Illuminated manuscripts

Wonder at these amazing hand-painted books of past ages and marvel at the vibrant colours used – these are works of art that were made for bishops, kings and queens.
Before the introduction of printing to Western Europe during the mid-15th century, all books were written by hand, a process that was slow and demanding, sometimes routinely laborious, yet often creatively glorious. The most luxurious manuscripts were ‘illuminated’ with the addition of brightly-coloured decoration and burnished gold leaf. They are among the most dazzling and intriguing objects ever created, and the British Library’s collection is one of the finest in the world. The selection here can only hint at the breadth and depth of this collection which spans almost 1,000 years of history, and reflects a range of countries, cultures, languages and faiths.

Coronation book of Charles V of France

Coronation Order of Charles V, f.69

View images from this item  (4)

Copyright: © British Library

Phulban - a Persian romance

Phulban by Ibn Nishati

View images from this item  (1)

Indian miniature painting

Indian Miniature Painting

View images from this item  (1)

Miscellany of Iskandar Sultan

The opening of Timur’s grandson Iskandar Sultan’s pocket miscellany, f.2v

View images from this item  (1)

The text in this article is available under the Creative Commons License.