BIBLES AND BESTIARIES: A Guide to Illuminated Manuscripts by Elizabeth B. Wilson
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BIBLES AND BESTIARIES: A Guide to Illuminated Manuscripts

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Using the vast resources of the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City, Wilson has created this exciting and beautiful history of the illuminated manuscript. In her introduction, Wilson explains the importance of manuscripts in medieval times: The cost of a large and lavishly illustrated volume could be about the same as that of building a medium-size cathedral, she informs us. These were clearly no ordinary books. A single one could take years to complete, and Wilson explains everything from parchment preparation to how scribes handled errors in the text. (One picture shows a phrase that had been left out being carried from the margin by a little creature and a man as another man points to the spot where it belonged.) She describes the scriptorium, the origins of the codex, and traces the changes in the illuminated manuscript from early medieval times through the printing of the Gutenberg Bible in the 15th century. (To ease readers into the new technology, ruled lines were added to the Gutenberg Bible, though of course there was no need for them.) Nearly 100 photographs are included, with detailed captions that are as interesting and informative as the main body of text. A glorious book, both fascinating and gorgeously presented.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: FSG