaves of gold at the rate of five
shillings the hundred, equal to about £5 or £6 in modern value. And John
"Tynbeter" received six shillings for six dozen leaves of tin used instead
of silver, not because it was cheap, but because tin was not so liable to

These accounts are in Latin, which is not always of Ciceronian purity; a
classical purist might perhaps carp at such phrases as these,

_Item. Pro reparatione brushorum_, viij^d, under the date 1307; and, in the
following year,

_Item. Unum scarletum blanketum_, ij^s vij^d.

The scarlet blanket was not bought to keep the artist warm, but to make a
red pigment from, as is described below at page 246.

_Goldsmith artists._

This close connection between the arts of the goldsmith and the illuminator
had its parallel in other branches of the arts, and with results of very
considerable importance. Many of the chief painters and sculptors of Italy,
during the period of highest artistic development, were also skilful
goldsmiths, as for example Ghiberti, Verrocchio, Ant. Pollaiuolo, Francesco
Francia and many others.

This habit of manipulating the precious metals gave neatness and precision
of touch to the painter, and in the art of illuminating manuscripts taught
the artist to use his gold so as to produce the richest and most decorative

_The gold mordant._

_The mordant._ We now come to the most difficult part of the illuminator's
art, that of producing a ground for his gold leaf of the highest hardness
and smoothness of surface. It is a subject dealt with at much length by all
the chief writers on the technique of the illuminator, from Theophilus in
the eleventh century, down to Cennino Cennini at the beginning of the

Though differing in details, the general principle of the process is much
the same in all; the finest possible sort of _gesso_, plaster, gypsum or
whitening, was very finely ground to an impalpable powder, and then worked
up with albumen or size to the consistency of cream, so that it could be
applied with a brush. After the first coat was dry, a second and a third
coat were added to bring up the mordant to the requisite thickness of body,
so that it stood out in visible relief upon the surface of the vellum.

In order that the illuminator might see clearly where his brush was going,
and keep his mordant accurately within the required outline, it was usual
to add some colouring matter, such as bole Armeniac (red ochre), to the
white _gesso_, which otherwise would not have shown out very clearly on the
cream-white vellum. In many cases, however, this colouring matter is

_Application of leaf._

When the last coat of the _gesso-mordant_ was dry and hard, its surface was
carefully polished with the burnisher and it was then ready to receive the
gold leaf; several days' waiting would often be required before the whole
body of the mordant had set perfectly hard. White of egg was then lightly
brushed over the whole of the raised mordant, and while the albumen was
still moist and sticky, the illuminator gently slid on to it the piece of
gold leaf, which he had previously cut approximately to the required shape.
He then softly dabbed the gold leaf with a pad or bunch of wool, till it
had completely adhered to the sticky mordant, working it with special care
so as completely to cover the rounded edges. After the albumen was quite
dry, and the gold leaf firmly fixed in its place, the artist brushed away
with a stiff brush all the superfluous gold leaf; all the leaf, that is,
under which there was no mordant-ground to hold it fast.

_Burnishing process._

The gold was then ready to be polished. For this purpose various forms of
burnisher were used, the best being a hard highly polished rounded pencil
of crystal or stone, such as haematite, agate, chalcedony and the like; or
in lack of those, the highly enamelled tooth of a dog, cat, rat or other
carnivorous animal was nearly as good[260]. In fact patience and labour
were the chief requisites; one receipt, in Jehan le Begue's manuscript, §
192[261], directs the illuminator to burnish and to go on burnishing till
the sweat runs down his forehead. But caution, as well as labour, was
required; it was very easy to scratch holes in the gold leaf, so that the
mordant showed through, unless great care was used in the rubbing. In that
case the illuminator had to apply another piece of leaf to cover up the
scratches, and do his burnishing over again. To secure the highest polish,
illuminators burnished the hard mordant as described above before laying on
the gold leaf. In most cases two layers of gold leaf were applied, and
sometimes even more, in order to insure a perfect and unbroken surface.

_Application of gold._

All writers speak of this burnishing as being a very difficult and
uncertain process even to a skilled hand, requiring exactly the right
temperature and amount of moisture in the air, or else it was liable to go
wrong. If the gold was to be applied in minute or intricate patterns the
illuminator did not attempt to cut his leaf to fit the mordant-ground, but
laid it in little patches so as to cover a portion of the ornament. The
superfluous gold between the lines of the pattern was then brushed away, as
the leaf only remained where it was held by the mordant. With all possible
care and skill, it was hardly possible always to ensure a sharp clean
outline to each patch of gold; and so one commonly finds that the
illuminator has added a black outline round the edge of each patch of gold,
in order to conceal any little raggedness of the edge.

_Receipts for the mordant._

As examples of mediaeval receipts for making the mordant I may mention the

"Mix gypsum, white marble, and egg-shells finely powdered and coloured with
red ochre or _terra verde_; to be mixed with white of egg and applied in
thin coats, and to be burnished before the application of the gold." When
dry, this mixture slowly set into a beautiful, hard and yet not brittle
substance, capable of receiving a polish like that of marble, and forming
the best possible ground to receive the gold leaf. Much of its excellence
depended on the patience of the illuminator in applying it in very thin
coats; each of which was allowed to dry completely before the next was laid
on. When ready to receive the gold leaf, after the burnishing of the
mordant was finished, some purified white of egg was brushed over to make
the gold leaf adhere firmly so as not to work loose or tear under the
friction of the burnisher.

_Receipts for the mordant._

In some cases white lead (_ceruse_) was added to the _gesso_, as, for
example, in a receipt, given by Cennino Cennini (§ 131 to 139, and 157,)
for a mordant made of fine gypsum, ceruse and sugar of Candia, that is
ordinary pure white sugar[262]. This is to be ground up with white of egg,
applied in thin coats and burnished. To colour the mordant Cennino adds
_bole Armeniac_, or _terra verde_, or verdigris green.

Giovanni da Modena, a Bolognese illuminator, gives the following receipt
for a different gold-mordant to be used with oil instead of albumen or
size[263]. Instead of _gesso_ it is to be made of a mixture of white and
red lead, red ochre, bole Armeniac and verdigris; the whole is to be ground
first with water, then thoroughly dried, and again ground up with a mixture
of linseed oil and amber or mastic varnish.

This variety of mordant appears to have been used in a good many fifteenth
century Italian manuscripts. It is not such a good mixture as the _gesso_
and white of egg, as the oil used to mix with it is liable to stain the
vellum through to the other side of the page, and even to print off a mark
on the opposite page, especially when the book has been severely pressed by
the binder.

_Tooled patterns._
_Stamped patterns._

_Tooled patterns on gold leaf._  In many Italian and French manuscripts,
especially of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, a very rich and
brilliant effect is produced with tooled lines impressed into the surface
of the flat gold. Diapered and scroll-work backgrounds, the nimbi of
Saints, the orphreys and apparels on vestments, and many other kinds of
decoration were skilfully executed with a pointed bone or ivory tool,
impressed upon the gold leaf after it was burnished, and through the gold
into the slightly elastic body of the _gesso-mordant_. Patterns were also
produced by the help of minute punches, which stamped dots or circles;
these, when grouped together, formed little rosettes or powderings, like
those used in the panel paintings of the same time. Gold treated in this
way had to be of considerable thickness, and in some cases, when a large
flat surface of mordant was to be gilt, as many as three layers of stout
gold leaf were employed to give the requisite body of metal.

_Silver leaf._

_Burnished silver leaf_ was occasionally used by the mediaeval
illuminators, though not very often, as it was very liable to tarnish and
blacken. For this reason _leaf tin_ was not unfrequently used instead of
silver, as tin does not oxydize in such a conspicuous way; see above, p.

The use of all three metals, gold, silver and tin, is described by
Theophilus, _Schedula diversarum Artium_, I. 24, 25 and 26. Theophilus
speaks of laying the gold leaf directly on to the vellum with the help only
of white of egg. This method was not uncommon in early times, and it was
not till the end of the thirteenth century that the full splendour of
effect was reached by the help of the thick, hard mordant-ground.

_Cheap methods._

Inferior processes were sometimes used for the cheap manuscripts of later
times. Thus tin leaf burnished and then covered with a transparent yellow
lacquer or varnish made from saffron was used instead of gold.

Cennino and other writers describe a curious method of applying gold easily
and cheaply. The illuminator was first to paint his design with a mixture
of size and pounded glass or crystal; this, when dry, left a surface like
modern sandpaper or glass-paper, the artist was then to rub a bit of pure
gold over the rough surface, which ground off and held a sufficient amount
of gold to produce the effect of gilding. Only a very coarse effect, worthy
of the nineteenth century, could have been produced by this process.



_Vehicles used._

_The coloured pigments of the illuminators._ Though mediaeval manuscripts
are splendid and varied in colour to the highest possible degree, yet all
this wealth of decorative effect was produced by a very few pigments, and
with the simplest of _media_, such as _size_ made by boiling down shreds of
vellum or fish-bones[264], or else gum-arabic, or occasionally white of egg
or a mixture both of the yoke and the white[265]. In the main the technique
of manuscript illumination is the same as that of panel pictures executed
in distemper (_tempera_). An oil medium was unsuited to manuscript work
because the oil spoilt the beautiful opaque whiteness of the vellum and
made the painting show through to the other side[266].

_Ultramarine blue._

_Blue pigments._ The most important blue pigment, both during classical and
mediaeval times, was the costly and very beautiful _ultramarine_
(_azzurrum[267] transmarinum_), which was made from _lapis lazuli_, a
mineral chiefly imported from Persia. This _ultramarine_ blue was the
_cyanus_ or _coeruleum_ of Theophrastus and Pliny. It is not only the most
magnificent of all blue pigments, but is also the most durable, even when
exposed to light for a very long period.

_Its manufacture._

The general principle of the manufacture of ultramarine is very simple;
consisting merely in grinding the _lapis lazuli_ to powder, and then
separating, by repeated washing, the deep blue particles from the rest of
the stone[268]. The process of extracting the blue was made easier if the
_lapis lazuli_ was first calcined by heat. This is the modern method, and
was occasionally done in mediaeval times, but it injures the depth and
brilliance of the pigment, and in the finest manuscripts ultramarine was
used which had been prepared by the better though more laborious process
without the aid of heat.

_Its great value._

The proportion of pure blue in a lump of _lapis lazuli_ is much smaller
than it looks; the stone was and is rare and costly, and thus the finest
ultramarine of the mediaeval painters was often worth considerably more
than double its weight in gold[269].

Both in classical and mediaeval times it was usual for the patron who had
ordered a picture to supply the necessary _ultramarine_ to the artist, who
was only expected to provide the less costly pigments in return for the sum
for which he had contracted to execute the work.

_Method of theft._

Pliny (_Hist. Nat._ XXXIII. 120) tells a story of a trick played by a
painter on his employer, who suspiciously watched the artist to see that he
did not abstract any of the precious _ultramarine_ which had been doled out
to him. At frequent intervals the painter washed his brush, dipped in the
ultramarine, in a vessel of water; the heavy pigment sank to the bottom,
and at the end of the day the artist poured off the water and secured the
mass of powdered ultramarine at the bottom.

It is interesting to note that Vasari, in his _life of Perugino_, tells
precisely this story about Pietro, who was annoyed at the suspicions
expressed by a certain Prior for whom he was painting a fresco[270]. The
Prior was in despair at the enormous amount of pigment that the thirsty
wall sucked in, and he was agreeably surprised when, at the conclusion of
the work, Perugino returned to him a large quantity of _ultramarine_, as a
lesson that he should not suspect a gentleman of being a thief.

_Ultramarine scraped off._

The library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, possesses a manuscript
which affords a curious proof of the great value of ultramarine to the
mediaeval illuminator. This is a magnificent copy of the _Vulgate_ by a
German scribe of the twelfth century, copiously illustrated with miniature
pictures, many of which had backgrounds, either partially or wholly,
covered with ultramarine. All through the book the ultramarine has in
mediaeval times been very carefully and completely scraped off, no doubt
for use in another manuscript. This theft has been accomplished with such
skill that wonderfully little injury has been done to the beautiful
illuminations, except, of course, the loss of splendour caused by the
abstraction of the ultramarine.


In illuminated manuscripts _ultramarine_ is very freely used. It is
specially noticeable for the thick body (_impasto_) in which it is applied,
so as very often to stand out in visible relief. The reason of this is that
this, and some other blue pigments, lose much of their depth of colour if
they are ground into very fine powder. Hence both the ultramarine and
_smalto_ blues are always applied in comparatively coarse grained powder;
and this of course necessitates the application of a thick body of colour.

_Ancient cyanus._

_Smalto blues._ Next in importance to the real ultramarine come the
artificial _smalto_ or "_enamel_" blues, which were used largely in Egypt
at a very early date under the name of artificial _cyanus_; see Pliny,
_Hist. Nat._ XXXVII. 119. Among the Greeks and Romans too this was a
pigment of great importance, and when skilfully made is but little inferior
in beauty to the natural ultramarine.

_Vitreous pigment._

_Smalto blue_ is simply a powdered blue glass or vitreous enamel, coloured
with an oxide or carbonate of copper. Vitruvius (VII. xi. 1) describes the
method of making it by fusing in a crucible the materials for ordinary
bottle-glass, mixed with a quantity of copper filings. The alcaline
silicate of the glass frit acts upon the copper, which slowly combines with
the glass, giving it a deep blue colour. The addition of a little oxide of
tin turns it into an opaque blue enamel, which when cold was broken up with
a hammer, and then powdered, but not too finely, in a mortar.

Smalto blue is largely used for the simple blue initials which alternate
with red ones in an immense number of manuscripts. The glittering particles
of the powdered glass can easily be distinguished by a minute examination.
Like the ultramarine, the smalto blue is always applied in a thick layer.

The monk Theophilus (II. 12), who wrote during a period of some artistic
and technical decadence, the eleventh century, advises the glass-painter
who wants a good blue to search among some ancient Roman ruins for the fine
coloured _tesserae_ of glass mosaics, which were so largely used by the
Romans to decorate their walls and vaults, and then to pound them for use.

_German blue._

_Azzurro Tedesco_ or _Azzurro della Magna_, German blue, was much used by
the illuminators as a cheap substitute for ultramarine. This appears to
have been a native compound of carbonate of copper of a brilliant blue
colour. It was occasionally used to adulterate the costly ultramarine, but
this fraud was easily discovered by heating a small quantity of the pigment
on the blade of a knife; it underwent no change if it was pure; but if
adulterated with _Azzurro della Magna_ it showed signs of blackening[271].


_Indigo blue._ The above-mentioned blues are all of a mineral character,
and are durable under almost any circumstances. To some extent however the
vegetable _indigo_ blue was also used for manuscript illuminations, both
alone and also to make a compound purple colour.

