Session Title

The Making of Medieval Manuscripts: Analyzing the Materials and Methods of Scribes, Compilers, and Artists

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Research Group on Manuscript Evidence

Organizer Name

Sarah J. Biggs

Organizer Affiliation

British Library/Courtauld Institute of Art

Presider Name

Mildred Budny

Presider Affiliation

Research Group on Manuscript Evidence

Paper Title 1

Peter of Blois's Letters and the Manipulus florum: Editorial Agency in Thomas of Ireland's Reception of Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS latin 16714

Presenter 1 Name

Chris L. Nighman

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Wilfrid Laurier Univ.

Paper Title 2

Through Artists’ Recipe Books: Knowledge in and Transmission of Late Medieval Illuminators’ Recipe Books

Presenter 2 Name

Sylvie Neven

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. de Liège/Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte

Paper Title 3

Pigment Analysis on a Low Budget: Low Tech / High Yields with a Digital Camera

Presenter 3 Name

Deidre Jackson

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Fitzwilliam Museum

Paper Title 4

Precious Gold: Medieval Orpiment and the Search for a Divine Yellow

Presenter 4 Name

Sarah J. Biggs

Start Date

11-5-2013 10:00 AM

Session Location

Schneider 1280

Description

Our session addresses the complex interface between the study of medieval manuscripts and the course of transmission of knowledge for, and the application in practice of, medieval techniques for preparing their materials, texts, compilations, and illuminations. The reports offer an interlinked focus integrating recent work on pigments and related materials in manuscripts with the close textual study of the transmission of knowledge (then and now) for the materials and methods of shaping — or reshaping — medieval manuscripts, compilations, and illuminations. The combination addresses broad and focused groups of manuscripts integrating the evidence of textual as well as material features with techniques of analysis, both time-honored and newly evolving.

The papers report advances in manuscript studies through enhanced digital-imaging techniques, particularly at The British Library and The Fitzwilliam Museum. This rapidly developing field of research offers significant non-destructive analysis of pigments, their composition, and their methods of application. The results offer wide-ranging implications for the study of medieval manuscript illuminations and embellishments of many kinds. Case-studies reported here include a feasible, relatively low-cost, and effective method of digital imaging (as applied to a Book of Hours by the Rohan Masters) and a reconsideration of the widespread medieval use — despite multiple cautions against — the potentially destructive pigment orpiment, as found, for example, in the Lindisfarne Gospels, some Paris Bibles, and various Persian and Icelandic codices.

Our session also reports a close systematic examination of the corpus of recipe manuscripts dating from about 1300 to 1500 (produced mostly in Northern Europe), so as to evaluate the written transmission of craft knowledge for medieval illuminators, embracing the preparation of pigments, inks, glues, gilding, and imitations thereof. With focus upon the “Strasbourg Tradition” within the corpus, it is possible to check the correspondence (or otherwise) between the written tradition and contemporary practices through the technical and analytical examination of certain Alsatian illuminated manuscripts.

Highlighting other methods of analysis for medieval manuscript study, the general editor of the online critical edition of the influential Manipulus florum complied by Thomas of Ireland provides a philological and historical analysis of Thomas’s own copy of the florilegium of the letters of Peter of Blois (now in the Bibliothèque nationale de France). The study considers the detailed evidence for his methods of editorial manipulation in shaping this copy, as revealed by close comparison with his source manuscript for the text, which also survives.

Mildred Budny

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May 11th, 10:00 AM

The Making of Medieval Manuscripts: Analyzing the Materials and Methods of Scribes, Compilers, and Artists

Schneider 1280

Our session addresses the complex interface between the study of medieval manuscripts and the course of transmission of knowledge for, and the application in practice of, medieval techniques for preparing their materials, texts, compilations, and illuminations. The reports offer an interlinked focus integrating recent work on pigments and related materials in manuscripts with the close textual study of the transmission of knowledge (then and now) for the materials and methods of shaping — or reshaping — medieval manuscripts, compilations, and illuminations. The combination addresses broad and focused groups of manuscripts integrating the evidence of textual as well as material features with techniques of analysis, both time-honored and newly evolving.

The papers report advances in manuscript studies through enhanced digital-imaging techniques, particularly at The British Library and The Fitzwilliam Museum. This rapidly developing field of research offers significant non-destructive analysis of pigments, their composition, and their methods of application. The results offer wide-ranging implications for the study of medieval manuscript illuminations and embellishments of many kinds. Case-studies reported here include a feasible, relatively low-cost, and effective method of digital imaging (as applied to a Book of Hours by the Rohan Masters) and a reconsideration of the widespread medieval use — despite multiple cautions against — the potentially destructive pigment orpiment, as found, for example, in the Lindisfarne Gospels, some Paris Bibles, and various Persian and Icelandic codices.

Our session also reports a close systematic examination of the corpus of recipe manuscripts dating from about 1300 to 1500 (produced mostly in Northern Europe), so as to evaluate the written transmission of craft knowledge for medieval illuminators, embracing the preparation of pigments, inks, glues, gilding, and imitations thereof. With focus upon the “Strasbourg Tradition” within the corpus, it is possible to check the correspondence (or otherwise) between the written tradition and contemporary practices through the technical and analytical examination of certain Alsatian illuminated manuscripts.

Highlighting other methods of analysis for medieval manuscript study, the general editor of the online critical edition of the influential Manipulus florum complied by Thomas of Ireland provides a philological and historical analysis of Thomas’s own copy of the florilegium of the letters of Peter of Blois (now in the Bibliothèque nationale de France). The study considers the detailed evidence for his methods of editorial manipulation in shaping this copy, as revealed by close comparison with his source manuscript for the text, which also survives.

Mildred Budny