1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Illuminated Manuscripts
ILLUMINATED MSS.—“Illumination,” in art, is a term used to signify the embellishment of written or printed text or design with colours and gold, rarely also with silver. The old form of the verb “to illuminate” was “to enlumine” (O. Fr. enluminer; Lat. illuminare, “to throw light on,” “to brighten”), as used by Chaucer (A.B.C., 73), “kalendres enlumyned ben they,” and other medieval writers. Joinville likens the action of St Louis in adorning his kingdom with monastic foundations to a writer “qui a fait son livre qui l’enlumine d’or et d’azur”; while Dante (Purgat. xi. 79) alludes to this kind of decoration as “quell’ arte che alluminare chiamata è in Parisi.” But while the term should be strictly applied to the brilliant book-ornamentation which was developed in the later middle ages, it has been extended, by usage, to the illustration and decoration of early MSS. in general.
From remote times the practice of illustrating texts by means of pictorial representations was in vogue. The survival of papyrus rolls containing the text of the Egyptian ritual known as The Book of the Dead, dating back fifteen centuries B.C., and accompanied with numerous scenes Early. painted in brilliant colours, proves how ancient was this very natural method of elucidating a written text by means of pictures. There are many passages in the writings of Latin authors showing that illustrated books were not uncommon in Rome at least in the early period of the empire; and the oldest extant paintings in ancient classical MSS. may with little hesitation be accepted as representative of the style of illustration which was practised very much earlier. But such paintings are rather illustrative than decorative, and the only strictly ornamental adjuncts are the frames in which they are set. Yet independent decoration appears in a primitive form in the papyri and the earliest vellum MSS. At the head or at the end of the text designs composed of cross-hatchings, cables, dotted patterns and scrolls, sometimes with birds or simple domestic objects, are found. The early practice of writing the initial lines or even the entire text of a volume in gold or coloured inks, and of staining with purple and of gilding the vellum, while it undoubtedly enhanced the decorative aspect, does not properly fall within the scope of this article; it concerns the material rather than the artistic element of the MS. (See Manuscripts, Palaeography.)
It will be seen, then, that in the earliest examples of book decorations we find the germs of the two lines on which that decoration was destined to develop in the illuminated MSS. of the middle ages: the illustrative picture was the precursor of the medieval miniature (the technical term for a picture in an illuminated MS.); and the independent simple ornament was to expand into the brilliant initial letters and borders of illumination. And yet, while the miniature has a career of its own in artistic development which may be more conveniently dealt with under a separate heading (see Miniature), its decorative qualities are so closely bound up with those of the initial and border that an historical description of illumination must give full recognition to its prominent position in the general scheme of book-ornamentation of the middle ages.
The first examples to come under consideration are the few surviving MSS. of early origin which, preserving as they do the classical tradition, form the connecting link between the art of the Roman empire and that of the middle ages. The most ancient of these, it is now agreed, is the fragmentary copy of the Iliad, on vellum, in the Ambrosian Library of Milan, which consists of cuttings of the coloured drawings with which the volume was adorned in illustration of the various scenes of the poem. The MS. may have been executed in Italy, and there is good reason to assign the fragments to the 3rd century. The character of the art is quite classical, bearing comparison with that of the wall-paintings of Pompeii and the catacombs. Equally classical in their style are the fifty illustrative pictures of the Vatican Virgil, known as the Schedae Vaticanae, of the 4th century; but in these we find an advance on the Homeric fragments in the direction of decoration, for gilt shading is here employed to heighten the lights, and the frames in which the pictures are set are ornamented with gilt lozenges. A second famous MS. of Virgil in the Vatican library is the Codex Romanus, a curious instance of rough and clumsy art, with its series of illustrations copied by an unskilful hand from earlier classical models. And a still later example of persistence of the classical tradition is seen in the long roll of the book of Joshua, also in the Vatican, perhaps of the 10th century, which is filled with a series of outline drawings of considerable merit, copied from an earlier MS. But all such MSS. exhibit little tendency to decoration, and if the book ornamentation of the early middle ages had been practised only in the western empire and not also at Constantinople, it is very doubtful if the brilliant illumination which was afterwards developed would have ever existed.
When the centre of government passed eastward, Roman art came under Oriental influence with its sense of splendour, and developed the style known as Byzantine which, in its earlier stages, and until it became stereotyped in character, was broad in its drawing, on classical lines, Byzantine. and brilliant in its colouring, and which introduced a profuse application of gold in the details of ornament. Reacting on the art of the west, the influence of the Byzantine or Greek school is not only prominent in such early works as the mosaics of Ravenna, but it has also left its mark in the peculiar character of Italian pictorial art of the middle ages.