_Method of using dyes._

Colours of all kinds prepared from vegetable or animal substances required
a special treatment to fit them for use as pigments in solid or _tempera_
painting. Though indigo and other colours of a similar class are the best
and simplest of dyes for woven stuffs, yet they are too thin in body to use
alone as pigments. Thus both in classical and mediaeval times these
dye-pigments were prepared by making a small quantity of white earth,
powdered chalk or the like absorb a large quantity of the thin dye, which
thus was brought into a concentrated and solid, opaque form, not a mere
stain as it would otherwise have been.

These kinds of pigments are described by Pliny, _Hist. Nat._ XXXV. 44 and
46; and by Vitruvius, VII. xiv. Eraclius in his work on technique, _De
artibus Romanorum_, calls them _colores infectivi_, "dyed colours," an
accurately expressive phrase.

One method, occasionally used for the cheaper class of manuscripts, was to
paint on to the vellum with white lead, and then to colour it by repeated
application of a brush dipped in the thin dye-pigment. Many of the colours
mentioned below belong to this class.

_Terra verde._

_Green pigments._ A fine soft green much used in early manuscripts is a
natural earthy pigment called _terra verde_ or green _Verona earth_. This
needs little preparation, except washing, and is of the most durable kind;
it is a kind of ochre, coloured, not with iron, but by the natural presence
of copper.

_Verdigris green._

A much more brilliant green pigment was made of _verdigris_ (_verderame_)
or carbonate of copper, produced very easily by moistening metallic copper
with vinegar or by exposing it to the fumes of acetic acid in a closed
earthen vessel; see Theophilus, I. 37.

_Verdigris green_ was much used by manuscript illuminators, especially
during the fifteenth century, when a very unpleasant harsh and gaudy green
appears to have been popular. When softened by an admixture of white
pigment, verdigris gives a pleasanter and softer colour.


A native carbonate of copper, which was called by the Romans
_chrysocolla_[272], was also used for mediaeval manuscripts. It is,
however, harsh in tint if not tempered with white. Both the last-named
pigments were specially used with yoke of egg as a medium.

_Prasinum_, a vegetable green made by staining powdered chalk with the
green of the leek, was sometimes used.

Cennino Cennini also recommends a grass green made by mixing orpiment
(sulphuret of arsenic) and indigo.

One of the best and most commonly used greens was made by a mixture of
smalto blue and yellow ochre; other mixtures were also used.

_Red pigments._ Red and blue are by far the most important of the colours
used in illuminated manuscripts, and it is wonderful to see what variety of
effect is often produced by the use of these two colours only.

_Vermilion and minium._

The chief red pigments used by illuminators are vermilion (_cinnabar_ or
sulphuret of mercury) and red lead (_minium_), from which the words
_miniator_ and _miniature_ were derived, as is explained above at page

Both these pigments are very brilliant and durable reds, the more costly
vermilion is the more beautiful of the two; it has a slightly orange tint.

_Mixed reds._

Illuminators commonly used the two colours mixed. One receipt recommends
one-third of red lead combined with two-thirds of vermilion; Jehan le
Begue's manuscript, § 177 (Mrs Merrifield's edition, Vol. I. page 141).
Vermilion was prepared by slowly heating together metallic mercury with
sulphur. Red lead (a protoxide of lead) was made by roasting white lead or
else _litharge_ (ordinary lead oxide) till it absorbed a larger proportion
of oxygen.

_Ochre reds._

_Rubrica_ or _Indian red_ was a less brilliant pigment, which also was
largely used in illuminated manuscripts, especially for headings, notes and
the like, which were hence called _rubrics_. _Rubrica_ is a fine variety of
_red ochre_, an earth naturally coloured by oxide of iron[274]; another
variety was called bole Armeniac. In classical times the _rubrica of
Sinope_ was specially valued for its fine colour.

In addition to these mineral and very permanent reds there were some more
fugitive vegetable and animal scarlets and reds which were used in
illuminated manuscripts.


_Murex._ One of these, the _murex_ shell-fish, has already been mentioned
for its use as a dye for the vellum of the magnificent Byzantine and
Carolingian gold-written manuscripts. The _murex_ was also used as a _color
infectivus_ by concentrating it on powdered chalk[275].


_Kermes._ Another very beautiful and important carmine-red pigment was made
from the little _kermes_[276] beetle (_coccus_) which lives on the ilex
oaks of Syria and the Peloponnese. It is rather like the _cochineal_ beetle
of Mexico, but produces a finer and more durable colour, especially when
used as a dye. For the woven stuffs of classical and mediaeval times, and
in the East even at the present day, the kermes is one of the most
beautiful and important of all the colours used for dyeing. The mediaeval
name for the kermes red was _rubeum de grana_; when required for use as a
pigment it appears to have been usual, not to extract the colour directly
from the beetle, but to get it out of clippings of red cloth which had been
dyed with the kermes, by boiling the cloth in a weak solution of alkali and
precipitating the red pigment from the water with the help of alum.

The reason for this method is not apparent. Possibly it was first done as a
means of utilizing waste clippings of the costly red cloth, and then, when
the habit was established, no other method was known to the colour-makers,
who in some cases bought pieces of cloth on purpose to cut them up and use
in this way[277].  The _scarletum blanketum_ mentioned at page 234 was
bought for this purpose.


_Madder-red_ was also used as a pigment by boiling the root of the
madder-plant (_rubia-tinctorium_), and then using the concentrated extract
to dye powdered chalk. Various red and purple flowers, such as the violet,
were used in the same way as _colores infectivi_.


_Lake-red_ (_lacca_ or _lac_) was made and called after a natural gum or
resin, the _lach_ of India; see Cennino Cennini, § 44.

This is a beautiful transparent colour, which, in some fine manuscripts of
the fifteenth century, is used as a transparent glaze over burnished gold,
the effect of which is very magnificent, as the metallic gleam of the gold
shines through the deep transparent red of the over-painting. Lake was also
used as an opaque, solid pigment by mixing it with white, which at once
gave it "body," and destroyed its transparency.

_Purple_ of a very magnificent tint was occasionally made by a mixture of
_ultramarine_ with the carmine-red of the kermes beetle; this was specially
used by the illuminators of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.


_Yellow ochre_, a fine earth pigment coloured by iron, was the principal
yellow of the illuminators.

In late manuscripts _orpiment_ (sulphuret of arsenic), which is a more
brilliant lemon-yellow, was occasionally used; see Cennino Cennini, § 47.

_Litharge yellow_, an oxide of lead, was another important colour, but more
especially for the painter in oil, who used it very largely as a

Another fine ochreous earth of a rich brown colour was the _terra di Siena_
or "raw Siena"; the colour of this was made warmer in tint by roasting,
thus producing "burnt Siena."

_Use of white._

_White pigments_ were perhaps the most important of all to the illuminator,
who usually only used pure colours for his deepest shadows; all lights and
half tints, both in miniature pictures and in decorative foliage, being
painted with a large admixture of white. The use of this system of
colouring by Fra Angelico and many painters of the Sienese school has been
already referred to; see page 190.

For this reason it was very important to use a pure and durable white
pigment which would combine well with other colours.

Lime white.

_Bianco di San Giovanni_ was in all respects one of the best of the whites
used by illuminators.

This was simply pure _lime-white_, made by burning the finest white marble;
the lime was then washed in abundance of pure water, then very fine ground
and finally dried in cakes of a convenient size; see Cennino Cennini, § 58;
and Theophilus, I. 19. The medium used with it was the purest size or gum
Arabic of the most colourless kind.

Another white pigment was made of powdered chalk and finely ground
egg-shells; this was a less cold white than the bianco di San Giovanni.

_White lead._

_White lead_ (_cerusa_ or _biacca_) was also used[279], especially by the
later illuminators, but with very unfortunate results, since white lead is
liable to turn to a metallic grey or even black if exposed to any impure
sulphurous atmosphere.

Many beautiful manuscripts have suffered much owing to the blackening of
their high lights which had been touched in with white lead; especially
manuscripts exposed to the gas- and smoke-poisoned air of London or other
large cities.

_Process of manufacture._

The _biacca_ of the mediaeval illuminator was made in exactly the same way
that Vitruvius and Pliny describe; see Vitr. VII. xii.; and Pliny, _Hist.
Nat._ XXXIV. 175.

A roll of lead was placed in a clay _dolium_ or big vase, which had a
little vinegar at the bottom. The top was then luted down, and the jar was
left in a warm place for a week or so, till the fumes of the acetic acid
had converted the surface of the lead into a crust of carbonate. This
carbonate of lead was then flaked off and purified by repeated grinding and

In order to keep the white pigments perfectly pure, some illuminators used
to keep them under water, so that no dust could reach them.

_Black inks._ Two inks of quite different kinds were used for the ordinary
text of mediaeval manuscripts.

_Carbon ink._

One of these was a pure carbon-black (modern Indian or Chinese ink); this
has been described under the classical name _atramentum librarium_[280];
see above, page 27. The great advantage of this carbon ink is that it never
fades; it is not a _dye_ or _stain_, but it consists of very minute
particles of carbon which rest on the surface of the vellum.

_Iron ink._

The other variety was like modern black writing ink, only of very superior
quality. This acts as a dye, staining the vellum a little below the
surface. Unfortunately it is liable to fade, though when kept from the
light (as in most manuscripts) it has stood the test of time very well.

Sometimes the mediaeval illuminators distinguished these two kinds of black
ink, calling the first _atramentum_ and the second _encaustum_; but
frequently the names are used indifferently for either: see Theophilus, I.
40. The _encaustum_ was made by boiling oak-bark or gall-nuts, which are
rich in tannin, in acid wine with some iron filings or vitriol (sulphate of
iron). The combination of the iron and the tannin gives the inky
black[281]. Both these black inks were used with gum Arabic.

_Beauty of the plain text._

A great part of the beauty of mediaeval manuscripts is quite unconnected
with their illumination. The plain portion of the text, from the exquisite
forms of its letters and the beautiful glossy black of the ink on the
creamy ivory-like vellum page, lighted up here and there by the crisp touch
of the rubricator's red, is a thing of extraordinary beauty and charm. This
perfection of technique in the writing and beauty of the letters lasted
considerably longer than did the illuminator's art. Hence in some of the
manuscripts of the period of decadence, executed during the fifteenth
century, the plain black and red text is very superior in style to the
painted ornament; and one cannot, in some cases, help regretting that the
manuscript has not escaped the disfigurement of a coarse or gaudy scheme of

_Red inks_ were of three chief kinds, namely the _vermilion_, _red lead_,
and _rubrica_ or red ochre, which have been already mentioned.

_Purple ink._

_Purple ink_ was used largely, not often for writing, but for the delicate
pen ornaments of the initials in certain classes of late Italian and German
manuscripts. A vegetable pigment seems to have been used for this; the
lines appear to be stained, and do not consist of a body-colour resting on
the surface of the vellum.

_Gold writing_ is usually executed with the fluid gold pigment, but in
later manuscripts very gorgeous titles and headings are sometimes done with
burnished leaf gold applied on the raised mordant, the writing being first
done with a pen dipped in the fluid mordant.

_The pencils and pens of the Illuminator._ Two quite different classes of
pencils were used for lightly sketching in the outline of the future floral
design or miniature.

_Lead point._

One of these was the silver-point or lead-point[282], very much like the
metallic pencil of a modern pocket-book. The use of the silver-point was
known in classical times; Pliny (_Hist. Nat._ XXXIII. 98) remarks as a
strange thing that a white metal like silver should make a black line when
used to draw with. It is, however, rather a faint grey than a black line
that a point of pure silver makes, especially on vellum, and so it was more
usual for illuminators to use a softer pencil of mixed lead and tin;
Cennino recommends two parts of lead to one of tin[283] for making the lead
point, _piombino_.

_Red pencil._

Another kind of pencil was made of a soft red stone, which owed its colour
to oxide of iron. From its fine blood-red tint the illuminators called it
_haematita_, _lapis amatista_ or _amatito_, hence an ordinary lead pencil
is now called either _lapis_ or _matita_ in Italy. This stone is quite
different from the hard _haematite_ which was used in classical times for
the early cylinder-signets of Assyria.


The harder varieties of the _amatista_ or _haematite_ were used to burnish
the gold leaf in manuscripts, small pieces being polished and fixed in a
convenient handle. They were also used as a red pigment, the stone being
calcined, quenched in water and finely ground; see Cennino Cennini, § 42.

Besides the hard red chalky stone (_amatita rossa_) used for outlines by
the illuminators, a somewhat similar black stone (_amatita nera_) was also
used, but not so commonly as the red.

_Reed pens._

_The pens of illuminators._ In early times, throughout, that is, the whole
classical period and probably till about the time of Justinian, the sixth
century A.D., scribes' pens were mostly made of reeds (_calamus_ or
_canna_); and occasionally silver or bronze pens were used; see above, page

But certainly as early as the eighth century A.D. and probably before that,
quill-pens came into use and superseded the blunter and softer reed-pen.

_Fine quills._

Such exquisitely fine lines as those in many classes of mediaeval
manuscripts could only have been made with some very fine and delicate
instrument like a skilfully cut crow's quill or other moderately small

The pen was a very important instrument for the illuminator, not only when
his pictures were mainly executed in pen outline, like many of those in the
later Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, but also in such microscopically delicate
miniature work as that in the Anglo-Norman _historiated Bibles_ of the
thirteenth century; in these much of the most important drawing, such as
the features and the hair of the figures, was executed, not with a brush,
but with a quill-pen, which in the illuminator's skilful hand could produce
a quality of line which for delicacy and crisp precision of touch has never
been surpassed by the artists of any other class or age.


_Brushes_ were, as a rule, made by the illuminators themselves, so as to
suit their special needs and system of working. Cennino (§§ 63 to 66) and
other writers give directions for the selection of the best hair and the
mode of fixing it so as to give a finely pointed brush. Ermine, minever and
other animals of that tribe supplied the best hair for the brushes required
for very minute work. But a great number of other animals provided useful
material to the craftsman who knew the right places to select the hair
from, and, a still more important thing, understood how to arrange and fix
it in a bundle of the best form.

_List of tools._

_The implements of scribes and illuminators._ The following is a list of
the principal tools and materials required by the illuminator of
manuscripts, including those which have been already described[284].

  Pens, pencils and chalk of various sorts, as described above.

  Brushes made of minever, badger and other kinds of hair.

  Grinding-slabs and rubbers of porphyry or other hard stone, and a bronze

  Sharp penknife and palette knife.

  Rulers, and a metal ruling-pen.

  Dividers to prick out the guiding-lines of the text.

  Scissors for shaping the gold leaf.

  Burnishers, stamps, and _stili_ for ornamenting the gold.

  Small horns to hold black and red ink; see fig. 53 on page 209.

  Colour-box, palette, pigments, gold leaf and _media_ of various kinds.

  Sponge and pumice-stone for erasures.

_Paintings of scribes._

Miniatures representing a scribe writing a manuscript are the commonest of
all subjects in several classes of illuminated manuscripts. For example the
first capital of Saint Jerome's _Prologue_ in the historiated Anglo-Norman
_Vulgates_ almost always has a very minute painting of a monastic
scribe[285], seated, writing on a sloping desk, with his pen in one hand
and his penknife in the other[286].

