Book Series Manuscripts in the Making, vol. 3

The Art & Science of Illuminated Manuscripts: A Handbook

Stella Panayotova (ed)

  • Pages: 528 p.
  • Size:190 x 255 mm
  • Illustrations:830 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2021

  • ISBN: 978-1-912554-59-1
  • Hardback
  • Available

This publication was included in the "CHOICE 2022 Outstanding Academic Title List".

Designed to provide a guide for art historians, conservators and manuscript scholars to understand and support the increasingly popular cross-disciplinary research efforts focused on non-invasive scientific analyses of illuminated manuscripts.


“Unlike so many recently published “handbooks” with often sparse general information and poor quality illustrations, this lengthy and spectacularly illustrated volume has a modest subtitle that thoroughly underestimates its immense value and likely influence. The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts: A Handbook is highly recommended to all interested in illustrated manuscripts, their description, analysis, production, and conservation. Many of its case studies, furthermore, could be assigned to students as models of the best research practices and as examples of how to write meticulous technical analysis with clarity and precision.” (Richard K. Emmerson, in The Medieval Review, 21.09.21)


The results achieved by the research of the pioneering MINIARE research project based at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge led to the ground-breaking and acclaimed 2016 exhibition "COLOUR: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts." This was followed by an international Conference, in which art historians, paper and book conservators, and cultural heritage scientists were brought together to share new recent research not only on manuscripts but also on painting in other media. The Conference proceedings were published in the first two volumes of the HMMIMA series (2017-2018). The present publication includes 6 Essays by way of introducing and explaining the major topics being investigated, including the range of inks, pigments and paint binders used by illuminators; parchment-making; pigment recipes; and model books. The many analytical instruments and techniques that are used to investigate manuscripts are also discussed. Then follow 58 Case Studies of manuscripts from as early as the year 700 up to c.1600. All these are fully illustrated in colour and in great detail, and should act as examples to inform scholars in libraries, museums and other cultural institutions of the benefits of adding scientific tools to the range of methods used to investigate manuscripts.


Preface and Acknowledgements
Analytical teams

Essay 1
Introduction: The Integrated Analyses of Illuminated Manuscripts
Stella Panayotova

Essay 2
Pigment Recipes and Model Books
Mechanisms for Knowledge Transmission and the Training of Manuscript Illuminators
Nancy K. Turner and Doris Oltrogge

Essay 3
Science of the Book
Analytical Methods for the Study of Illuminated Manuscripts
Paola Ricciardi and Catherine Schmidt Patterson

Essay 4
From Pelt to Painted Page
Western Medieval Manuscript Parchments
Edward Cheese

Essay 5
Painting Materials and Techniques in Byzantine and Slavonic Illuminated Manuscripts, c.800
Elina Dobrynina

Essay 6
Painting Materials and Techniques in Western Illuminated Manuscripts c.600
Stella Panayotova

Case Studies
58 highly detailed case studies of manuscripts from as early as the year 700 up to c.1600.
All these are fully illustrated in colour and provide stimulating examples to guide conservation departments in collections, museums and other laboratories in applying scientific investigation into works of art.

Index of Works of Art Cited

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