Very few examples of early Byzantine work in MSS. have survived; but two fragmentary leaves (Brit. Mus., Add. MS. 5111) of tables of the Eusebian canons, which must have stood at the beginning of a copy of the Gospels, executed no doubt in the Eastern capital in the 6th century, are sufficient to exemplify the splendour of ornament which might be lavished on book decoration at that date. The surface of the vellum is entirely gilt, and the ornamental designs are in classical style and painted in bright colours. Two well-known MSS., the Genesis of the Imperial Library of Vienna, of the latter part of the 6th century, and the Gospels of Rossano in southern Italy, of the same period, both containing series of illustrative paintings of a semi-classical type, are very interesting specimens of Byzantine art; but they depend on their purple vellum and their silver-written texts to claim a place among highly ornamented MSS., for the paintings themselves are devoid of gold. On the other hand, the Greek MS. of Genesis, of the 5th or 6th century, which once formed part of the Cottonian collection in the British Museum, but which was almost totally destroyed by fire, was of a more artistic character: the drawing of its miniatures was of great merit and classical in style, and gold shading was largely employed in the details. The famous MS. of Dioscorides at Vienna, executed in the year 472, is another excellent example of the early Byzantine school, its series of paintings at the beginning of the volume well maintaining the classical sentiment.
From such early examples Byzantine art advanced to a maturer style in the 9th and 10th centuries, two MSS. in the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris being types of the best work of this time. These are: the copy of the sermons of Gregory Nazianzen (MS. Grec. 510), executed about the year 880 and containing a series of large miniatures, some being of the highest excellence; and a psalter of the 10th century (MS. Grec. 139), among whose miniatures are examples which still maintain the old sentiment of classical art in a remarkable degree, one in particular, representing David as the psalmist, being an adapted copy of a classical scene of Orpheus and the Muses. The same scene is repeated in a later Psalter in the Vatican: an instance of the repetition of favourite subjects from one century to another which is common throughout the history of medieval art. At the period of the full maturity of the Byzantine school great skill is displayed in the best examples of figure-drawing, and a fine type of head and features is found in the miniatures of such MSS. as the Homilies of Chrysostom at Paris, which belonged to the emperor Nicephorus III., 1078–1081, and in the best copies of the Gospels and Saints’ Lives of that period, some of them being of exquisite finish. By this time also the scheme of decoration was established. Brilliant gilded backgrounds, give lustre to the miniatures. Initial letters in gold and colours are in ordinary use; but, it is to be observed, they never become very florid, but are rather meagre in outline, nor do they develop the pendants and borders which are afterwards so characteristic of the illuminated MSS. of the west. By way of general decoration, the rectangular head-pieces, which are such prominent features in Greek MSS. from the 10th to the 13th centuries, flourish in flowered and tesselated and geometric patterns in bright colours and gold. These are palpably of Oriental design, and may very well have been suggested by the woven fabrics of western Asia.
But Byzantine art was not destined to have a great history. Too self-contained and, under ecclesiastical influence, too much secluded from the contact with other ideas and other influences which are vitally necessary for healthy growth and expansion, it fell into stereotyped and formal convention and ran in narrow grooves. A general tendency was set up to paint the flesh tints in swarthy hues, to elongate and emaciate the limbs, to stiffen the gait, and generally to employ sombre colours in the miniatures, the depressing effect of which the artist seems to have felt himself compelled to relieve by rather startling contrasts of bright vermilion and lavish employment of gold. Still the initials and head-pieces continued to retain their brilliancy, of which they could scarcely be deprived without losing their raison d’être as decorative adjuncts. But, with all faults, fine and delicate drawing, with technical finish in the applied colours, is still characteristic of the best Greek miniatures of the 10th to 12th centuries, and the fine type of head and features of the older time remains a tradition. For example, in the Gospel lectionary, Harleian MS. 1810, in the British Museum, of the 12th century, there is a series of scenes from the life of Christ which are more than usually free from the contemporary conventionalism and which contain many figures of noble design. After the 12th century there is little in the art of Greek MSS. to detain us. The later examples, as far as they exist, are decadent and are generally lifeless copies of the earlier MSS.
Byzantine art, as seen in Greek MSS., stands apart as a thing of itself. But we shall have to consider how far and in what manner it had an influence on western art. Its reaction and influence on Italian art have been mentioned. That that influence was direct is manifest both in the style of such works as the mosaics of Italy and in the character of the paintings of the early Italian masters, and eventually in the earliest examples of the illuminated MSS. of central and southern Italy. But it is not so obvious how the influence which the eastern art of the Greek school undoubtedly exercised on the illuminated MSS. of the Frankish empire was conveyed. All things considered, however, it seems more probable that it passed westward through the medium of Italian art rather than by actual contact, except perhaps in accidental instances.