_The scribes' processes._

In one respect such scenes are always treated in a conventional way; that
is, the scribe is represented writing in a complete and bound book, whereas
both the writing of the text and the illuminations were done on loose
sheets of vellum, which could be conveniently pinned down flat on the desk
or drawing-board.

The processes employed in the execution of an illuminated manuscript of the
fourteenth or fifteenth century were the following;

_First_, if the text were to be in one column, four lines were ruled
marking the boundaries of the patch of text and the margin. These four
lines usually cross at the angles and are carried to the extreme edge of
the vellum[287].

_Ruled lines._

Next, the scribe, with a pair of dividers or compasses, pricked out at even
distances the number of lines which were to be ruled to serve as a guide in
writing the text. These pricked holes were, as a rule, set at the extreme
edge of the vellum, and were intended to be cut off by the binder, but in
many manuscripts they still remain. The scribe then filled the space within
the first four marginal lines with parallel ruled lines at the intervals
indicated by the pricks at the edge.

_Stilus lines._

In early manuscripts the guiding lines to keep the text even are usually
ruled, not with colour or ink, but simply traced with a pointed _stilus_,
which made a sufficiently clear impressed line on the vellum, showing
through from one side to the other.

_Lead lines._
_Red lines._

In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the practice began of ruling the
lines with a _lead point_; and then, from the fourteenth century onwards,
they were usually ruled with bright red pigment[288]; this has a very
decorative effect in lighting up the mass of black text, and thus we find
in many early printed books[289] these red guiding lines have been ruled in
merely for the sake of their ornamental appearance.

This ruling was nearly always done with special metal ruling-pens, very
like those now used for architectural drawing; and thus the lines are
perfectly even in thickness throughout.

_The plain text._

The next stage in the work was the writing of the plain black text. In
early times it appears to have been usual, or at least not uncommon, for
the same hand to write the text and add the painted illuminations, but when
the production of illuminated manuscripts came mostly into secular hands,
the trades of the scribe and the illuminator were usually practised by
different people; and in late times a further division still took place,
and the miniaturist frequently became separated from the decorative

_Guiding letters._

Thus we find that in many manuscripts the scribe has introduced in the
blank spaces minute guiding letters[290] to tell the illuminator what each
initial was to be, and, especially in fifteenth century Italian
manuscripts, instructions are added for the miniaturist, telling him what
the subject of each picture was to be. These instructions were commonly
written on the edge of the page so that they were cut off by the binder,
but in many cases they still exist, not obliterated by the subsequent

But to return to the progress of the page, when the scribe had finished the
plain text, leaving the necessary blank spaces for the illuminated capitals
and miniatures, the work of decoration then began.


As a rule the decorative foliage and the like was finished before the
separate miniatures, if there were any, were begun. First the illuminator
lightly sketched in outline the design of the ornament, using a lead point.
Next, wherever burnished gold was to be introduced, the thick
mordant-ground was laid on; the gold leaf was then applied and finished
with tooling and burnishing.

_Gold leaf._

The reason why the gold was applied before any of the painting was begun
was this; the long rubbing with the burnisher acted not only on the gold
leaf, but also naturally rubbed the vellum a little way all round it. This
would have smudged the painting round the gold if it had been applied
first. Moreover, the burnisher was liable to carry small particles of gold
on to the surrounding vellum, which would have given a ragged look to the
design, if the adjacent surfaces had not been subsequently covered with
pigment. In cases where there is an isolated gold boss there is usually a
slight disfigurement from the burnisher rubbing the vellum all round the
gold. In these cases the outline of the gold was made clean and definite by
the addition of a strong black outline, as is mentioned above.

_The painting._

When the whole of the burnished gold was finished, the painting was then
executed. If any fluid gold pigment were used, that was usually added last
of all.

_Transferred patterns._

In some cases, in the later and cheaper French and Flemish manuscripts, the
ornaments in the borders were not specially designed and sketched in for
the manuscripts but previously used outline patterns were transferred on to
the vellum by a bone _stilus_ and ordinary transfer paper, made by rubbing
red chalk all over its surface.

In some of the better class of manuscripts with the "ivy-leaf" border, the
illuminator has made the general design of one page serve for the next one
in this way; when he had drawn in the main lines of the scroll-pattern on
the borders of one page, he held the vellum up to the light and so was able
to trace the pattern through from the other side of the leaf. To prevent
monotony he varied the design by introducing different little blossoms
among the repeated scroll-work which formed the main pattern.

_Preparation for binding._

When the _scribe_, the _rubricator_, the _illuminator_ and the
_miniaturist_ (either as one or as several different people) had completed
the manuscript it was ready for the _binder_. As an indication of the order
in which the leaves of the manuscript were to be bound, the scribe usually
placed on the lower margin of the last page of each "gathering" of leaves a
letter or number.

In the earliest printed books these guiding letters, or _signatures_ as
they are called, were added by hand in the same way[291]; but in a few
years the regular and more developed system of printed _signatures_ was

_Scribes' signatures._

Scribes' signatures at the end of manuscripts are comparatively rare, but
they do occasionally occur in various interesting forms. My friend Mr W. J.
Loftie kindly sends me the following:

In a Sarum _Missal_ of the fifteenth century at Alnwick Castle,

 "Librum scribendo Jon Whas[293] monachus laborabat,
  Et mane surgendo multum corpus macerabat."

More commonly manuscripts terminate with a vague phrase invoking a blessing
on the scribe, such as this, from a Bible in the Bodleian (No. 50),

 "Qui scripsit hunc librum
  Fiat collectum in paradisum."

Or this, which occurs in several manuscripts,

 "Qui scripsit scribat,
  Semper cum Deo vivat."

_Owner's name._

In another manuscript _Vulgate_ in the Bodleian (No. 75), the owner of the
book, who was named _Gerardus_, has recorded the fact in this fanciful

 "Ge ponatur et rar simul associatur
  Et dus reddatur cui pertinet ita vocatur."



_Costly bindings._

For the more magnificent classes of manuscripts, such as the _Textus_
(_Gospels_) used as altar ornaments, every costly and elaborate artistic
process was employed. In addition to the sumptuous gold and jewelled covers
mentioned above at page 55, manuscripts were bound in plates of carved
ivory set in gold frames, in plaques of Limoges enamel, especially the
_chamlevé_ enamels with the heads of the figures attached in relief, such
as were produced with great skill at Limoges during the eleventh to the
thirteenth century. Some _Evangeliaria_ were bound in covers made of the
ancient Roman or Byzantine ivory diptychs, a custom to which we owe the
preservation of the most important existing examples of these.[294] Such
costly methods of binding were of course exceptional, and most manuscripts
were covered in a much simpler manner.

_Common bindings._

The commonest form of binding was to make the covers of stout oak boards,
which were covered with parchment, calf-skin, pig-skin or some other
leather. Five brass or bronze bosses were fixed on each cover, arranged
thus :·: and two or four stout clasps made of leather straps with brass
catches were firmly nailed on to the oak. The angles of the covers were
often strengthened by brass or _latten_ cornerpieces, and in some cases
metal edgings were nailed all along the edges of the oak, making a very
strong, massive and heavy volume. Large pieces of rock crystal, amethyst or
other common gem were frequently set in the five bosses of the covers.
These were always cut in rounded form _en cabochon_, not faceted as is the
modern custom.

The small amount of decoration, which was usually employed on early
bindings, was often limited to tooled lines joining the five bosses on the

_Titles of MSS._

If the title of the manuscript was placed on the binding, a not very common
practice, it was usually written on the upper part of one of the covers. In
some cases the title was written on a separate slip of vellum and was
protected by a transparent slice of horn, fixed with little brass nails.

This appears to have been the usual system as long as books were kept in
coffers or _armaria_; but when open bookshelves with chained books came
into use, about the time when printing was invented, the title of a book
was usually written on the front edges of the leaves.

At that time books were set on the shelves in the opposite way to that now
used, so that, not the back, but the edge of the volume was visible.

_Painted edges._

Towards the close of the fifteenth and throughout the sixteenth century,
the front edges of printed books and manuscripts were sometimes decorated
with painted illumination, usually a portrait figure of the author of the
work or some object illustrating its subject[296].

The parchment which was used to cover the oak bindings of manuscripts was
often coloured by staining or painting; red and purple being the favourite
colours. Chaucer, in the Prologue to the _Canterbury Tales_, describing the
Clerke of Oxenford says,

  For him was lever have at his beddes heed,
  Twenty bookes, clothed in blak and reed
  Of Aristotil and of his philosophie
  Then robes riche or fithul or sawtrie.

_Painted bindings._

In some cases the oak covers of manuscripts were not hidden by leather, but
were decorated by elaborate paintings. A very interesting series of folio
account-books of the Cathedral of Siena, now preserved in the _Opera del
Duomo_, are specially remarkable for their pictured bindings. These
manuscripts date from about 1380 to 1410, one volume being devoted to the
expenses and records of each year. On one of the covers of each is a large
painting on the oak, frequently of a view of some part of Siena or of the
interior of the Cathedral. Very interesting evidence with regard to the old
fittings of the high altar, with Duccio di Buoninsegna's great retable, and
the original position of the magnificent pulpit are given by some of these
pictured covers. One volume of this Sienese series is now in the South
Kensington Museum.

_Stamped leather._

In the fourteenth century bindings of books began to be decorated by
stamping patterns with dies or punches on the vellum or pigskin covering of
the oak board; a method of decoration which was greatly elaborated and
developed in the sixteenth century, especially by the German and Dutch

The earlier stamped designs were of a much simpler character, usually
consisting of powderings all over the surface of the cover, with small
flowers or animals, such as lions, eagles, swans and dragons of heraldic
character. In many cases these punches, or at least their designs,
continued in use for a long time, and so one occasionally meets with a
fifteenth century book, the binding of which is decorated with stamps of
fourteenth or even thirteenth century style.

_Stamped bindings._

The later class of stamped bindings, belonging rather to printed books than
to manuscripts, is often very beautiful and decorative in character, the
whole surface of the cover being completely embossed in relief by the
skilful application of a great number of punches used in various
combinations, so as to form one large and perfectly united design. In these
later times, from about the middle of the sixteenth century the tendency
was to cut larger designs on one punch or die; and the leather or parchment
was softened by boiling so that a large surface could be embossed at one
operation. This process was much aided by the invention of the screw-press,
which enabled the workman to apply a steady and long-continued pressure.
But in the older stamped bindings, as a rule, small punches were used, and
the force was simply applied by the blow of a hammer[297].

_English bindings._

In England very fine stamped bindings of this class were made even in the
first half of the fifteenth century. And, just as in earlier times the
operations of the binder and the manuscript illuminator had been carried on
by the same man, or at least in the same workshop, so we find that some of
the earliest English printers, such as Julian Notary, were also skilful
binders of their own printed books. The very fine stamped bindings of
Julian Notary and other English craftsmen are commonly decorated on one
side with the Tudor arms and badges supported by angels, and on the other
side with a pictorial scene of the Annunciation of the B. V. Mary with I.
N. or other maker's initials.

_Wallet bindings._

Returning now to the earlier bindings of manuscripts, we should mention one
system which was frequently applied to _Books of Hours_, _Breviaries_
(_portiforia_), and other _portable_ books. This system was to extend the
leather covering far beyond the edges of the wooden boards, which formed
the main covers of the manuscripts, so that the book, edges and all were
protected, very much as if it were kept in a bag. In fact this sort of
binding really was a leather bag to the inside of which the book was

The mouth of the bag was closed by a running thong, a loop or some other
fastening, and the book was thus carried about, hung from its owner's

In bindings of this class the leather covering was frequently dressed with
the hair on. Corpus Christi College at Oxford possesses a very
well-preserved example of this, a manuscript of the thirteenth century in a
contemporary bag-covering made of deer's skin, with its soft brown fur in a
perfect state of preservation.


Bindings of red or violet velvet were also frequently used for manuscripts.
Plain red velvet, with elaborate clasps and corner-pieces of chased gold or
silver, was perhaps the most usual form of binding for costly manuscripts
of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Fine gems, especially the
carbuncle and turquoise, were set in the gold mounts of some of these
princely books.

_Dyed vellum._

Vellum dyed with the _murex_ was used to cover the oak boards of
manuscripts at a time when purple-stained vellum was no longer used for the
pages of manuscripts. A fine green dye and other colours were also used for
vellum bindings. The Vatican records of books borrowed (and returned)
usually mention how each volume was bound. Among the earliest of these
records, dating from the Pontificate of Leo X. (1513 to 1522) the commonest
descriptions of bindings are _in tabulis_, _in rubio_, _in albo_, _in
nigro_, and _in gilbo_, indicating the colour of the skin or velvet in
which the manuscript was bound.

_Later bindings._
_Gold mounts._

In the sixteenth century, when private luxury and pomp were taking the
place of the earlier religious feelings and beliefs which had so greatly
fostered the decorative arts, bindings as costly as those of the
_Altar-textus_ of the great Cathedral and Abbey churches were again made at
the command of wealthy patrons. Thus, for example, Cardinal Grimani had his
famous _Breviary_[299] bound in crimson velvet, the greater part of which
is concealed by the most elaborate mounts, clasps, corner-pieces and
borders of solid gold, of the most exquisite workmanship, decorated with a
medallion portrait head of the Cardinal himself.

So also the very similar _Horae_ of Albert of Brandenburg[300] is decorated
with clasps and other mounts of pure gold; and an immense number of other
sumptuous bindings, rich with embossed and chased gold, studded with
precious gems, were made to enshrine the costly manuscripts of Giulio
Clovio and other famous miniaturists of the sixteenth century period of

_Bindings of needlework._

At the close of the fifteenth century or rather earlier, the custom became
popular of having _Horae_ and other manuscripts owned by wealthy secular
personages bound in velvet, richly decorated with embroidery in gold and
silver thread and silk mixed with a great number of seed pearls. The arms,
badges and initials of the owner are the commonest designs for these

Some of the German examples of this class of binding are especially
elaborate and magnificent; but on the whole this method of decoration is
not at all suited for covering books.

_Works on bindings._

With regard to books on the subject of early bindings; it is much to be
regretted that existing works, of which there are a great many, especially
in French, all begin just about the period when bindings of the greatest
interest and the truest artistic value were no longer made. Plenty has been
written about the costly bindings in which Grolier, Maioli, and other
wealthy book-buyers had their purchases encased, but no work exists on the
bindings of the mediaeval period, when, frequently, the covers of a
manuscript were as much a labour of love as the illuminated pages within.
The sixteenth century binders, who worked for Grolier and other rich
patrons of art, lived at the verge of a commercial epoch, and though their
works are often very pretty and technically of high merit, yet they cannot
be compared, as true works of art, with the bindings of the period before
printing was invented.

