MANUSCRIPT AND ART PRODUCTION
Guest Edited by Dr David Rundle (MEMS, University of Kent) and Dr Alison Ray (Assistant Archivist, Canterbury Cathedral)
The following resources highlight methods of manuscript production and the relationship between decoration and text:
Medieval England and France, 700-1200 - this curated website explores manuscript production, art, and historical context as part of a collaborative digitisation project, The Polonsky Foundation England and France Project: Manuscripts from the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, 700–1200. The website features articles, manuscript images as well as a series of videos including the stages of making a medieval manuscript by calligrapher Patricia Lovett and scribes in England after the Norman Conquest by Prof. Julia Crick (King's College London).
Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, British Library - this online gallery of digital manuscript images allows users to search by keyword, including image description, place of origin, text author and script. The site also contains a useful glossary of terms and virtual exhibitions with introductions to illuminated manuscripts, Bible and liturgical manuscripts, and secular texts including Arthurian and historical works.
Discovering Sacred Texts - the British Library's Sacred Texts website explores the religious works of some of the world's faiths, from Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and the Baha’i Faith, Jainism and Zoroastrianism. With growing research into the Global Middle Ages, this site provides a fascinating insight into manuscript production, use and reader practices from across the world through articles, digitised materials, videos, and teaching resources for schools. Sacred Texts is complemented by the British Library's digitised collection of Hebrew manuscripts.
Manuscripts, The J. Paul Getty Museum - the website of the Getty's Department of Manuscripts is a useful resource featuring virtual exhibitions hosted by Google Arts and Culture of the illuminated manuscripts held in the collections, and videos on the production of manuscripts and topics including the science of colour and the medieval calendar.
The Book of Hours, Metropolitan Museum of Art - the website of The Met includes a number of art historical essays on the collections, highlighting the relationship between manuscript decoration and other medieval and Renaissance art forms. This article on the Book of Hours discusses the production, readership, and decoration of a medieval bestseller with images of the collections and further reading.
Illuminated - Manuscripts in the Making - the Fitzwilliam Museum presents an online exhibition of medieval manuscripts in their collections, accompanied by details of their historical context, texts and decoration and provides a helpful overview of artists' materials and techniques.
One particular form of manuscript production in some university settings, particularly those of Bologna and Paris, was the 'pecia' system: this was a process of hiring out exemplars by the part (thus 'pecia' for 'piece') for copying. It was a system which developed in the thirteenth century. Jean-Luc Deuffic provides a useful short article and up-to-date bibliography on the Bibliologie Médiévale website. The most recent work on the pecia system during its heyday in Paris is the PhD dissertation by Alison Ray.
Resource page updated by Amilia Gillies. Last updated 11/12/23.