We turn to the west of Europe, and we shall see how in the elaborately ornamented Frankish MSS. of the Carolingian school was combined the lingering tradition of the classical style with a new and independent element which had grown up spontaneously in the north. This new Franco-Lombardic. factor was the Celtic art which had its origin and was brought to perfection in the illuminated MSS. of Ireland and afterwards of Britain. It will therefore be convenient to trace the history of that school of book ornamentation. But before doing so we must dispose, in few words, of the more primitive style which preceded the Carolingian development in western continental Europe. This primitive style, which we may call the native style, as distinguished from the more artificially compounded art of the revival under Charlemagne, seems to have been widely extended throughout the Frankish empire and to have been common in Lombardy, and to some degree in Spain, as well as in France, and is known as Merovingian and Franco-Lombardic. This kind of ornamentation appears chiefly in the form of initial letters composed of birds, fishes and animals contorted into the shapes of the alphabetical letters; and in a less degree of head-pieces and borders filled with interlacings, or bands, or geometrical patterns, and even details of animal life. In these patterns, barbarous as they usually are, the influence of such artistic objects as mosaics and enamels is evident. The prevailing colours are crude green, red, orange and yellow, which hold their place with persistence through successive generations of MSS. This native style also, in course of time, came under Celtic influence, and adopted into its scheme the interlaced designs of animal forms and other details of the ornament of the north. It is therefore necessary to bear in mind that, side by side with the great series of Carolingian MSS., executed with all possible magnificence, there was existent this native school producing its examples of a more rustic character, which must be taken into account when studying the development of the later national style in France, in the 10th and succeeding centuries.
To turn now to the Celtic style of ornament in MSS. This we find in full development in Ireland as early as the 7th century. The Irish school of book ornamentation was essentially a native school working out its own ideas, created and fostered by the early civilization of the country and destined Celtic. to have a profound influence on the art of Britain and eventually on that of the continent. It may be described as a mechanical art brought to the highest pitch of perfection by the most skilful and patient elaboration. Initials, borders and full-page designs are made up of interlaced ribbons, interlaced and entangled zoomorphic creatures, intricate knots, spirals, zig-zag ornaments, and delicate interwoven patterns, together with all kinds of designs worked out in red dots—all arranged and combined together with mathematical accuracy and with exquisite precision of touch; and painted in harmonious colours in thick pigments, which lend to the whole design the appearance of enamel. Gold is never used. In the production of his designs the Irish artist evidently took for his models the objects of early metal work in which the Celtic race was so skilled, and probably, too, the classical enamels and mosaics and jewelry which had been imported and copied in the country. The finest example of early Celtic book ornamentation is the famous copy of the Gospels known as the Book of Kells, of the latter part of the 7th century, preserved in Trinity College, Dublin: a miracle of minute and accurate workmanship, combining in its brilliant pages an endless variety of design.
But, with all his artistic excellence, the Irish artist failed completely in figure drawing; in fact he can hardly be said to have seriously attempted it. When we contemplate, for example, the rude figures intended to represent the evangelists in early copies of the Gospels, their limbs contorted and often composed of extraordinary interlacings and convolutions, we wonder that the sense of beauty which the Irish artist indubitably possessed in an eminent degree was not shocked by such barbarous productions. The explanation is probably to be found in tradition. These figures in course of time had come to be regarded rather as details to be worked into the general scheme of the ornament of the pages in which they occur than representations of the human form, and were accordingly treated by the artist as subjects on which to exercise his ingenuity in knotting them into fantastic shapes.
Passing from Ireland, the Celtic style of book ornamentation was naturally practised in the monastic settlements of Scotland, and especially in St Columba’s foundation in the island of Iona. Thence it spread to other houses in Britain. In the year 635, at the request of Oswald, Lindisfarne Gospels. king of Northumbria, Aidan, a monk of Iona, was sent to preach Christianity in that kingdom, and became the founder of the abbey and see of Lindisfarne in Holy Isle off the Northumbrian coast. Here was established by the brethren who accompanied the missionary the famous school of Lindisfarne, from which issued a wonderful series of finely written and finely ornamented MSS. in the Celtic style, some of which still survive. The most perfect is the Lindisfarne Gospels or St Cuthbert’s Gospels or the Durham Book, as it is more commonly called from the fact of its having rested for some time at Durham after early wanderings. This MS., written in honour of St Cuthbert and completed early in the 8th century, is in the Cottonian collection in the British Museum—a beautiful example of writing, and of the Celtic style of ornament, and in perfect condition. The contact with foreign influences, unknown in Ireland, is manifested in this volume by the use of gold, but in very sparing quantity, in some of the details. An interesting point in the artistic treatment of the MS. is the style in which the figures of the four evangelists are portrayed. Here the conventional Irish method, noticed above, is abandoned; the figures are mechanical copies from Byzantine models. The artist was unskilled in such drawing and has indicated the folds of the draperies, not by shading, but by streaks of paint of contrasting colours. Explanations of such instances of the unexpected adoption of a foreign style are rarely forthcoming; but in this case there is one. The sections of the text have been identified as following the Neapolitan use. The Greek Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury, arrived in Britain in the year 688 and was accompanied by Adrian, abbot of a monastery in the island of Nisita near Naples; and they both visited Lindisfarne. There can therefore be little doubt that the Neapolitan MS. from which the text of the Durham Book was derived, was one which Abbot Adrian had brought with him; and it may also be assumed that his MS. also contained paintings of the evangelists in the Byzantine style, which served as models to the Northumbrian artist.