_Small cost of MSS._

_The present value of illuminated manuscripts._ On the whole a fine
manuscript may be regarded as about the cheapest work of art of bygone days
that can now be purchased by an appreciative collector. Many of the finest
and most perfectly preserved manuscripts which now come into the market are
actually sold for smaller sums than they would have cost when they were
new, in spite of the great additional value and interest which they have
gained from their antiquity and comparative rarity.

For example, a beautiful and perfectly preserved historiated Anglo-Norman
_Vulgate_ of the thirteenth century, with its full number of eighty-two
pictured initials, written on between six and seven hundred leaves of the
finest uterine vellum, can now commonly be purchased for from £30 to £40.
This hardly represents the original value of the vellum on which the
manuscript is written.

Manuscripts of a simpler character, however beautifully written, if they
are merely decorated with blue and red initials, commonly sell for
considerably less than the original cost of their vellum[301].

Again, the more costly manuscripts of fine style, which now fetch several
hundred pounds, usually contain a wealth of pictorial decoration and
laborious execution far in excess of that which could be purchased for a
similar sum in any other branch of art.

_Want of taste._

Another noticeable point is that the modern pecuniary values of
manuscripts, even those which are bought only as works of art, are by no
means in proportion to their real artistic merits. Manuscripts of the
finest period of the illuminator's art, the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries, are now sold for very much smaller sums than the immeasurably
inferior but more showy and over-elaborated manuscripts of the period of
decadence in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

_Modern want of taste._

A melancholy example of the existing want of taste and lack of appreciation
of what is beautiful in art is afforded by the fact that such a thing as a
manuscript signed and illuminated by Giulio Clovio would fetch a far larger
sum than so perfect a masterpiece of poetic art as a fine example of a
fourteenth century Anglo-Norman _Apocalypse_.

So also the late and inferior _Horae_ of about 1480 to 1510 often sell for
much higher prices than simpler but far more beautiful manuscripts of
earlier date. Of course I am here speaking of the values of manuscripts
regarded simply as works of art, not of those which are mainly of
importance from the interest of their text.

The result of this is that a collector with some real knowledge and
appreciation of what is artistically fine can perhaps lay out his money to
greater advantage in the purchase of manuscripts than by buying works of
art of any other class, either mediaeval or modern.


Mr Jenkinson, the Librarian of the University of Cambridge, has kindly
supplied me with the following interesting extracts, from a manuscript of
the thirteenth century in the Parish Library of St James' at Bury St
Edmunds (M 27 + B 357)[302], which gives instructions to scribes and
illuminators of manuscripts as to the various tools they are to use.

  "Scriptor habeat rasorium siue nouaculam ad radendum sordes pergameni vel
  membrane. Habeat etiam pumicem mordacem et planulam ad pactandum (?) et
  equandum superficiem pergameni. Plumbum habeat et linulam quibus liniet
  pergamenum, margine circumquaque tam ex parte tergi quam ex parte carnis
  existente libera......

  Scriptor autem in cathedra resideat ansis utrimque eleuatis pluteum siue
  ait'em (?) sustinentibus, scabello apte pedibus posito.

  Scriptor habeat epicaustorium^{.i.asserem} centone copertum. Arcanum
  habeat quo pennam formet ut habilis sit et ydonea ad scribendum......
  Habeat dentem canis (?) sive apri ad polliandum pergamenum...... Et
  spectaculum habeat ne ob errorem moram disspendiosam (?). Habeat prunas
  in epicausterio ut cicius in tempore nebuloso vel aquoso desicari
  possit...... Et habeat etiam mineum ad formandas literas puniceas, vel
  rubeas, vel feniceas et capitales. Habeat etiam fuscum pulverem; et
  azuram a Salamone repertam[303]."


  "The scribe should have a sharp scraper or knife to rub down the
  roughnesses of his parchment or vellum. He should also have a piece of
  'biting' pumice-stone and a flat tool to smooth down and make even the
  surface of his parchment.

  He should have a lead pencil and a ruler with which to rule lines on the
  parchment, leaving a margin free (from lines) on both sides of the
  parchment, on the back of the leaf as well as on the flesh side....

  The scribe should sit in an arm chair, with arms raised on each side to
  support a desk or ?; a footstool should be conveniently placed under his
  feet. The scribe should have an _epicaustorium_[304] covered with
  leather; he should have an _arcanum_ (pen-knife ?) with which to shape
  his pen, so that it may be well formed and suitable for writing....

  He should have the tooth of a dog (?) or of a wild boar for the polishing
  of his parchment.... And he should have spectacles lest troublesome delay
  be caused through blunders. He should have hot coals in a brazier so that
  [his ink] may dry quickly [even] in cloudy or rainy weather.... He should
  also have mineum (_minium_) for the painting of red, crimson or purple
  letters and initials. He should also have a dark powder (pigment), and
  the azure which was invented by Solomon."

The following excellent description of the chief kinds of Service-books
which were used during the later mediæval period was originally written in
1881 by Henry Bradshaw, the Cambridge University Librarian, for _The
Chronicles of All Saints' Church, Derby_, by the Rev. J. C. Cox and Mr W.
H. St John Hope. It is by the kind permission of Mr Cox and Mr Hope that I
am able to reprint Mr Bradshaw's valuable note, which, with admirable
clearness and conciseness, explains the character of each of the principal
classes of Service-books used in English Churches and the manner in which
these books became differentiated and multiplied down to the time of the


  _The Hours._

  In the old Church of England, the Services were either--

  1. For the different hours (Mattins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None,
  Vespers, and Compline), said in the Choir,

  2. For Processions, in the Church or Churchyard,

  3. For the Mass, said at the Altar, or

  4. For occasions, such as Marriage, Visitation of the Sick, Burial, &c.,
  said as occasion required.

  Of these four all have their counterparts, more or less, in the English
  Service of modern times, as follows:

  1. The Hour-Services, of which the principal were Mattins and Vespers,
  correspond to our Morning and Evening Prayer.


  2. The Procession Services correspond to our Hymns or Anthems sung before
  the Litany which precedes the Communion Service in the morning, and after
  the third Collect in the evening, only no longer sung in the course of
  procession to the Churchyard Cross or a subordinate Altar in the Church;
  the only relic (in common use) of the actual Procession being that used
  on such occasions as the Consecration of a Church, &c.

  3. The Mass answers to our Communion Service.

  _Occasional Services._

  4. The Occasional Services are either those used by a Priest, such as
  Baptism, Marriage, Visitation and Communion of the Sick, Burial of the
  Dead, &c., or those reserved for a Bishop, as Confirmation, Ordination,
  Consecration of Churches, &c.

  All these Services but the last mentioned are contained in our
  "Prayer-book" with all their details, except the lessons at Mattins and
  Evensong, which are read from the Bible, and the Hymns and Anthems, which
  are, since the sixteenth century, at the discretion of the authorities.
  This concentration or compression of the Services into one book is the
  natural result of time, and the further we go back the more numerous are
  the books which our old inventories show. To take the four classes of
  Services and Service-books mentioned above:

  _The Breviary._

  1. The Hour-Services were latterly contained, so far as the text was
  concerned, in the _Breviarium_, or _Portiforium_, as it was called by
  preference in England[305]. The musical portions of this book were
  contained in the _Antiphonarium_. But the Breviary itself was the result
  of a gradual amalgamation of many different books:

  _The Breviary._

  (_a_) The _Antiphonarium_, properly so called, containing the Anthems
  (_Antiphonae_) to the Psalms, the Responds (_Responsoria_) to the Lessons
  (_Lectiones_), and the other odds and ends of Verses and Responds
  (_Versiculi et Responsoria_) throughout the Service;

  (_b_) The _Psalterium_, containing the Psalms arranged as used at the
  different Hours, together with the Litany as used on occasions;

  (_c_) The _Hymnarium_, or collection of Hymns used in the different

  (_d_) The _legenda_, containing the long Lessons used at Mattins, as well
  from the Bible, from the _Sermologus_, and from the _Homiliarius_, used
  respectively at the first, second, and third Nocturns at Mattins on
  Sundays and some other days, as also from the _Passionale_, containing
  the acts of Saints read on their festivals; and

  (_e_) The _Collectarium_, containing the _Capitula_, or short Lessons
  used at all the Hour-services except Mattins, and the _Collectæ_ or
  _Orationes_ used at the same.

  _Procession Services._

  2. The Procession Services were contained in the _Processionale_ or
  _Processionarium_. It will be remembered that the Rubric in our
  "Prayer-Book" concerning the Anthem ("In Quires and places where they
  sing, here followeth the Anthem") is _indicative_ rather than
  _imperative_, and that it was first added in 1662. It states a fact; and,
  no doubt, when processions were abolished, with the altars to which they
  were made, Cathedral Choirs would have found themselves in considerable
  danger of being swept away also, had they not made a stand, and been
  content to sing the Processional Anthem without moving from their
  position in the Choir. This alone sufficed to carry on the tradition; and
  looked upon in this way the modern Anthem Book of our Cathedral and
  Collegiate Churches, and the Hymn Book of our parish Churches, are the
  only legitimate successors of the old _Processionale_. It must be borne
  in mind, also, that the Morning and Evening Anthems in our "Prayer-Book"
  do not correspond to one another so closely as might at first sight
  appear to be the case. The Morning Anthem comes immediately before the
  Litany which precedes the Communion Service, and corresponds to the
  Processional Anthem or Respond sung at the churchyard procession before
  Mass. The Evening Anthem, on the other hand, follows the third Collect,
  and corresponds to the Processional Anthem or Respond sung "_eundo et
  redeundo_," in going to, and returning from, some subordinate altar in
  the church at the close of Vespers.

  _The Mass._

  3. The Mass, which we call the Communion Service, was contained in the
  _Missale_, so far as the text was concerned. The Epistles and Gospels,
  being read at separate lecterns, would often be written in separate
  books, called _Epistolaria_ and _Evangeliaria_. The musical portions of
  the Altar Service were latterly all contained in the _Graduale_ or
  Grayle, so called from one of the principal elements being the
  _Responsorium Graduale_ or Respond to the _Lectio Epistolae_. In earlier
  times, these musical portions of the Missal Service were commonly
  contained in two separate books, the _Graduale_ and the _Troparium_. The
  _Graduale_, being in fact the _Antiphonarium_ of the Altar Service (as
  indeed it was called in the earliest times), contained all the passages
  of Scripture, varying according to the season and day, which served as
  Introits (_Antiphonae et Psalmi ad Introitum_) before the Collects, as
  Gradual Responds or Graduals to the Epistle, as _Alleluia_ versicles
  before the Gospel, as _Offertoria_ at the time of the first oblation, and
  as _Communiones_ at the time of the reception of the consecrated
  elements. The _Troparium_ contained the _Tropi_, or preliminary tags to
  the Introits; the Kyries; the _Gloria in excelsis_; the Sequences or
  _Prosae ad Sequentiam_ before the Gospel; the _Credo in unum_; the
  _Sanctus_ and _Benedictus_; and the _Agnus Dei_; all, in early times,
  liable to have insertions or _farsuræ_ of their own, according to the
  season or day, which, however, were almost wholly swept away (except
  those of the _Kyrie_) by the beginning of the thirteenth century. Even in
  Lyndewode's time (A.D. 1433), the _Troparium_ was explained to be a book
  containing merely the Sequences before the Gospel at Mass, so completely
  had the other elements then disappeared or become incorporated in the
  _Graduale_. This definition of the _Troparium_ is the more necessary,
  because so many _old_ church inventories yet remain, which contain books,
  even at the time of writing the inventory long since disused, so that the
  lists would be unintelligible without some such explanation.

  _Occasional Services._

  4. The Occasional Services, so far as they concerned a priest, were of
  course more numerous in old days than now, and included the ceremonies
  for _Candle_mas, _Ash_ Wednesday, _Palm_ Sunday, &c., besides what were
  formerly known as the Sacramental Services. The book which contained
  these was in England called the _Manuale_, while on the Continent the
  name _Rituale_ is more common. No church could well be without one of
  these. The purely episcopal offices were contained in the _Liber
  pontificalis_ or Pontifical, for which an ordinary church would have no

  _The Ordinale._

  5. Besides these books of actual Services there was another, absolutely
  necessary for the right understanding and definite use of those already
  mentioned. This was the _Ordinale_, or book containing the general rules
  relating to the _Ordo divini servitii_. It is the _Ordinarius_ or
  _Breviarius_ of many Continental churches. Its method was to go through
  the year and show what was to be done; what days were to take precedence
  of others; and how, under such circumstances, the details of the
  conflicting Services were to be dealt with. The basis of such a book
  would be either the well-known Sarum _Consuetudinarium_, called after St.
  Osmund, but really drawn up in the first quarter of the thirteenth
  century, the Lincoln _Consuetudinarium_ belonging to the middle of the
  same century, or other such book. By the end of the fifteenth century
  Clement Maydeston's _Directorium Sacerdotum_, or Priests' Guide, had
  superseded all such books, and came itself to be called the Sarum
  _Ordinale_, until, about 1508, the shorter Ordinal, under the name of
  _Pica Sarum_, "the rules called the Pie," having been cut up and
  re-distributed according to the seasons, came to be incorporated in the
  text of all the editions of the Sarum Breviary.

  H. B.

        _March 17, 1881_.

  Mr Micklethwaite has kindly pointed out to me the following passage from
  the Cistercian _Consuetudines_ (Guignard, _Documents inédits_, Dijon,
  1878, p. 174), cap. LXXII, "Nullus ingrediatur coquinam excepto cantore
  et scriptoribus ad planandam tabulam, ad liquefaciendum incaustum, ad
  exsiccandum pergamenum...." That is, the kitchen fire might be used for
  melting the wax on the tablets, so that a fresh list of names could be
  written (see above, p. 8), for liquefying frozen ink, and for drying the
  vellum skins ready for writing on.



The Cambridge University Press.

  THE ENGRAVED GEMS OF CLASSICAL TIMES, with a Catalogue of the Gems in the
  Fitzwilliam Museum, by J. HENRY MIDDLETON, M.A., Slade Professor of Fine
  Art, and Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Royal 8vo.
  Buckram, 12_s._ 6_d._

  THE LEWIS COLLECTION OF GEMS AND RINGS in the possession of Corpus
  Christi College, Cambridge, with an Introductory Essay on Ancient Gems by
  J. HENRY MIDDLETON, M.A. Royal 8vo. Buckram, 6_s._

  Autotype plates, containing photographs of Coins of all parts of the
  Greek World. Impl. 4to. Cloth extra, £1. 11_s._ 6_d._; Roxburgh (Morocco
  back), £2. 2_s._

  Classical Archæology in the University of Cambridge. Royal 8vo. 16
  Plates. Buckram, 30_s._

  MICHAELIS. Translated by C. A. M. FENNELL, Litt. D. Royal 8vo. Roxburgh
  (Morocco back), £2. 2_s._

  from the British Museum MSS., and Notes by LINA ECKENSTEIN. Royal 8vo.
  Buckram, 21_s._ (_The Edition is limited to 500 copies._)

  THE WOODCUTTERS OF THE NETHERLANDS during the last quarter of the
  Fifteenth Century. In 3 parts. I. History of the Woodcutters. II.
  Catalogue of their Woodcuts. III. List of Books containing Woodcuts. By
  W. M. CONWAY. Demy 8vo. 10_s._ 6_d._

London: C. J. CLAY AND SONS,


  [1] See pages 97 and 113.

