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Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts
 Detail from the Roman de la Rose
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An introduction to illuminated manuscripts

Overview Before 800 800-1000 1000-1200 1200-1400

5: 1400 - 1600

The late Middle Ages and Renaissance witnessed an increase in the purchasing power of secular patrons. Elaborate copies of historical and literary texts joined devotional works, along with a rediscovery by the Italian humanists of the texts and artistic styles of Antiquity. In the southern Netherlands the so-called 'Northern Renaissance' flourished in the book arts, with artists whose work was closely related to the new genre of panel painting. Handmade books increasingly gave way to printed editions with the advent of moveable type from the 1450s, although manuscripts continued to be produced, particularly for wealthy patrons.

(Click on an image for an enlarged view and detailed description.)


Additional 24189, f.16 (detail)
An early fifteenth-century Bohemian manuscript of illustrations (without text) to the Travels of Sir John Mandeville.
Additional 24189, f.16 (detail)


Harley 4431, f.178 (detail)
An early fifteenth-century manuscript written in Paris by Christine de Pisan, a remarkable woman who earned her living by her pen.
Harley 4431, f.178 (detail)


Additional 28962, f.281v
A mid-fifteenth-century Book of Hours made in Spain for King Alphonso V of Aragon, who features in some of the illumination.
Additional 28962, f.281v


Additional 15710, f.4 (detail)
A fifteenth-century manuscript of the Life of St Francis written and illuminated by a German nun.
Additional 15710, f.4 (detail)


Additional 34294, f.41
The remarkable Sforza Hours, made for Bona Sforza in late fifteenth-century Milan, and augmented in the southern Netherlands in the early sixteenth century.
Additional 34294, f.41


Kings 24, f.101v (detail)
A late fifteenth-century manuscript of works of Vergil, written by a famous Italian scribe Bartolomeo Sanvito.
Kings 24, f.101v (detail)


Additional 24098, f.20v (detail)
The Golf Book, the fragmentary remains of a sixteenth-century Book of Hours containing a calendar, with illumination by the Bruges artist Simon Bening.
Additional 24098, f.20v (detail)


Overview Before 800 800-1000 1000-1200 1200-1400

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