The Celtic style was thus established through the north of England, and thence it spread to the southern parts of the country. But, for the moment, the account of its further development in Britain must be suspended in order to resume the thread of the story of the later Carolingian. classical influence on the illumination of MSS. of the Frankish empire. Under Charlemagne, who became emperor of the West in the year 800, art revived in many branches, and particularly in that of the writing and the illumination of MSS. During the reigns of this monarch and his immediate successors was produced a series of magnificent volumes, mostly biblical and liturgical, made resplendent by a lavish use of gold. The character of the decoration runs still, as of old, in the two lines of illustration and of pure ornament. We find a certain amount of general illustration, usually of the biblical narrative, in pictorial scenes drawn in freehand in the later classical style, and undoubtedly inspired by the western art of Rome. But those illustrations are small in number compared with the numerous examples of pure ornament. Such ornament was employed in the tables of the Eusebian canons, in the accessories of the traditional pictures of the evangelists, in the full-page designs which introduced the opening words of the several books of Bibles or Gospels, in the large initial letters profusely scattered through the volumes, in the infinite variety of borders which, in some MSS., adorned page after page. In all this ornament the debased classical element is prominently in evidence, columns and arches of variegated marbles, and leaf mouldings and other architectural details are borrowed from the Roman basilicas, to serve as decorations for text and miniature. The conventional portrait-figures of the evangelists are modelled on the Byzantine pattern, but with differences which appear to indicate an intervening influence, such as would be exercised on the eastern art by its transmission through Italy. Such figures, which indeed become, in course of time, so formal as almost to be decorative details along with their settings, grew stereotyped and passed on monotonously from artist to artist, always subject to deterioration, and were perpetuated especially in MSS. of German origin down to the 11th and 12th centuries.
|PSALTER OF WESTMINSTER ABBEY.—LATE TWELFTH CENTURY.|
(British Museum. Royal MS. 2A. xxii.)
|LECTIONARY, OF THE USE OF PARIS. LATE THIRTEENTH CENTURY. (British Museum. Add. M.S. 17,341.)|
But it is not the debased classical decoration alone which marks the illumination of the Carolingian school. The influence of the Celtic art, which has been described, imposed itself and combined with it. This combination was due to the Englishman, Alcuin of York, who became abbot of the Benedictine house of St Martin of Tours, and who did so much to aid Charlemagne in the revival of letters. Thus, in the finest examples of the Carolingian illuminated MSS., Celtic interlaced patterns stand side by side with the designs of classical origin; and, at the same time, it is interesting to observe that the older native Merovingian style of ornament makes its presence felt, now and again, in this or that detail. But with all the artistic effort bestowed upon it, it must be conceded that Carolingian illumination, as presented in the MSS., is not always pleasing. Indeed, it is often coarse and monotonous, and there is a tendency to conceal inferiority under a dazzling abundance of gold. The leading idea of the ornament of the great MSS. was splendour. Gold was used in profusion even in the writing of the text, and silver also in a minor degree; and the vellum, stained or painted purple, enhanced the gorgeous effect of the illumination. But undoubtedly the purer style of the Celtic school balanced and restrained the tendency to coarseness; and this foreign influence naturally was stronger in some centres than in others. For example, in the abbey of Saint-Denis, near Paris, if we may draw conclusions from surviving examples, the Celtic style was in great favour. Another peculiarity in the decoration of the Carolingian MSS. is the tendency of the artist to mix his styles, and to attach details on a small scale, such as delicate sprays and flourishes, and minute objects, to large-scale initial letters, as though he felt that grossness required a corrective contrast. The art became more refined under the immediate successors of Charlemagne, and under Charles the Bald it culminated. The most famous MSS. of the Carolingian school are the Evangeliarium, written and illuminated by the scribe Godescalc for Charlemagne in the year 787; the Sacramentarium written for Drogon, son of Charlemagne and bishop of Metz; the Gospels of the emperor Lothair, once at Tours; the first Bible of Charles the Bald, presented by Count Vivien, abbot of St Martin of Tours; the second Bible, called the Bible of Saint Denis, in Franco-Saxon style; and the so-called Gospels of Francis II. There are also in the British Museum (Harleian MS. 2788) an Evangeliarium written in gold and known as the Codex aureus, of this school; and a Bible of Alcuin’s recension, probably executed at Tours in the middle of the 9th century, with illustrative miniatures and initial letters, but of a less elaborate degree of ornament.