  [2] See _Jour. Hell. Stud._ Vol. III. p. 112.

  [3] It was not till quite a late period that the word [Greek: biblos] was
      used to mean another form of book than the roll. The word [Greek:
      sanis] is also used for a tablet; see p. 30.

  [4] A fine set of five tablets is preserved in the coin room in the Paris
      Bibliothèque Nationale; see _Revue Archéol._ VIII. p. 461.

  [5] A well-preserved example of Roman _pugillares_ formed of two leaves
      of ivory, now in the Capitoline museum in Rome, is illustrated by
      Baumeister, _Denkmäler_, I. p. 355.

  [6] Lucian, who lived in the second century A.D., mentions (_Vita Luc._
      II.) that when he was a boy he was in the habit of scraping the wax
      off his writing-tablets and using it to model little figures of men
      and animals. Probably he was not the only Roman school-boy who amused
      himself in this way.

  [7] Charcoal or crayon-holders of bronze with a spring clip and sliding
      ring, exactly like those now used, have been found in Pompeii. These
      and other writing materials are illustrated by Baumeister,
      _Denkmäler_, Vol. III. p. 1585.

  [8] An Athenian inscription (_C. I. A._ I. 32) mentions accounts and
      other documents written on [Greek: pinakia kai grammateia].

  [9] See, for example, a relief on the sarcophagus of a _scriba librarius_
      or library curator which is illustrated by Daremberg and Saglio,
      _Dict. Ant._ I. p. 708. The scribe is represented seated by his
      book-case _armarium_, on the shelves of which both _volumina_ and
      _codices_ are shown.

 [10] The ancient method of manufacturing papyrus paper is described below,
      see page 22.

 [11] Some very interesting fragments of the _Antiope_ of Euripides have
      been brought to England by Mr Flinders Petrie, and have been edited
      by Dr Mahaffy in a collection entitled _The Flinders Petrie Papyri_,
      Dublin, 1892.

 [12] The book-market in Athens was called [Greek: ta biblia], i.e. [Greek:
      hou ta biblia ônia]; see Pollux IX. 47. Lucian, in his treatise
      _Adversus Indoctum_, gives an interesting account of the Greek
      book-buyers and book-sellers in his time; see § 1 and § 4.

 [13] The end of the Argiletum is shown in the plan of the Forum Romanum in
      Middleton, _Ancient Rome_, 1892, Vol. I.

 [14] One reason of this was that even the most popular authors did not
      receive large sums for the copyright of their works.

 [15] A good deal of what is said in this section with regard to the
      technique of classical manuscripts will apply also to manuscripts of
      the mediaeval period. Many of the processes had been inherited in an
      unbroken tradition from ancient times, and others were revived in the
      Middle Ages through a study of various classical writers on pigments
      and the like, especially Pliny and Vitruvius.

 [16] The words _parchment_ and _vellum_ are used vaguely to imply many
      different kinds of skins. Strictly speaking _vellum_ implies
      calf-skin, but the word is commonly used to denote the finer and
      smoother qualities of skin; the name _parchment_ being given to the
      coarse varieties; see Peignot, _L'histoire du parchemin_, Paris,

 [17] In some cases the paper was _sized_, before the final smoothing; but
      as a rule sufficient _size_ was supplied by the flour used to paste
      the layers together.

 [18] Some of the enormous ranges of store-houses for goods imported into
      Rome and landed on the Tiber quay were specially devoted to the use
      of paper warehouses, _horrea chartaria_; extensive remains of these
      have recently been discovered near Monte Testaccio; see Middleton,
      _Remains of Ancient Rome_, 1892, Vol. II. pp. 260-262.

 [19] Now in the Fitzwilliam Museum.

 [20] A silver pen was found by Dr Waldstein in 1891 in the tomb of the
      Aristotle family at Chalcis.

 [21] There is, of course, no etymological connection between the words
      _miniature_ and _minute_; the latter being derived from the Latin
      _minutus_, _minus_.

 [22] Further details with regard to these pigments are given below, see
      pages 239 to 249.

 [23] Reproductions of these miniatures were published by Cardinal Mai,
      _Picturae antiquissimae bellum Iliacum repraesentantes_, Milan, 1819.
      Far more accurate copies of some of the miniatures, but without
      colour, are given by _Palaeo. Soc._, Plates 39, 40, 50 and 51.

 [24] Some fairly accurate reproductions of these miniatures were published
      by Bartoli, _Antiquissimi Virgiliani Codicis fragmenta Bibl. Vat._,
      Roma, 1741 and 1782. Examples from this and two other ancient but
      un-illuminated codices of Virgil in the Vatican library are given by
      the _Palaeo. Soc._, Plates 113 to 117.

 [25] The chief of these paintings were cut off the walls of the villa, and
      are now placed in the Museo delle Terme in Rome. The painting shown
      in fig. 3 is still in situ; that given in fig. 4 is now in the Museum
      at Naples.

 [26] See above, fig. 2.

 [27] The term Byzantine as applied to art is commonly used to denote the
      style which was developed in the Eastern empire soon after
      Constantine had transferred the seat of government from Old to "New
      Rome," or Constantinople as it was also called instead of Byzantium,
      which was the ancient name.

 [28] Several manuscripts of this class are described by H. Bordier,
      _Manuscrits Grecs de la Bibliothèque Nationale_, Paris, 1883.

 [29] A great public library was founded by Constantine in New Rome and
      partially stocked by manuscripts transferred from the old Capital.
      This library was rapidly enlarged by his sons and successors, and it
      was rebuilt on a grander scale by the Emperor Zeno after the building
      had been injured by fire about the year 488 A.D.

 [30] For a valuable account of Byzantine manuscripts, see Kondakoff,
      _Histoire de l'Art Byzantin_, Paris, 1886-1891.

 [31] The title _Porphyro-genitus_, "Born in the purple," referred to the
      fact that Byzantine Empresses brought forth their children in a
      magnificent room lined with slabs of polished porphyry.

 [32] A translation of this curious treatise was published by Didron and
      Durand, in their _Manuel d'iconographie chrétienne_; Paris, 1845.

 [33] All manuscripts described in this book, from the Byzantine school
      onwards, may be understood to be in the _codex_ form and written on
      _vellum_, unless they are otherwise described.

 [34] Published by Lambecius, _Comment. sur la Bibl. de Vienne_, 1776, Vol.

 [35] Copies of some of the miniatures in the Vatican _Cosmas_ are given by
      N. Kondakoff, _Histoire de l'Art Byzantin_, Paris, 1886, Vol. I. pp.
      142 to 152.

 [36] St Mark's in Venice and the churches of Ravenna and Constantinople
      are full of examples of this design.

 [37] This Sasanian art was an inheritance from ancient Babylon and
      Assyria, and was the progenitor of what in later times has been
      called Arab art, though the quite inartistic Arabs appear to have
      derived it from the Persians whom they conquered and forcibly
      converted to the Moslem Faith.

 [38] The mere gold of even the finest Byzantine manuscripts is never as
      sumptuous or as highly burnished as that in manuscripts of the
      fourteenth century, owing to its being usually applied as a fluid
      pigment, or at least not over the best kind of highly raised ground
      or _mordant_, which is described below at p. 234.

 [39] In early times and indeed throughout the whole mediaeval period very
      few objects of any kind were placed upon the High Altar even in the
      most magnificently furnished churches.  In addition to the chalice
      and paten, and the _Textus_, the only ornaments usually allowed were
      a small crucifix and two candlesticks. The modern system of crowding
      the _mensa_ of the altar with many candles and flowers did not come
      in till after the Reformation.

      In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the _Pax_ was usually a
      separate thing, of more convenient size and weight than the heavy,
      gold-covered _Textus_.

 [40] Fine coloured plates of this wonderful _Textus_-cover were published
      in 1888 by the Society of Antiquaries in their _Vetusta Monumenta_.

 [41] Published in 1844 by the Surtees Society of Durham.

 [42] The "Gospeller" was the officiating Deacon; the Sub-deacon being
      called the "Epistoller."

 [43] The remarkable artistic advance which was made by Giotto is to be
      seen not only in his improved and more realistic drawing, but also in
      his freedom from the long-established abuse of green in his flesh
      painting, for which he substituted a warmer and healthier tint.

 [44] Of the original mosaics on the west façade of Saint Mark's only one
      remains of the original highly decorative twelfth century mosaics.
      The rest, shown in Gentile Bellini's picture of Saint Mark's, have
      all been replaced by later mosaics. Inside the church, happily, the
      old mosaics still, in most places, exist; see p. 61.

 [45] See page 202 for an account of Giulio Clovio.

 [46] Mr M. R. James has pointed out to me an interesting example of
      similar designs being used by illuminators of manuscripts and by
      mosaic-workers. The designs of the miniatures in a fifth or sixth
      century manuscript of _Genesis_ in the British Museum (_Otho_, B, vi)
      are in many cases identical with those of the twelfth and thirteenth
      century mosaics in Saint Mark's at Venice; see Tikkanen,
      _Genesisbilder_, Berlin.

 [47] Alcuin, when Dean of York, was sent by Offa, king of Mercia, about
      782, as an envoy to Charles the Great. A large number of manuscripts
      were written under his guidance and influence, not only in Tours, but
      also at Soissons, Metz, Fulda, and in other Benedictine monasteries.

 [48] It is priced in Mr Quaritch's catalogue of 1890 at £2500. This
      manuscript was probably written at Tours in the school of Alcuin of
      York; see Wattenbach, _Die mit Gold auf Purpur geschriebenen
      Evangelienhandschriften der Hamilton'schen Bibliothek_, Berlin, 1889.

 [49] See for example the beautiful patterns of the woven hangings behind
      the enthroned figure of Christ shown on fig. 12; cf. also page 84.

 [50] Theophilus, _Schedula diversarum Artium_, I. 34; this work is
      frequently quoted in Chapter XV.

 [51] See Janitschek, _Die künstlerische Ausstattung des Ada-Evangeliars
      und die Karolingische Buchmalerei_; fol. Leipzig, 1889.

 [52] See Weidmann, _Geschichte der Bibliothek von St Gallen_, 8vo, St
      Gall, 1841.

 [53] See J. R. Rahn, _Das Psalterium Aureum von St Gallen, ein Beitrag zur
      Geschichte der Karolingischen Miniaturmalerei_, folio, St Gall, 1878.

 [54] An excellent edition with 72 facsimiles of Villard de Honecourt's
      _Album_ or sketch-book was produced by Professor Willis, London,
      1859; it is superior to the French edition issued by J. B. Lassus,
      Paris, 1858.

 [55] See L. Delisle, _L'Evangéliaire d'Arras et la calligraphie
      Franco-Saxonne du IX^{me} siècle_, 8vo, Paris, 1888.

 [56] Earlier that is than the conversion of the Saxon conquerors; to some
      extent a Romano-British Church had been established in Britain during
      the period of Roman domination, but this native Church appears to
      have been almost wholly eradicated by the Saxon Conquest.

 [57] Celtic manuscripts of all periods are well illustrated by Westwood,
      _Miniatures and Ornaments of Anglo-Saxon and Irish Manuscripts_,
      London, 1868; see also Westwood, _Palaeographia Sacra Pictoria_,
      1843-5, and the companion volume, _Illuminated Illustrations of the
      Bible_, 1846.

 [58] Tara was the ancient inland capital of Ireland before Dublin was
      founded by the Viking pirates.

 [59] The Irish monasteries of this date appear, frequently at least, to
      have consisted of a group of a dozen or more separate wooden huts or
      stone "bee-hive" cells, with one small central chapel of rectangular
      plan; the whole being enclosed within a wooden fence or a stone
      circuit wall, in which there was only one door of approach; see
      _Arch. Jour._ XV. p. 1 seq.

 [60] For example, in an early Cashel _Kalendar_ the monk Dagaeus, who died
      in 586, is recorded to have been both a goldsmith (_aurifex_) and an
      illuminator of manuscripts. Westwood, _Miniatures in Irish
      Manuscripts_, gives a number of excellent coloured reproductions of
      illuminations of this school and also of the Anglo-Celtic school of

 [61] It was formerly believed that this manuscript had once belonged to
      Saint Columba, who lived from 521 to 597, but it is shown by the
      internal evidence of its style to be a century later than Saint
      Columba's time.

 [62] See Westwood, _Irish Manuscripts_, Plate 9.

 [63] See fig. 13 on page 67.

 [64] When the grave of Saint Cuthbert in Durham Cathedral was opened in
      1827, it was found that the Saint's body had been wrapped in rich
      Siculo-Arab silk of the eleventh century at the time when his body
      was moved, in 1104 A.D. See Raine, _St Cuthbert_, Durham, 1828, p.
      183 seq.

 [65] Library of Trinity College, Dublin, manuscripts A, iv. 5.

 [66] See Jamieson, _History of the Ancient Culdees of Iona_; Edinburgh,

 [67] Saint Cuthbert was a monk of Irish descent, at first a member of the
      Celtic monastery of Melrose, and afterwards sixth Bishop of
      Lindisfarne from 685 to 688. In later times his gold, gem-studded
      shrine in Durham Cathedral was one of the most magnificent and costly
      in the world; see _Rites and Monuments of Durham_, Surtees Soc.,
      1842, pp. 3 and 4.

 [68] The works of Symeon Dunelmensis were published by the Surtees Society
      in 1868.

 [69] Now in the Archbishop of Canterbury's library at Lambeth.

 [70] The _Book of Deer_ was first brought to light by Mr Henry Bradshaw,
      and has been published by the Spalding Club, Ed. John Stuart,
      Edinburgh, 1869. The Monastery at Deer in Aberdeenshire was founded
      by Saint Columba as a branch house from Iona.

 [71] The so-called _Itala_ version is the older Latin translation of the
      Bible, which existed previous to the recension of Saint Jerome.

 [72] A very interesting _Psalter_ of similar style and date is preserved
      in the library of St John's College, Cambridge; its ornaments are of
      the unmixed Celtic style, broad in treatment without any of the
      marvellous minuteness of the _Book of Kells_ and the _Book of

 [73] See Westwood, _Irish Manuscripts_, Pl. 16.

 [74] This is one of many examples of Books being called after some earlier
      Saint who was connected with the monastery where the manuscript was
      written; for example the Gospels of Saint Augustine in the Corpus
      library at Cambridge, the Gospels of Saint Cuthbert, and the Gospels
      of Saint Columba, are all later than the dates of the Saints they are
      called after.

