Illuminated Manuscripts

illuminated NI’ve been having fun with a new project- creating illuminated letters. In case you’re not familiar with the tradition, illuminated manuscripts have been with us throughout history- from Persian miniatures to early Christian prayer books and bibles. In the 15th Century, the book of hours was introduced- they were secular calendars recounting the changing of the seasons. A common feature in medieval manuscripts is the illumination of the first letter of a text. There are hundreds of variations and styles. Many manuscript illuminations are quite amusing, such as what I refer to as “the warrior bunnies”. Below are some examples:

executioner bunniesarcher bunnybunny and lion

medieval bunnies

Another common element was the hybrid animal/person. I’m sure the scribes got bored with their tasks of copying texts and decided on some comic relief. Who can blame them? How would you like to sit on a hard seat, scrunched over a table 12 hours a day (OK- Micro-softees excluded)? Here is a sample of a hybrid animal:

bunny bestiary

Now that you’ve been introduced you can see how the warrior bunnies influenced me and started a whole new series.

Letter M smallLetter J smallLetter H smallLetter U smallLetter C smallStay tuned for more letters!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. geraniumcat
    Mar 07, 2015 @ 09:14:48

    Susan, I love your updates on the warrior bunny theme! Funnily enough, that’s how I think of them too, though I guess that, strictly speaking, they are hares, as rabbits were still kept in warrens at that time, and not coursed.


  2. Betsy Andrews Etchart
    Sep 18, 2015 @ 14:39:34

    Your updated illuminated letters are wonderful! I love them all. And the marginalia (I’m just guessing it’s marginalia) from the original texts are great.


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