After this brilliant period decadence sets in; and in the course of the 11th century Frankish illumination sinks to its lowest point, the miniatures being for the most part coarse and clumsy copies of earlier models. The colours become harsh, often assuming an unpleasant chalky appearance.
We have now to trace the development of another kind of book decoration, quite different from the florid style of gold and colours just now described, which had a lasting influence on the early art of England, where it was specially cultivated, and where it developed a character which at length became distinctively national. This is the style of outline drawing which fills so large a space in the Anglo-Saxon MSS. of the 10th and 11th centuries.
We have already seen how the Celtic style of ornamentation was introduced into the north of England. Thence it appears to have spread rapidly southward. As early as the beginning of the 8th century it was practised at Canterbury, as is testified by a famous psalter in the Anglo-Saxon. British Museum (Cott. MS. Vespasian A. 1), in which much of the ornament is of Celtic type. But the same MS. is also witness to the presence of another influence in English art, that of the classical style of Rome, certain details of the ornament being of that character and a miniature in the MS. being altogether of the classical type. With little hesitation this element may be ascribed to MSS. brought from Rome, in the first instance by St Augustine, and afterwards by the incoming missionaries who succeeded him, and deposited in such centres as Canterbury and Winchester. But this importation of MSS. from Italy was not confined to the south. We have distinct evidence that they were brought into northern monasteries, such as those of Jarrow and Wearmouth and York. Thus the English artists of both south and north were in a position to take advantage of material from two sources; and they naturally did so. Thus we find that mingling of the Celtic and classical styles just noticed. In this way, early grown accustomed to take classical models for their drawings, the Anglo-Saxon artists were the more susceptible to the later development of the classical style of outline drawing which was next introduced into the country from the continent. The earliest MS. in which this style of drawing is exhibited in fullest detail is the volume known as the Utrecht Psalter, once in the Cottonian Library, in which the text of the psalms is profusely illustrated with minute pen-sketches remarkably full of detail. The period of the MS. is about the year 800; and it was probably executed in the north or north-east of France. But the special interest of the drawings is that they are evidently copies of much older models and provide a valuable link with the late classical art of some two or three centuries earlier. The work is very sketchy, the movement of the draperies indicated by lightly scribbled strokes of the pen, the limbs elongated, the shoulders humped—all characteristic features which are repeated in the later Anglo-Saxon work. The drawings of the Utrecht Psalter are clearly typical examples of a style which, founded on Roman models, must at one time have been widely practised in western Europe. For instance, there are traces of it in such a centre as St Gallen in Switzerland, and there are extant MSS. of the Psychomachia of Prudentius (a favourite work) with drawings of this character which were executed in France in the 10th century. But the style does not appear to have taken much hold on the fancy of continental artists. It was reserved for England to welcome and to make this free drawing her own, and to develop it especially in the great school of illumination at Winchester. Introduced probably in such examples as the Utrecht Psalter and copies of the Psychomachia, this free drawing of semi-classical origin had fully established itself here in the course of the 10th century, and by that time had assumed a national character. A fair number of MSS. of the 10th and 11th centuries which issued from the Winchester school are still to be seen among the collections of the British museum, in most of which the light style of outline drawing with the characteristic fluttering drapery is more or less predominant, although body colours were also freely employed in many examples. But the most elaborate specimen of Anglo-Saxon illumination of the 10th century is one belonging to the duke of Devonshire: the Benedictional of the see of Winchester, executed under the direction of Æthelwold, bishop from 963 to 984, which contains a series of miniatures, in this instance in body colours, but drawn in the unmistakable style of the new school. In the scheme of decoration, however, another influence is at work. As England had sent forth its early Celtic designs to modify the art of the Frankish empire, so the Carolingian style of ornament now, in its turn, makes its way into this country, and appears in the purely ornamental details of the Anglo-Saxon illuminated volumes. The frames of the miniatures are chiefly composed of conventional foliage, and the same architectural leaf-mouldings of classical origin which are seen in the foreign MSS. are here repeated. Profuse gilding also, which is frequently applied, sometimes with silver, is due to foreign influence. But this character of decoration soon assumed a national cast. Under the hands of the Anglo-Saxon artist the conventional foliage flourished with greater freedom; and the colouring which he applied was generally softer and more harmonious than that which was employed abroad. Examples of outline drawing of the best type exist in the Harleian Psalter (No. 2904), of the same period as the Æthelwold Benedictional; in the register of New Minster (Stowe MS. 944), A.D. 1016–1020; and in the Prudentius (Cotton MS. Cleop. C. viii.), executed early in the 11th century.