 [75] See Weidmann, _Geschichte der Bibliothek von St Gallen_; St Gall,

 [76] This manuscript was formerly believed to have been once in the
      possession of Saint Augustine, but it is clearly a good deal later in
      date than his time.

 [77] Eventually there were three Norse kingdoms in Ireland, the capitals
      of which were Dublin, Waterford and Limerick; and the three chief
      ports of Ireland, Dublin, Cork and Belfast were all founded by the
      Viking invaders; see C. F. Keary's valuable work, _The Vikings in
      Western Christendom_, London, 1891, pp. 165 to 185.

 [78] The blessing in the Greek Church is given by raising three fingers;
      in the Western Church two fingers and the thumb are used.

 [79] See Westwood, _Miniatures of Irish Manuscripts_, London, 1868, Pl. I.
      and II.

 [80] The points of difference between the Roman and Celtic Churches were
      very trivial, the chief being the date for the celebration of Easter
      and the shape of the monastic tonsure.

 [81] See _note 2_ on page 97.

 [82] This very decorative class of ornament not only survived till the
      thirteenth century but was again revived in Italy at the close of the
      fifteenth century; see below, page 193.

 [83] It is mentioned above, see page 62, how Alcuin of York in the reign
      of Charles the Great created the Anglo-Carolingian style of
      illumination by introducing in the eighth century into the kingdom of
      the Franks manuscripts and manuscript illuminators from the
      monasteries of Northumbria.

 [84] Canon G. F. Browne tells me that it is very doubtful whether Wilfrid
      ever received the _pall_ from Rome. It may therefore be more correct
      to speak of him as Bishop rather than Archbishop of York.

 [85] The word "Anglo-Saxon" is a convenient one to use, and is supported
      by various ancient authorities; for example in a manuscript
      _Benedictional_ (in the library of Corpus College, Cambridge) England
      is called "Regnum Anglo-Saxonum," and the English king is entitled
      "Rex Anglorum vel Saxonum."

 [86] This splendid manuscript is in the possession of the Duke of
      Devonshire; a good description of it, with engravings of all its
      miniatures, is published in _Archæologia_, Vol. XXIV. 1832, pp. 1 to
      117, and a coloured copy of one of the miniatures is given by
      Westwood, _Irish Manuscripts_, Plate 45.

      The library of Trinity College, Cambridge, possesses a book of the
      _Gospels_ which in style is very similar to the _Benedictional_ of

 [87] The Gospels of Lothaire are in Paris, _Bibl. Nat. Lat._ 266.

 [88] This is one of the latest examples of the use of vellum dyed with the
      _murex_ purple; the purple grounds occasionally used in fifteenth
      century manuscripts are usually produced by laying on a coat of
      opaque purple pigment.

 [89] Now preserved in the Bodleian library at Oxford.

 [90] The celebrated "Utrecht Psalter" is the best known example of a fine
      manuscript of this date with outline drawings of the revived
      classical style. Some northern influence is shown in the interlaced
      ornaments of the large initials. Facsimiles of some pages have been
      published by W. G. Birch, London, 1876.

 [91] This beautiful roll is now in the British Museum, _Harl._, Roll Y, 6;
      two of the miniatures are photographically illustrated by Birch and
      Jenner, _Early Drawings and Illuminations_, London, 1879, p. 142.

 [92] This _Psalter_, which is now in the public library at Utrecht, may
      possibly be one of the very manuscripts which Canute brought from
      abroad. It was certainly in England for many centuries before it
      passed into the possession of Sir Robert Cotton, from whose library
      it must have been stolen, else it would have passed into the library
      of the British Museum along with the rest of the great Cotton
      collection of manuscripts.

      The _Utrecht Psalter_ has been thought to be the work of an
      Anglo-Saxon artist, but, most probably, it is the work of a French
      scribe, though the miniatures are mainly of the debased classical
      style of Rome, and the character of the writing is even more
      distinctly classical, differing very little in fact from that of the
      fourth century Virgil of the Vatican written several centuries

 [93] Good examples of this curious style of miniature are to be seen in a
      manuscript in the British Museum, _Cotton, Tib._ C. VI.

 [94] Indeed it was not very long before the tables were turned and
      Normandy was reconquered by an English army under a king, who, though
      of Norman blood, was distinctly an English king. The victory of Henry
      I. over Robert, Duke of Normandy, at Tenchebray in 1105, went far to
      wipe out any feeling on the part of the English that they were a
      nation under the rule of a conqueror.

 [95] _Chronicles_ of Robert of Gloucester, Hearne's edition, 1724
      (reprinted in 1810), Vol. I. p. 363.

 [96] An interesting example of this revived study from the life is
      afforded by the Sketch-book of Villard de Honecourt, which is
      mentioned above at page 72.

 [97] See below, page 193, on the revival of this class of ornament in
      Italy in the second half of the fifteenth century.

 [98] This beautiful manuscript is now in the possession of Mr Quaritch,
      who prices it at £800 in his catalogue of December, 1891. It appears
      once to have belonged to Sir Roger Huntingfield, who died about 1337

 [99] It is noticeable that even the earliest miniatures of Saint Thomas'
      death represent him in Mass vestments, officiating at the High Altar,
      whereas he was really killed late in the afternoon, and on the north
      side of the church.

[100] See _Vetusta Monumenta_, Vol. VI. pp. 1 to 37, and Plates 26 to 39;
      illustrations are given here of "the Painted Chamber" and its
      decorations before the fire of 1834, and a number of interesting
      extracts are quoted from the accounts now preserved in the Record

[101] _The Gestes of Antioch_ probably means the capture of Antioch in 1098
      under the Crusader leaders Tancred and Godfrey of Bouillon. In the
      same way the "Jerusalem" and "Jericho chambers" in the house of the
      Abbot of Westminster were so called from the paintings on their
      walls. The curious "archaism" of these paintings, with figures of
      knights in the armour of the eleventh century, is explained below;
      see page 128.

[102] See, for example, that wonderful frontal, covered with miniature
      paintings, from the High Altar of Westminster Abbey, which is now
      preserved in the south ambulatory of the Sanctuary.

[103] Various attempts have been made to show that Torell was an Italian,
      and that the painted retable at Westminster was the work of a foreign
      artist, but there is not the slightest foundation for either of these

[104] As examples of this I may mention the famous "Lateran Cope" in Rome,
      the "Piccolomini Cope" at Pienza, and two others of similar date and
      style in the Museums of Florence and Bologna. On many occasions we
      find that the Popes of this period, on sending the Pall to a newly
      elected English Archbishop, suggested that they would like in return
      embroidered vestments of English work, _opus Anglicanum_. It should
      be observed that in almost all published works on the subject the
      above mentioned copes are wrongly described as being of Italian

[105] Both before and after this period manuscripts of the _Vulgate_ were
      comparatively rare, but between 1250 and about 1330 many thousands of
      manuscript Bibles must have been produced, all closely similar in
      style, design, choice of subject and character of writing. There is
      no other large class of manuscripts in which such remarkable
      uniformity of style is to be seen.

[106] As an example of the wonderful thinness of this uterine vellum, I may
      mention a Bible of about 1260 in my own possession which consists of
      646 leaves, and yet measures barely an inch and a half in thickness.
      In spite of its extreme thinness this vellum is sufficiently opaque
      to prevent the writing on one side from showing through to the other.

[107] For example a Bible of this class in the Cambridge University
      library, dating from about 1280, has from thirteen to seventeen lines
      to an inch!

[108] This method of painting the shadows in pure colour, and using the
      same pigment mixed with white for the rest, was employed on a large
      scale by many of the Sienese painters in the fourteenth century, and
      by the Florentine Fra Angelico in the fifteenth. Fra Angelico's
      earliest works were manuscript illuminations, executed about the year
      1407 in the Dominican Convent at Fiesole.

[109] The Bodleian library (_Douce_, 366) possesses a specially beautiful
      manuscript _Psalter_, which belonged to Robert of Ormsby, a monk of
      Norwich Abbey.

[110] In all periods the Benedictines were the chief monastic scribes and
      miniaturists; the Mother House at Monte Cassino was one of the chief
      centres in Italy for the production of manuscripts, and wherever the
      Benedictines settled they brought with them the art of manuscript
      illumination; see page 211.

[111] This is specially noticeable in the development of the architectural
      styles; not only general forms, but details of mouldings and the like
      seem to spring up all over England almost simultaneously.

[112] See below, fig. 25, page 133.

[113] The first pages of the two last-mentioned _Psalters_ are illustrated
      by Shaw, _The Art of Illumination_, London, 1870, pp. 17 to 23.

[114] An example of the most marvellous beauty and perfection was presented
      by Lady Sadleir to Trinity College library in Cambridge.

[115] The _Victoria Psalter_ is however frequently described in
      booksellers' catalogues, not only in polite, but in enthusiastic
      language. As an example I may quote the following,


        PSALMS OF DAVID ILLUMINATED BY OWEN JONES, _beautifully printed in
        large type, on thin cardboards, on 104 pages, each of which is
        surrounded by_ SUMPTUOUS BORDERS _in_ GOLD _and_ COLOURS, _with
        the_ CAPITALS ILLUMINATED, _and some of the pages consisting of
        large and most beautifully illuminated texts_, columbier 4to.
        _elegantly bound in morocco, the sides elaborately carved, leathern
        joints, and gilt edges_ (A VERY HANDSOME VOLUME), £4. 10_s._

          _n. d._

[116] These same characteristics of face are very noticeable in the
      beautiful carved ivory diptychs and statuettes of the Virgin and
      Child made during the fourteenth century in France and England.

[117] A _lectionary_ contained the _Gospels_ and _Epistles_ arranged for
      use at the celebration of Mass.

[118] Especially for the Canon of the Mass. The famous _Mentz Psalter_ of
      1459 is printed in characters of this size and style; see below, page

[119] The pine-apple was not known in Europe before the discovery of
      America, and this very decorative form, which occurs so largely on
      the fine woven velvets of Florence and Northern Italy, was probably
      suggested by the artichoke plant, largely assisted by the decorative
      invention of the designer.

[120] In the Brera Catalogue this very beautiful painting is wrongly
      ascribed to Fra Carnovale, a pupil of Piero della Francesca.

[121] This very important English manuscript was bought by Mr Quaritch and
      priced at £1600 in his catalogue, No. 291, 1873. It was written in or
      soon after 1420 when Lydgate completed writing his work; it may
      possibly have been written and illuminated by the author himself.

[122] Caxton appears to have begun to use woodcut initials in the year 1484
      or 1485, but most Continental printers continued to use hand-painted
      capitals many years later than that.

[123] This scene and the name of Saint Thomas, wherever it occurs, are
      frequently obliterated in English manuscripts. This was done by the
      special order of Henry VIII., who, after his quarrel with the Pope,
      appears to have regarded Thomas à Becket as a sort of personal enemy.

[124] See page 187 for a fine Italian example of this subject. It is
      interesting to note that the popular legend of Saint George and the
      dragon is simply a mediaeval version of the old classical myth of
      Perseus and Andromeda. In the more genuine Oriental lives of Saint
      George this episode is not introduced.

[125] It should be remembered that Norman-French continued to be the Court
      language of England till late in the fifteenth century, and for
      certain legal purposes even later. Its use still survives in the
      Law-Courts of Quebec and Montreal.

[126] Dante, _Purg._ XI. 80; see above, p. 31.

[127] In the magnificent English embroideries of the thirteenth century,
      such as the Lateran and Pienza copes, mentioned at page 112, we see
      birds of exactly similar style and kinds introduced among the
      scroll-work of the grounds and borders.

[128] The phrase _ivy pattern_ is a convenient one to use, as it expresses
      a very common and well-defined type of ornament, but the leaf is too
      conventionally treated to be recognized as that of the ivy or any
      other plant: and the pattern is varied with blossoms of different
      forms and colours.

[129] See Laborde, _Les Ducs de Bourgogne_, Vol. II. p. 1, and note to p.

[130] The manner in which this splendid effect is produced is described
      below, see page 234.

[131] Shown, for example, in fig. 25, page 134.

[132] The border from the Grimani Breviary shown on page 168, is an
      example, though a very beautiful one, of this decadence of taste.

[133] Now in Paris, _Bibl. Nat. Lat._ 17, 294. John, Duke of Bedford, was a
      son of Henry IV.; he married in 1423 Anne, daughter of the Duke of
      Burgundy. Very fine portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford
      occur in the _Bedford Missal_ mentioned below.

[134] The Italians call it _chiaro-scuro_ or "light and shade" painting;
      its use in manuscripts may have been suggested by the _grisaille_
      stained glass windows which were introduced by the Cistercian monks,
      whose Rule prohibited the use of brightly coloured figure subjects
      either in their windows, on their walls, or in their books.

[135] It was sold for £650 at the Perkins sale in June, 1873.

[136] Christina was one of the most famous authors of her time; she
      produced thirteen different works; one of which, _The Fayts of Armes
      and Chivalry_, was translated and printed by Caxton about a century
      after it was written, in 1489.

[137] A fine manuscript of Christina's _Romance_ is mentioned above, see
      page 138.

[138] These chivalrous romances were no less popular in England; Dan
      Lydgate's _Boke of the siege of Troy_, adapted and translated from
      Guido de' Colonna's romance, was one of the most popular English
      books in the fifteenth century; see page 123.

[139] See Muntz, _Les Peintres d'Avignon_, 1342-1352, Tours, 1885; and _Les
      peintures de Simone Martini à Avignon_, Paris, 1885. Many of these
      paintings still exist in a good state of preservation, especially
      those on the vault of the small private chapel of the Popes.

[140] This subject is discussed at greater length in Chapter XIII.

[141] See page 206 on the favourable conditions under which the monastic
      illuminators did their work.

[142] _Books of Hours_ were the prayer-books of the laity, as the
      _breviary_, _portiforium_, or "_portoos_" was the prayer-book of the

[143] See below, page 230, for an explanation of the difference between
      "mat" gold applied as a fluid pigment with a brush, and burnished
      gold leaf laid over a raised "mordant" or enamel-like ground.

[144] In point of technique these beautiful miniatures are exactly like
      very delicate wood-cuts, though in most cases they appear to have
      been cut (in relief) on blocks of soft metal, treated just as if it
      had been wood.

[145] Perhaps the earliest was one issued in 1486 by Antoine Verard.

[146] In these earliest Parisian printed _Horae_ the backgrounds of the
      borders are left plain white; unlike the later ones, in which the
      borders have dotted or _criblée_ backgrounds.

[147] They include many different _uses_, especially that of Paris, Rome,
      Rouen and Sarum.

[148] Both Verard and Pigouchet produced _Horae_ for the publisher Simon

[149] It is incorrect to speak of _editions_ of these _Books of Hours_;
      hardly any two copies appear to have been quite the same; fresh
      arrangements and combinations of a large stock of engraved blocks
      were made for the printing of almost every copy, and thus the long
      list given by Brunet is very incomplete; see the last volume of
      Brunet's _Manuel du libraire_, Paris, 1865.

