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Tablets of wood, or sometimes ivory, were used as writing surfaces in two ways: either INK was applied on them; or they were hollowed out and filled with wax so that one could write with a STYLUS. Along with the ROLL, the tablet was the principal writing vehicle during ANTIQUITY, being used for informal purposes, teaching, letters, drafting, and for records (such as letters of citizenship). The gradual substitution of sheets of PARCHMENT for wood or ivory may well have stimulated the development of the CODEX form. Tablets continued to be used into the twentieth century for informal financial accounts (by French fishermen, for example). During the Middle Ages, they fulfilled a variety of functions: drafting texts; trying out artistic designs; recording liturgical commemorations; note taking during study; accounting and legal contexts; as proto-Filofaxes; and as love tokens filled with amorous poetry. Tablets ranged in format from robust teaching tablets to portable GIRDLE BOOKS. Although different colours of wax were used, black and green predominated. A number of tablets were sometimes bound together with leather thongs or within a leather case. Tablets were also made with handles (the tabula ansata), whose shape could serve as a decorative motif.


The foot or lower end of a manuscript.


Harley MS 2595, f. 69v

A panel of ornament, sometimes containing a RUBRIC or COLOPHON, which stands at the end of a text. See also HEADPIECE.


Tanning is the process of manufacturing leather by soaking animal skin in tannin, an acidic substance made from tree bark, GALLNUTS, or a similar plant source. Tanning gives the leather a red-brown coloration.



The celebration of christological feasts (including Christmas, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost) and the section of a liturgical book containing the texts for those feasts. The temporale also includes the saints' feast days celebrated between December 24 and January 13 because of their close association with the Christmas season. For the MASS, the temporale, together with the SANCTORALE, the Common of Saints, and the invariable canon and ordinary of the mass, provides the order of services for the liturgical year.



Harley MS 3448, f. 10v Harley MS 621, f. 369v Arundel MS 117, ff. 147v-148

A style and technique of ILLUMINATION in which the outlines of the subject are drawn in black or coloured INK and tints of coloured wash are applied to all or some of the surfaces to suggest modelling. Tinted drawing was particularly popular in ANGLO-SAXON England and enjoyed a revival in thirteenth-century England in the work of Matthew Paris and the Court School of Henry III. The technique is sometimes used in conjunction with FULLY PAINTED elements. See also OUTLINE DRAWING.



Egerton MS 759, f. 2

A decorative panel or page carrying the title of a work, or a label on a BINDING. The positioning and style of a title piece can reveal a great deal about PROVENANCE and methods of library storage.


A book in which antiphons, responsories, and other chants of the MASS and DIVINE OFFICE are classified according to the eight musical modes. Independent tonaries first appear in the CAROLINGIAN period but are rare. The tonary is more often incorporated into liturgical books, such as the ANTIPHONAL, the GRADUAL, and the TROPER.


Egerton MS 272, lower cover

Tooling is the decoration of a surface with the aid of metal hand tools and stamps (a technique employing the latter being termed stamped). On BINDINGS, the tools were used to impress the decoration into the leather covering, which was often dampened. The impression or indentation produced is called blind if it remains uncoloured. Gold tooling became popular in the fifteenth century. In this process, gold leaf was laid onto a coating of glair and impressed into the leather with a heated tool, leaving an image in gold after the excess was rubbed away. Gilded surfaces (see GILDING) in ILLUMINATION were also sometimes tooled.


Yates Thompson MS 26, f. 2

The term refers to the style practiced in European art from about 1180 to 1220, that is, in the period of transition between the ROMANESQUE and the GOTHIC. The most notable characteristic of this art is its stylistic experimentation, partly stimulated by a heightened interest in BYZANTINE art, as in the work of some of the illuminators of the Winchester BIBLE. The Transitional Style also shows a shift from some of the more decorative, MANNERED effects of Romanesque art toward a greater degree of NATURALISTIC rendering.


Yates Thompson MS 7, f. 101v Burney MS 132, f. 2

A French expression meaning 'deceives the eye', trompe l'oeil describes painting in which things are made to appear to be resting on or projecting from the surface of the picture.


A book containing tropes, that is, musical and textual additions to the chants of the MASS or DIVINE OFFICE. Tropers are known from the early Middle Ages On.


The edges of the covering material of a BINDING, which are folded over the HEAD, TAIL, and FORE EDGE of the BOARDS and secured to their inner sides.


Harley MS 1526, f. 6v Stowe MS 7, ff. 28v-29

Typology is an interpretive system in Christian thought wherein people, events, and passages of the Old Testament are seen as prefigurations of New Testament themes. The system is designed to prove that the New Testament is a fulfilment of the Old. The sacrifice of Isaac, for example, foretells the Crucifixion; David is a type of Christ; and the stories of Jonah and the whale and Daniel in the lions' den prefigure Christ's Passion and Resurrection. Although encountered during the early Middle Ages, typological juxtapositions become more frequent in art from the eleventh century on. See also BIBLE MORALISÉE and BIBLIA PAUPERUM.

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