With the Norman Conquest naturally great changes were effected in the illumination of English MSS., as in other branches of art; no doubt to the ultimate improvement of English draughtsmanship. Left to itself the outline drawing of the Anglo-Saxons, inclining as it did to affectation, Norman. would probably have sunk into fantastic exaggeration and feebleness. Brought more directly under Norman domination it resulted in the fine, bold freehand style which is conspicuous in MSS. executed in England in the next three centuries. Then we come to the period when the art of illumination is brought into line in the countries of western Europe, in England and in France, in Flanders and in western Germany, by the splendid outburst of artistic sentiment of the 12th century. This century is the period of large folios providing ample space in their pages for the magnificent initial letters drawn on a grand scale which are to be seen in the great Bibles and psalters of the time. The leading feature is a wealth of foliage with twining and interlacing branches, among which human and animal life is freely introduced, the whole design being thrown into relief by brilliant colours and a generous use of gold. The figure drawing both in miniatures and initials is stiff, the figures elongated but bold, and with sweeping lines in the draperies; and a tendency to represent the latter clinging closely to the limbs is a legacy of the tradition of the later classical style. In England the school of Winchester appears to have maintained the same excellence after the Norman Conquest as before it. A remarkable MS. (Cotton, Nero C. iv.), a psalter of about the year 1160, with a series of fine miniatures, is a good example of its work. In France, Flanders and western Germany we find the same energy in producing boldly ornamented volumes, as in England; a certain heaviness of outline distinguishing the work of the Flemish and German artists from that of the English and French schools. Such MSS. as the Stavelot Bible (Brit. Mus., Add. MS. 28,107), of the close of the 11th century, the Bible of Floreffe (Add. MS. 17,737-17,738), of about the year 1160, and the Worms Bible (Harl. MS. 2803–2804), of the same time, are fine specimens of Flemish and German work.
It is towards the close of the 12th century and in the beginning of the 13th century that the character of illumination settles down on more conventional lines. Hitherto gold had been applied in a liquid state; now it is laid on in leaf and is highly burnished, a process which lends a brilliant 13th Century. effect to initial and miniature. A great change passes over the face of things. The large, bold style gives place to the minute. Volumes decrease in size; the texts are written in close-packed characters; the large and simple is superseded by the small and decorated. The period has arrived when book ornamentation becomes more settled and accurately defined within limits, and starts on the course of regulated expansion which was to run for three hundred years down to the close of the 15th century. In the 13th century the historiated or miniature initial, that is, the initial letter containing within its limits a miniature illustrating the subject of the immediate text, is established as a favourite detail of ornamentation, in addition to the regular independent miniature. Such initials form a prominent feature in the pretty little Bibles which were produced in hundreds at this period. But a still more interesting subject for study is the development of the border which was to have such a luxuriant growth in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. Commencing as a pendant from the initial, with terminal in form of bud or cusp, it gradually pushes its way along the margins, unfolding foliage as it proceeds, and in course of time envelopes the entire page of text in a complete framework formulating in each country a national style.
In the miniatures of the 13th century the art of England, of France, and of the Low Countries runs very much in one channel. The Flemish art, however, may be generally distinguished from the others by the heavier outline already noticed. The French art is exquisitely exact and clean-cut, and in its best examples it is the perfection of neat-handedness. English art is perhaps less exact, but makes up for any deficiency in this direction by its gracefulness. However, there is often little to choose between the productions of the three countries, and they are hard to distinguish. As an aid for such distinction, among small differences, we may notice the copper tone of French gold contrasting with the purer metal in English MSS.; and the favour shown to deep ultramarine appears to mark French work. But, besides actual illuminated miniature painting, there is also a not inconsiderable amount of freehand illustrative drawing in the MSS. In this particular the English artist maintains the excellence of work which distinguished his ancestors. Such series of delicate drawings, slightly tinted, as those to be seen in the famous Queen Mary’s Psalter (Royal MS. 2 B. vii.), and in other MSS. of the 13th and 14th centuries in the British Museum, are not surpassed by any similar drawings done at the same period in any other country. In the 13th century also comes into vogue the highly decorated diaper-work, generally of lozenges or chequered patterns in brilliant colours and brightly burnished gold. These fill the backgrounds of miniatures and initials, together with other forms of decoration, such as sheets of gold stippled or surface-drawn in various designs. Diapering continued to be practised in all three countries down into the 15th century; and in particular it is applied with exquisite effect in many of the highly-finished MSS. of the artists of Paris.