[150] Sold in June, 1873, for £181, with the rest of the Perkins library.

[151] A copy of this glory of the printer's art in Mr Quaritch's possession
      is priced in his catalogue of 1891 at £5250; only eight copies are
      known to exist.

[152] In 1449 Schoeffer was a young illuminator of manuscripts residing in

[153] Mentelin was enrolled as an illuminator in the Painters' Guild at
      Strasburg in 1447; and Colard Mansion, Caxton's master in the art of
      typography, belonged, as a scribe and illuminator, to the Guild of St
      John and St Luke at Bruges. In 1471 he was elected Warden or _Doyen_
      of his Guild.

[154] In some cases goldsmiths and engravers of coin-dies became printers
      owing to their knowledge of the technical process necessary for
      cutting the punches for type. The great French printer Nicolas
      Jenson, who produced the most magnificent printed books in Venice,
      was, until the year 1462, Master of the Mint at Tours. And Bernardo
      Neri, the printer of the Florentine _Editio Princeps_ of Homer, was
      originally a goldsmith, and had assisted Ghiberti in his work on the
      famous bronze doors of the Florentine Baptistery.

[155] The glorious copy on vellum of the _Mazarine Bible_ in the British
      Museum has illuminated borders and initial miniatures of the finest
      style and execution. This earliest of printed books is commonly
      called after the copy in the library of Cardinal Mazarin which
      contains the illuminator's note that his work was finished in 1456.
      Sir John Thorold's copy on paper was sold in 1884 for £3900.

[156] Italian books frequently had clasps at the top and bottom as well as
      two at the side.

[157] The first or almost the first book printed by Aldus was the _Hero and
      Leander_ of Musaeus of 1494 in small 4to. The Virgil of 1501 was
      followed rapidly by a Juvenal and a Martial, issued in the same year.

[158] Chinese wood engravings of considerably earlier date do exist.

[159] See page 1373; this remarkable manuscript was then (in 1873) priced
      at £650.

[160] Early wood-cuts were not cut on the cross ends of the grain, but on
      the "plank side" of a wooden board.

[161] The _Cantica Canticorum_ of about 1435 has most lovely designs, and
      the _Apocalypse_, the _Ars Moriendi_, the _Speculum Humanae
      Salvationis_, and the _Biblia Pauperum_ all have wood-cut
      illustrations of great vigour and spirit, produced between about 1420
      and 1450.

[162] Even before 1400 initial letters in manuscripts had been occasionally
      printed from wooden stamps covered with red or blue pigment.

[163] Much of the German bronze-work of this period is extremely fine and
      skilful in execution, such as the fonts and doors of churches at
      Hildesheim, Augsburg and other places. The bronze font at Liége, cast
      about 1112 by a sculptor of the German school, is a work of most
      wonderful grace and beauty.

[164] Till the thirteenth century the art of the Netherlands and Flanders
      was German in character; after that Flanders was, artistically, as
      well as politically, partly Teutonic and partly French.

[165] See above, page 110, for an English example of wall paintings being
      copied from manuscript miniatures.

[166] The National Gallery in London possesses a magnificent panel by
      Gérard David, a kneeling Canon with three standing figures of Saints,
      and an exquisitely painted landscape background. This is one wing of
      an altar triptych which was painted for St Donatian at Bruges. It is
      numbered 1045 in the Catalogue. Paintings by Gérard David's wife are
      mentioned below, see page 218.

[167] The whole of this gorgeous manuscript was published in fairly good
      "facsimile" by Curmer, _Le livre d'Heures de la Reine Anne de
      Bretagne_, 2 Vols. Imp. 410., Paris, 1861; see also Laborde, _Ducs de
      Bourgogne_, Vol. 1. p. xxiv.

[168] A very interesting account of the Flemish illuminators of the
      fifteenth and sixteenth centuries is given by Weale, _Le Beffroi_,
      Vol. iv. 1873, in which he publishes the accounts of the Guild of St
      John and St Luke between the years 1454 and 1500.

[169] Gérard David of Bruges was a notable example of skill in both
      branches of art; see above, page 165. Gérard's wife also practised
      both these arts, and produced manuscript illuminations and panel
      paintings of almost equal beauty to those of her husband; see below,
      page 218.

[170] Maximilian's Prayer-book has been described (with copies of the
      borders) by Stoeger, _Vignettes d'Albert Dürer_; Munich, 1850.

[171] These minutely rendered ecclesiastical scenes occur frequently in
      other classes of Teutonic illumination.

[172] The Fitzwilliam Library possesses a beautiful example of this class
      of pen illumination in a large folio volume of the _Summa_ of Aquinas
      printed by Mentelin about 1465 or 1466.

      Mentelin in his youth was an illuminator of manuscripts in Paris at
      the same time that he was a student in the University; see page 150.

[173] Such work as the Pisan Baptistery pulpit of Niccola Pisano, executed
      in about 1260, was an almost isolated phenomenon, and it was not till
      about half a century later that Giotto and his pupils produced
      paintings of equal merit to those of France and England during the
      second half of the thirteenth century.

[174] See _Mon. Germ. Hist._ XII. p. 348 seq.; and Agincourt, _Hist.
      d'Art_, Pl. 66.

[175] Partly owing to the necessarily decorative beauty of the glass
      _tesserae_, Byzantine mosaics, even of a degraded period, are usually
      fine and rich in effect.

[176] See Vasari, _Vite dei pittori_, Edition of 1568, Parte I. p. 229
      seq.; and _ib._ Milanesi's edition, 1878, Vol. II. pp. 17 to 29.

[177] This enshrined hand, and another, said to be that of a later
      _miniatore_ of the same Monastery, Don Lorenzo, still exist in the
      Sacristy of the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

[178] These magnificent miniatures were sold with the rest of the Hailstone
      Collection in 1891; one of them, in the possession of the present
      writer, is a magnificent initial O, measuring eight by nine inches,
      enclosing a very beautiful seated figure of Saint Stephen in a violet
      dalmatic with richly decorated gold _apparels_.

[179] See Vasari, Milanesi Ed. Vol. II. p. 15. Vasari also mentions a monk
      of the same monastery named Don Jacopo, a contemporary of Don
      Silvestro, who illuminated twenty large choir-books of extraordinary

[180] He appears to have abstained from purchasing these choir-books
      because they were of the special Camaldolese _Use_, and could not
      therefore be used in the Vatican Basilica.

[181] Fra Angelico's works were executed throughout the first half of the
      fifteenth century. Vasari mentions some magnificent manuscripts
      illuminated by him for the Cathedral of Florence, but they are not
      now known to exist.

[182] This is very doubtful. Fra Angelico's brother Fra Benedetto da
      Fiesole was a scribe rather than a miniaturist, and probably only
      wrote the fine large text; the illuminations were probably added by a
      pupil of Fra Angelico, named Zanobi Strozzi, who died in 1468.

[183] As an example of this I may mention Fra Angelico's system of painting
      the shadows of drapery in pure colour, using the same colour mixed
      with white for the rest of the folds. To some extent this method was
      used by the Sienese school of painting, which in other respects
      resembles in style the miniatures in illuminated manuscripts; see
      above, p. 114.

[184] Taking it all round, in painting, sculpture, the medallist's art and
      other branches of the fine arts, no country and no period except
      Athens in the time of Pericles can ever have quite equalled the
      artistic glories of Florence under Cosimo the Elder and Lorenzo de'

[185] _Pontificals_ contain such Services as only Bishops or Archbishops
      could celebrate, and therefore comparatively few would be required.

[186] A beautiful manuscript of about 1460 in the Fitzwilliam Museum has
      its first page surrounded with a border of this class of design, the
      interest of which is much increased by the minutely written
      signature, "Jacopo da Fabriano," introduced among the leavy ornaments
      of the margin.

[187] This kind of design, with a blank space for the owner's arms, is used
      for many of the beautiful wood-cut borders in the early printed books
      of Florence and Venice.

[188] Decorative accessories of this sculpturesque kind are largely used in
      the paintings of Andrea Mantegna of Padua.

[189] And to some extent for manuscripts of religious works as well. This
      archaic form of letter was also used by Sweynheim and Pannartz and
      other prototypographers at Subiaco and in Rome; hence it got the name
      of _Roman_ as opposed to _Gothic_ letter.

[190] One of the finest examples of this style of illumination is in a
      volume of the Italian translation of Pliny's _Natural History_,
      printed on vellum by Nicolas Jenson in Venice in 1476; now in the
      Bodleian at Oxford.

[191] See Wattenbach, _Schriftwesen_, Ed. 2, pp. 411 and 469; and Romer,
      _Les Manuscrits de la Bibl. Corvinienne_, in _l'Art_, Vol. X. 1877.

[192] See Vasari's life of Fra Giovanni da Fiesole, Ed. Milanesi, Vol. II.
      p. 522 seq.

[193] The National Gallery in London possesses (No. 748 in the Catalogue) a
      good example of Girolamo's work, a Madonna altar-piece, signed
      _Hieronymus a libris f._ No. 1134 in the same collection is an
      example of a panel picture by Liberale da Verona. The Bodleian
      contains an exquisite _Book of Hours_ illuminated by Girolamo dai
      Libri for the Duke of Urbino.

[194] The _Antiphonals_ which Liberale illuminated at Monte Oliveto are now
      preserved in the Chapter library at Chiusi. Those which he painted at
      Siena are now in the Cathedral library. Records of money paid to
      Liberale for these choir-books are published by Milanesi, _Documenti
      per la Storia dell' Arte Sanese_, Vol. II. pp. 384-386; and
      Milanesi's edition of Vasari, Vol. V. pp. 326-334.

[195] Examples of Attavante's and Liberale's miniatures are illustrated by
      Eug. Müntz, _La Renaissance en Italie et en France_, Paris, 1885, p.
      188 seq.

[196] See page 200, and compare pages 163 and 175 for examples of similar
      influence due to the manuscript illuminators of Germany and Italy.

[197] For examples of this see above, page 175.

[198] Each of these painters (in some pictures) also signs himself
      _Alamanus_, meaning not necessarily that they were Germans, but
      possibly natives of Lombardy, who were often called _Alamani_ by
      their Italian neighbours.

[199] Especially in his magnificently decorative altar-piece of the
      Adoration of the Magi in the Florentine Academy, dated 1423.

[200] Clovio is the Italianized form of a harsh Croatian name; the artist
      adopted the name Giulio as a compliment to his friend and teacher
      Giulio Romano, Raphael's favourite pupil.

      J. W. Bradley, _Life of Giulio Clovio_, London, 1891, gives an
      interesting account of him and of his times; see also Vasari, Ed.
      Milanesi, Vol. VII. p. 557.

[201] The ex-king of Naples' library possesses a _Book of Hours_, on the
      illuminations of which (Vasari tells us) Giulio Clovio spent nine
      years. It certainly is a marvel of human patience and misdirected
      skill; the text was written by a famous scribe named Monterchi, who
      was specially renowned for the beauty of his writing.

[202] An interesting little volume on this subject has been published by
      Eug. Müntz, _La Bibliothèque du Vatican_, Paris, 1886; it deals
      chiefly with the growth of the library during the sixteenth century.

[203] Fra Sebastiano was called "del Piombo" from his office as
      superintendant of the pendant lead seals, _piombi_ or _bullae_, which
      were attached to Papal Briefs and other documents, one class of which
      were called _Bulls_ from their lead _bullae_.

[204] See Montault, _Livres de choeur des églises de Rome_, Arras, 1874, p.

[205] The Fitzwilliam Museum possesses two noble vellum choir-books of this
      class dated 1604 and 1605. Though the miniatures are poor, the
      writing of the text and the music might well pass for the work of a
      fifteenth century scribe.

[206] A valuable but by no means exhaustive list of manuscript illuminators
      is given by J. W. Bradley, _Dictionary of Miniaturists, Illuminators
      and Caligraphers_, London, 1887. The names of Italian miniaturists
      are specially numerous, partly because Italian manuscripts are more
      frequently signed by their illuminators than the manuscripts of other
      countries. See also Bernasconi, _Studj sopra la storia della pittura
      Italiana dei secoli xiv e xv_, Verona, 1864.

[207] J. R. Green, in his _Short History of the English People_, chap.
      III., gives an interesting sketch of the development of literature
      and the art of the scribe in the great Monasteries of England,
      especially from the eleventh to the fourteenth century.

[208] The carvings on the _misericords_ (or turn-up seats) of choir-stalls
      were frequently a vent for the pent-up humour and even spite of many
      a monastic carver.

[209] The Poems of Walter Map were edited by Thos. Wright for the Camden
      Society, 1841.

[210] Walter Map subsequently obtained various degrees of preferment, and
      in 1197 became Archdeacon of Oxford.

[211] Theophilus, _Schedula diversarum Artium_, I. 30-33, writes as if
      every illuminator had to beat out or grind his own gold.

[212] In this respect, as is noted above at page 33, the manuscripts of
      classical date appear to have been inferior to those of the mediaeval

[213] Monte Cassino the first and chief of the Benedictine monasteries,
      founded by Saint Benedict himself, was for many centuries one of the
      chief centres in Italy for the writing and illumination of

[214] According to the severe Cistercian Rule richly illuminated
      manuscripts were not allowed to be written or even used in Houses of
      that Order, which in England from the end of the twelfth century came
      next in size and importance to the monasteries of the parent
      Benedictine Order.

[215] See the plan of the Abbey of St Gallen, published by Prof. Willis,
      _Arch. Jour._, Vol. v. page 85 seq.

[216] The Abbey of Westminster is a well preserved example of the typical
      Benedictine plan.

[217] One walk of the Benedictine cloister, usually that on the west, was
      used as the school-room where the novices repeated their "Donats" and
      other lessons. Hence in many cloisters one sees the stone benches cut
      with marks for numerous "go-bang" boards--a favourite monastic game.

[218] No monk could borrow a book to read without the express permission of
      his superiors given in the Chapter House.

[219] The word _carrel_ is probably a corruption of the French _carré_,
      from the _square_ form of these little rooms.

[220] When the great Benedictine Abbey of Gloucester was suppressed, Henry
      VIII. made the Church into a Cathedral by creating a new See; and so,
      happily, the very beautiful cloister was saved from destruction.

[221] Gloucester is exceptional in having the cloister on the north side of
      the Church; and also in having these stone recesses in the
      _scriptorium_ alley.

[222] The Gloucester cloister and the carrel recesses shown in this woodcut
      date from the latter part of the fourteenth century.

[223] Published by the Surtees Society, London, 1842; see p. 70.

[224] Frequently in the Linen-armourers' Guild, that of makers of defensive
      armour of linen padded and quilted, a very important protection
      against assassination, which was used till the seventeenth century.

[225] Dante selected the Apothecaries' and Physicians' Guild.

