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Weekly Photo Challenge …Illumination

January 15, 2013

These ‘lights’ never fail to delight me especially when I consider that the light required for such intricate work was limited only to daylight as any other form of lighting such as candles would have be considered unsafe for their valuable work and forbidden.  

This illumination is from the Book of Hours.Like many medieval manuscripts it has richly illuminated borders and miniatures.  From the late antiquity it became to be the practice to enlarge the the first letter and filling in with colour. The earlier Irish manuscripts at the beginning of the 7th century show text divided into sections each marked with big pen work initial ornamented with interlaced patterns and simple animal forms.  For the next eight hundred years even the humblest text manuscripts usually opened with an enlarged initial on the first page and indicated chapters in the text with slightly smaller capitals.  Medieval books have no title pages; the opening initial or illumination introduced or announced the beginning of the work.

2012-07-23 17.55.57

For further reading Medieval craftsmen ; scribes and illumination by Christopher de Hamel2012-07-23 17.55.22


2 Comments leave one →
  1. theculturegirl permalink
    January 17, 2013 2:58 pm

    Great post and photos, I love looking at manuscript illuminations, especially to see if they can tell us a bit more about the text, or indeed the illuminator himself.

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