To return to the growth of the borders: these continue to be generally of one style in both England and France and in Flanders during the 13th century; but, when with the opening of the 14th century the conventional foliage begins to expand, a divergence ensues. In France and Flanders the three-pointed leaf, or ivy leaf, appears, which soon becomes fixed and flourishes as a typical detail of ornament in French illumination of the 14th and 15th centuries. In England there is less convention, and along with formal branches and leafage, natural growths, such as daisy-buds, acorns, oak leaves, nuts, &c., are also represented.
Meanwhile German illumination, which in the large MSS. of the 12th century had given high promise, in the following centuries falls away and becomes detached from the western schools, and is, as a general rule, of inferior German. quality, although in the 13th century fine examples are still to be met with. Dark outlines and backgrounds of highly-burnished gold are in favour. At present, however, there is not sufficient published material to enable us to pass a definite judgment on the value of German illumination in the later middle ages. But the researches of scholars are beginning to localize particular styles in certain centres. For example, in Bohemia there was a school of illumination of a higher class, which seems later to have had an influence on English art, as will be noticed presently.
We must now turn to Italy, which has been left on one side during our examination of the art of the more western countries. In attempting to bridge the gap which severs the later classical style of Rome from the medieval art of Italy, Italian. much must be left to conjecture. That a debased classical style of drawing was employed in the earlier centuries of the middle ages we cannot doubt. Such a MS. as the Ashburnham Genesis of the 7th century, which contains pictures of a somewhat rude character but based apparently upon a recollection of the classical drawing of earlier times, and which appears to be of Italian origin, serves as a link, however slight. Coming down to a later period, the primitive native art of the Frankish empire, as we have seen, extended into northern Italy under the name of Franco-Lombardic ornamentation; and we have also seen how the art of the Byzantine school reacted on the art of the southern portion of the country. Hence, in the middle ages, the ornamentation of Italian MSS. appears to move on two leading lines. The first, which we owe to the Byzantine influence, in which figure-drawing is the leading idea, follows the old classical method and, showing a distinctly Greek impress, leads to the style which we recognize as Italian par excellence, and which is seen most effectively manifested in the works of Cimabue and Giotto and of allied schools. In this style the colouring is generally opaque: the flesh tints being laid over a foundation of deep olive green, which imparts a swarthy complexion to the features—a practice also common in Byzantine art. The other line is that of the Lombardic style which, like the Celtic school of the British Isles, was an art almost exclusively of pure ornament, of intricate interlacings of arabesques and animal forms, with bright colouring and ample use of gold. The Lombardic style was employed in certain centres, as, for example, at Monte Cassino, where in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries brilliant examples were produced. But it was not destined to stand before the other, stronger and inherently more artistic, style which was to become national. Still, its scheme of brighter colouring and of general ornament seems to have had an effect upon later productions, if we are not mistaken in recognizing something of its influence in such designs as the interlaced white vine-branch borders which are so conspicuous in Italian MSS. of the period of the Renaissance.
|DURANDUS. DE DIVINIS OFFICIIS. FOURTEENTH CENTURY. Italian School. (British Museum. Add. MS. 31,032.)|
|VALERIUS MAXIMUS. ABOUT A.D. 1475. Executed for Philippe de Comines. (British Museum. Harley M.S. 4374.)|
The progress of Italian illumination in the style influenced by the Byzantine element is of particular interest in the general history of art, on account of the rapidity with which it grew to maturity, and the splendour to which it attained in the 15th century. Of the earlier centuries 14th Century. the existing examples are not many. That Italian artists were capable of great things as far back as the 12th century is evident from their frescoes. We may notice the curious occurrence of two very masterly paintings, the death of the Virgin and the Virgin enthroned, drawn with remarkable breadth in the Italian style, in the Winchester Psalter (Cottonian MS. Nero C. iv.) of the middle of that century, as a token of the possibilities of Italian illumination at that date; but generally there is little to show. Even at the beginning of the 14th century most of the specimens are of an ordinary character and betray a want of skill in striking contrast with the highly artistic productions of the Northern schools of England and France at the same period. But, though inferior artistically, Italian book ornamentation had by this time been so far influenced by the methods of those schools as to fall into line with them in the general system of decoration. The miniature, the initial, the miniature-initial and the border—all have their place and are subject to the same laws of development as in the other schools. But, once started, Italian illumination in the 14th century, especially in Florence, expanded with extraordinary energy. We may cite the Royal MS. 6, E. ix., containing an address to Robert of Anjou, king of Sicily, 1334–1342, and the Add. MS. 27,428 of legends of the saints, of about the year 1370, as instances of very fine miniature-work of the Florentine type. As the century advances, Italian illumination becomes more prolific and is extended to all classes of MSS., the large volumes of the Decretals and other law books, and still more the great folio choral books, in particular affording ample space for the artist to exercise his fancy. As was natural from the contiguity of the two countries, as well as from political causes, France and Italy influenced each other in the art. In many MSS. of the Florentine school the French influence is very marked, and on the other hand, Italian influence is exercised especially in MSS. of the southern provinces of France. Italian art of this period also in some degree affected the illumination of southern German MSS.