[226] This phrase was used in the twelfth century by Ordericus Vitalis,
      _Hist. Eccles._ Lib. III. p. 77, Ed. Le Prevost.

[227] Mediaeval saddlery, with its cut, gilt and stamped leather (_cuir
      bouillé_), rich and elaborate in design, was a decorative art of no
      mean character; and in technique was akin to that of the bookbinder,
      which in most places was included in the same Guild.

[228] See _Le Beffroi_, Bruges, Vol. IV. 1873.

[229] In poetic beauty, however, they cannot be compared to the glory of
      the French _Apocalypses_ such as that in the library of Trinity
      College, Cambridge.

[230] Gérard David is mentioned above as one of the illuminators of the
      famous Grimani _Breviary_; see page 165.

[231] See pages 117 and 122 for examples of this.

[232] That is, for noting or writing the plain song of certain parts of the
      service which were sung at Christmas and during Holy Week. This
      explanation I owe to my friend Mr J. T. Micklethwaite.

[233] Evidently mis-spelt for _psalterio_; and again in the next item.

[234] The _quaternion_ was a gathering of four sheets of vellum, each
      folded once; thus forming sixteen pages.

[235] This book was partly written on sheets of vellum which were _in
      stauro_ (in stock), and therefore do not come into the accounts.

[236] Twelve quires of vellum which were in stock were also used for this

[237] See _Trans. Bristol and Glouces. Arch. Soc._ Vol. XV. 1891, pp. 257
      and 260.

[238] See Peignot, _Essai sur l'histoire du parchemin et du vélin_, Paris,

[239] Strictly speaking the word _vellum_ should denote parchment made from
      calfskin, but the word is commonly used for any of the finer
      qualities of parchment which were used for manuscripts.

[240] Quoted by Hook, _Lives of Archbishops of Canterbury_, Vol. III. p.
      353; the Rev. Canon G. F. Browne kindly called my attention to this
      passage. Other examples of the cost of vellum are given in the
      preceding chapter.

[241] The same arrangement is to be seen in books printed on vellum.

[242] For example, the mere vellum required to print a small thick folio,
      such as Caxton's _Golden Legend_, would now cost about £40.

[243] I owe many of the facts in the following account of early paper to
      the excellent article on that subject in the _Encyclopædia
      Britannica_, ninth edition, Vol. XVIII. by Mr E. Maunde Thompson. See
      also E. Egger, _Le papier dans l'antiquité et dans les temps
      modernes_, Paris, 1866.

[244] A good illustrated account of early water-marks is given by Sotheby,
      _Principia Typographia_, London, 1858.

[245] Some fifteenth century paper has a special maker's mark, but more
      usually a general town or district mark was used, such as the
      cross-keys, a Cardinal's hat, an Imperial crown or double-eagle.

[246] What is now called "foolscap paper" originally took its name from a
      paper-mark in the form of a _fool's cap and bells_, a device which
      was frequently used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

[247] Some of Caxton's books, printed in Westminster, bear many different
      paper-marks of Germany and Flanders, even in the same volume.

[248] Paper was also made at an early date in Constantinople, through its
      intimate relationship with the East. Hence the Monk Theophilus,
      writing in the eleventh century, calls linen-paper "Greek vellum,"
      _pergamena Graeca_; see I. 24.

[249] This old paper is almost as stout, tough and durable as
      parchment--very unlike modern machine-made paper.

[250] The size was made by boiling down shreds of vellum. Blotting-paper is
      paper that has not been sized. A coarse grey variety was used as
      early as the fifteenth century, though, as a rule, fine sand was used
      for this purpose till about the middle of the present century,
      especially on the Continent.

[251] Modern "shell gold" is practically the same thing as the fluid gold
      of the mediaeval illuminators, except that it is not made with the
      pure, unalloyed metal.

[252] The following are the most useful and easily accessible books on the
      technical processes of the illuminator; Theophilus, _Schedula
      diversarum Artium_, Hendrie's edition with a translation, London,
      1847; Cennino Cennini, _Trattato della pittura_, 1437, edited, with a
      translation, by Mrs Merrifield, London, 1844; and a large and
      valuable collection of early manuscripts on the same subject, edited
      and translated by Mrs Merrifield under the title of _Original
      Treatises on the Arts of Painting_, 2 Vols., London, 1849.

[253] See page 144.

[254] That is to say, it looks as if the whole substance, mordant and all,
      were one solid mass of gold, nearly as thick as a modern
      half-sovereign; see Theophilus, I. 24 and 25.

[255] So when William Torell was about to gild the bronze effigy of Queen
      Eleanor in Westminster Abbey he procured a large number of gold
      florins from Lucca.

[256] Not even the smallest admixture of alloy was permitted in the gold
      coinages of the Middle Ages. Dante (_Inf._ XXX. 73) mentions the
      coiner Maestro Adamo who had been burnt at Romena in 1280 for issuing
      florins which had scarcely more alloy than a modern sovereign.

[257] The gold penny of Henry III. and the florin and its parts of Edward
      III. were only struck as patterns. The gold noble was first issued in
      1341; its value was 6_s._ 8_d._ or half a _mark_. So many nobles were
      destroyed to make gold leaf for illuminating, and for other purposes,
      that an Act was passed prohibiting, under severe penalties, the use
      of the gold coinage for any except monetary purposes.

[258] In the same way the gold leaf used by the Greeks was comparatively
      thick. The famous Erechtheum inscription of 404 B.C. gives one
      drachma as the cost of each leaf ([Greek: petalon]) used for gilding
      the marble enrichments; see _Cor. Ins. Att._ I. 324, fragment C, col.
      ii. lines 35 and 42. Eighteen-pence will now buy 100 leaves of gold.

[259] The best account of the way to make the mordant was given about 1398
      by a Lombard illuminator called Johannes Archerius; see Mrs
      Merrifield's interesting collection of _Treatises on Painting_, Vol.
      I. page 259 seq.

[260] See Theophilus, I. 25.

[261] See Mrs Merrifield, _op. cit._ Vol. I. p. 154.

[262] In Cennino's time, the early part of the fourteenth century, in
      Europe, sugar was sold by the ounce as a costly drug. Apothecaries,
      not grocers, dealt in it. In Persia, Syria and some other Moslem
      countries cane sugar was made and used in comparatively large
      quantities throughout the mediaeval period; but in Europe it did not
      come into use as an article of food till the 16th century, and even
      then it was very expensive.

[263] The date of this receipt is about 1410; it is quoted in Jehan de
      Begue's manuscript published by Mrs Merrifield, Vol. I. pp. 9, 95,
      and 154; see also Theophilus, I. 31, who speaks of burnishing fluid
      gold laid on a mordant of red lead and cinnabar.

[264] See Theophilus, I. 33 and 34; he recommends white of egg as a medium
      for ceruse, minium and carmine, and for most other pigments, ordinary
      vellum _size_.

      Jehan le Begue's manuscript gives the same advice as to the use of
      white of egg, but advises the use of gum Arabic with other pigments;
      see § 197.

[265] The British Museum possesses an interesting manuscript on pigments,
      entitled _De coloribus Illuminatorum_ (Sloane manuscripts, 1754); see
      also Eraclius, _De artibus Romanorum_, published by Raspe, London,
      1783 and 1801; and the twelfth century _Mappae Clavicula_ printed in
      _Archæologia_, Vol. XXXII. pp. 183 to 244. The first book of
      Theophilus, _Diversarum artium schedula_, written in the eleventh
      century, contains much interesting matter on this subject; see also
      the works mentioned above at page 230.

[266] _The Journal of the Society of Arts_, Dec. 25, 1891, and Jan. 8 and
      15, 1892, has a valuable series of papers on "The pigments and
      vehicles of the Old Masters" by Mr A. P. Laurie, who throws new light
      on the treatises edited by Mrs Merrifield with the help of his own
      chemical investigations.

[267] This word is spelt in many different ways.

[268] In mediaeval times this was done by first embedding the powdered
      stone in a lump of wax and resin, from which the blue particles were
      laboriously extracted by long-continued kneading and washing. The
      theory of this apparently was that the wax held the colourless
      particles and allowed the blue to be washed out; see Mrs Merrifield,
      _Treatises on Painting_, Vol. I. pp. 49, and 97 to 111.

[269] The modern value of ultramarine is about equal to its weight in gold.
      Sir Peter Lely, in the time of Charles II., paid £4. 10_s._ an ounce
      for it.

[270] The Prior in question was the Superior of the Convent of the Frati
      Gesuati in Florence.

[271] The German blue was also liable to turn to a bright emerald green if
      exposed to damp air. This change has taken place in a great part of
      the painted ceilings of the Villa Madama, which Raphael designed for
      Cardinal de' Medici (afterwards Clement VII.) on the slopes of Monte
      Mario, a little distance outside the walls of Rome.

[272] Because it was used by goldsmiths in _soldering gold_.

[273] _Minium_ was largely used in the manuscripts of classical times; this
      is mentioned by Pliny (_Hist. Nat._ XXXIII. 122) who says _minium in
      voluminum quoque scriptura usurpatur_.

[274] All natural earthy pigments owe their colours to the various metals,
      which in combinations with different substances give a great variety
      of tints. Thus, _iron_ gives red, brown, yellow and black; _copper_
      gives many shades of brilliant blues and greens; and _manganese_
      gives a quiet purple, especially in combination with an alcaline

[275] Plutarch (_De defec. Or._ § 41) mentions flour made from beans as
      being used with _murex_ purple and _kermes_ crimson to give them
      sufficient body for the painter's purpose.

[276] Kermes is the Arabic name for this insect.

[277] It should be remembered that a large number of the mediaeval receipts
      and processes were not based on any reasonable principle, and endless
      complications were often introduced quite needlessly; this is well
      shown in a very interesting paper by Prof. John Ferguson of Glasgow
      on _Some Early Treatises on Technological Chemistry_, read before the
      Philos. Soc. Glasgow, Jan. 6, 1886.

[278] The use of litharge as a drier was one of the most important
      improvements made in the technique of oil painting by the Van Eycks
      of Bruges in the first half of the fifteenth century. Before then,
      oil paintings on walls had often been laboriously dried by holding
      charcoal braziers close to the surface of the picture. Among the
      accounts of the expenses of painting the Royal Palace of Westminster
      in the thirteenth century (see above, page 110) charcoal for this
      purpose is an important item in the cost. Paintings on panel, being
      moveable, were usually dried by being placed in the sun; but, in
      every way, a good drier like litharge answers better than heat,
      either of the fire or of sunshine.

[279] See Theophilus, I. 39.

[280] See Vitruvius, VII. 10; and Pliny, _Hist. Nat._ XXXV. 41; and
      Dioscorides, V. 183.

[281] Sometimes accidentally produced in domestic life by some overdrawn
      tea remaining on a steel knife.

[282] The modern "lead-pencil" is wrongly named, being made of _graphite_,
      which is pure carbon. This does not appear to have been used in
      mediaeval times.

[283] The vellum was not prepared in any way to receive the silver-point
      drawing; but when an artist wanted to make a finished study in
      silver-point he covered his vellum or paper with a priming of fine
      _gesso_, powdered marble, or wood-ashes; this gave a more biting
      surface to the paper, and made the silver rub off more easily and
      mark much more strongly. In the case of manuscript illuminations a
      strongly marked line was not needed, as the outline was only intended
      as a guide to the painter.

[284] See above, pages 29 and 30, on the pens and inkstands of the
      classical scribes.

[285] Usually meant for Saint Jerome translating or revising the Latin
      edition of the Bible.

[286] Again, the first miniature in the French and Flemish _Horae_ usually
      represents _Saint John in Patmos_ writing his Gospel. The eagle
      stands by patiently holding the Evangelist's inkhorn. In some
      manuscripts the Devil, evidently in much awe of the eagle's beak,
      makes a feeble attempt to upset the ink. In the latest manuscript
      _Horae_ this scene is replaced by the one of _Saint John at the Latin

[287] A two-columned page of text had, of course, two sets of framing
      lines, one for each patch of writing.

[288] In some manuscripts lines are ruled in blue or purple, but much less
      frequently than in the more decorative vermilion.

[289] In certain classes of books, such as large Bibles and Prayer-books,
      the custom of ruling red lines lasted till the present century.

[290] These guiding letters were used in all the early printed books which
      had initials painted in by an illuminator.

[291] As a rule these manuscript signatures in printed books were written
      close to the edge of the page, and so have been cut off by the
      binder; in some tall copies, however, they still exist.

[292] The next stage was the numbering of each _folio_ or leaf, and the
      last system was to number each page. Folios appear to have been first
      numbered in books printed at Cologne about the year 1470. A further
      modification has recently been introduced, namely, in two column
      pages, to number each column separately.

[293] The _Lectionary_ mentioned on p. 120 was written and signed by a
      monastic scribe called Sifer Was.

[294] Some fine examples of magnificently bound manuscripts are illustrated
      by Libri, _Monumens inédits_; _Hist. Ornam._ Paris, 1862-1864.

[295] In Geyler's _Fatuorum Navicula_, of which many editions, copiously
      illustrated with woodcuts, were published shortly before and after
      the year 1500, the cut showing the first fool of the series, the
      Bibliomaniac, represents him surrounded with books, all of which are
      bound after this design.

[296] A complete sixteenth century Venetian library, consisting of a
      hundred and seventy volumes, all with painted illuminations on their
      edges, is now in the library of Mr Thos. Brooke, at Armitage Bridge,
      near Huddersfield. The whole collection forms a beautiful array of
      delicately painted miniatures, mostly the work of Cesare Vecellio, a
      Venetian illuminator of the latter part of the sixteenth century; see
      _Catalogue of Mr Brooke's library_, London, 1891, Vol. II., pp. 663
      to 681.

[297] An analogous change took place in the reign of Elizabeth in England
      when coins, which up to that time had always been made by hammering,
      were first struck by the "mill and screw."

[298] In the miniature pictures in manuscripts of the fourteenth and
      fifteenth centuries one often sees ladies represented with their
      _Horae_ suspended in this way from their girdle.

[299] See page 167.

[300] See page 167.

[301] The same want of appreciation extends to bindings. As a rule a book
      in a fine mediaeval binding sells for no more than if it were in a
      modern binding by Bedford. It is only the sixteenth century bindings
      of so-called "Grolier style" and the like which add largely to the
      value of a book.

[302] This library is now deposited in the Guildhall; the press-mark is
      probably that of an old monastic library.

[303] Probably a blundered version of Pliny's statement (_Hist. Nat._
      XXXVII. 119) that azure blue (_cyanus_) was invented by a king of

[304] This is evidently a different thing from the _epicausterium_ or
      brazier for hot coals mentioned below. My friend Mr J. T.
      Micklethwaite suggests that it was a board covered with leather on
      which to stretch and dry vellum before writing on it.

[305] An explanation of the nature and constitution of the Breviary will be
      found in the preface to the Psalter-volume of the Cambridge
      University Press edition of the Sarum Breviary, lately published.

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