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 Detail from the Roman de la Rose
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Arundel MS 68, f. 12

A note recording a death. Obits were often entered into liturgical CALENDARS to commemorate the deceased and can provide valuable PROVENANCE information.


Burney MS 345, f. 5 Harley MS 2980, f. 9 Additional MS 24098, f. 18v

A CALENDAR incorporating a series of illustrations, ultimately of classical origin, that depict the labours appropriate to each of the months (for example, the labour for June is reaping, that for August, mowing). Images of the labours of the months began to appear in calendar decoration, along with zodiacal signs, in the ninth and tenth centuries and became increasingly elaborate and prominent during the later Middle Ages. The scenes were usually agrarian in character, but some fifteenth-century manuscripts (notably the Très Riches Heures of Jean de Berry and the Sforza Hours) juxtaposed these with scenes from courtly life.


The first eight books of the Old Testament.


A volume measuring one-eighth the size of a full sheet of writing material, in which the QUIRES are usually produced by folding a sheet in half, in half again, and in half once more. It may be abbreviated to 8o or 8vo.



A guide to the celebration of the LITURGY, usually including instructions for liturgical actions to be carried out by the clergy.


The place of origin of a manuscript is seldom recorded (unless mentioned in a COLOPHON) and has to be assessed by a study of the book's contents, patronage, method of production, and PROVENANCE. The USE of a liturgical manuscript is not necessarily an indicator of its place of origin, since the major uses enjoyed a wide geographical currency.


Certain orthographical, or spelling, variants may assist in localizing a manuscript. The INSULAR ss, for example, is a common variant of s. Orthographical practices can also help in the identification of SCRIBES.


Egerton MS 608, f. 134

The Saxon Liudolfing, or Ottonian, dynasty ruled the East Frankish component of the CAROLINGIAN Empire from 919 to 1024. The dynasty's extensive patronage, along with that of its clerics and courtiers, encouraged the arts, contributing considerably to the transition from early medieval into ROMANESQUE. During this period art, religion, and politics were inextricably linked, with an emphasis on the interrelationship of Church and state and on the divine sanction of imperial rule. Stylistically, there was a noticeable continuity with Carolingian art, coupled with influences from Italy, ANGLO-SAXON England and, most important, from BYZANTINE art. The marriage of Otto II (955-983) to a Byzantine princess, Theophano, who would later act as regent for her son, the future Otto III (980-1002), played a significant role in transmitting Byzantine influences to the West. Many of the books of this period are sumptuously illuminated liturgical volumes, featuring a frequently iconic approach to images (see ICON), an opulent use of gold and PURPLE PAGES, and an emphasis on the PATRON. The largely itinerant Ottonian court was instrumental in stimulating the production of manuscripts (principally those of the Liuthar Group), with monastic SCRIPTORIA such as those at Reichenau, Regensburg, and Echternach producing many important illuminated books.


Arundel MS 155, f. 9v

A style of ILLUMINATION in which only the outlines of the figure or object are drawn, in black or coloured INK. There appears to have been a classical tradition of outline drawing that was adopted and developed in INSULAR, ANGLO-SAXON, and CAROLINGIAN art. In an illumination, the technique could be used exclusively or in conjunction with FULLY PAINTED elements. Outline drawing remained particularly popular in England, although it is occasionally found elsewhere in the West and in BYZANTINE art. It was also frequently employed in the rendering of diagrams. See also TINTED DRAWING.


Overpainting refers to the finished painting that is executed over a drawing or preliminary underpainting. The term also describes the technique of layering paints to extend the colour range.


Burney MS 2, f. 2 Harley MS 3030, f. 3v Arundel MS 255, [first leaf]

A chemical reaction resulting from exposure to oxygen. This can cause certain metal-based PIGMENTS (notably silver and white, yellow, or red lead) to fade and/or turn a silver-black and to bleed. A coating of glair (see BINDING MEDIUM) is thought to reduce such tendencies in certain cases, but the conditions in which a manuscript is stored and the length of exposure to adverse atmospheric conditions seem to determine the extent of oxidation.

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