We have also to note the occurrence in Italy in the 14th century of good illustrative outline drawings, generally tinted in light colours, and occasionally we meet with a wonderfully bright style of illumination of a lighter cast of colouring than usually prevails in Italian art: such as may be seen in a MS. of Durandus De divinis oficiis (Brit. Mus., Add. MS. 31,032) containing an exquisite series of initials and borders.
Taking a general view of the character of European illumination in the 14th century it may be described as an art of great invention and flexibility. The rigid exactness of the 13th century is replaced by flowing lines, just as the stiff, formal strokes of the handwriting of that century was exchanged for a more cursive and easy style. The art of each individual country now developed a national type of its own, which again branched off into the different styles of provincial schools. For example, in the eastern counties of England a very fine school of illumination, the East Anglian, was established in the first half of the century and produced a series of beautiful MSS., such as the Arundel Psalter (No. 83) in the British Museum.
By the end of the century the borders had developed on national lines so fully as to become, more than any other detail in the general scheme, the readiest means of identifying the country of origin. First as to the English border: the favour shown to the introduction of natural growths Distinctive Borders. among the conventional foliage thrown out from the frame into which the border had by this time expanded has already been noticed. But now a new feature is introduced. The frame up to this time had consisted generally of conventional branches with bosses at the corners. Now it is divided more into compartments within which twining coils of ornament resembling cut feather-work are common details; and feathery scrolls fill the corner-bosses and are attached to other parts of the frame; while the foliage thrown out into the margin takes the form of sprays of curious lobe- or spoon-shaped and lozenge-shaped leaves or flowers, with others resembling curled feathers, and with cup- and trumpet-shaped flowers. This new style of border is contemporaneous with the appearance of a remarkably brilliant style in the miniatures, good in drawing and rich in colouring; and an explanation for the change has been sought in foreign influence. It has been suggested, with some plausibility, that this influence comes from the school of Prague, through the marriage of Richard II. with Anne of Bohemia in 1382. However this may be, there certainly is a decidedly German sentiment in the feathery scrolls just described.
Turning to the French border, we find towards the close of the 14th century that the early ivy-leaf pendant has now invaded all the margins and that the page is set in a conventional frame throwing off on every side sprigs and waving scrolls of the conventional ivy foliage, often also accompanied with very delicate compact tracery of minute flower-work filling the background of the frame. Nothing can be more charming than the effect of such borders, in which the general design is under perfect control. The character, too, of the French miniature of this period harmonizes thoroughly with the brilliant border, composed as it is very largely of decorative elements, such as diapered patterns and details of burnished gold. In the Low Countries, as was natural, the influence of French art continued to have great weight, at least in the western provinces where the style of illumination followed the French lead.
The Italian border in its ordinary form was of independent character, although following the methods of the West. Thrown out from the initial, it first took the form of pendants of a peculiarly heavy conventional curling foliage, associated, as progress was made, with slender rods jointed at intervals with bud-like ornaments and extending along the margins; at length expanding into a frame. The employment of gilt spots or pellets to fill spaces in the pendants and borders becomes very marked as the century advances. They are at first in a simple form, but they gradually throw out rays, and in the latter shape they become the chief constituents of one kind of border of the 15th century.
Illumination in the 15th century enters on a new phase. The balance is no longer evenly maintained between the relative values of the miniature and the border as factors in the general scheme of decoration. The influence of a new sentiment in art makes itself felt more and 15th Century. more; the flat treatment of the miniature gradually gives place to true laws of perspective and of figure-drawing, and to the depth and atmospheric effects of modern painting. Miniature painting in the decoration of MSS. now became more of a trade; what in old times had been done in the cloister was now done in the shop; and the professional miniaturist, working for his own fame, took the place of the nameless monk who worked for the credit of his house. Henceforth the miniature occupies a more important place than ever in the illuminated MS.; while the border, with certain important exceptions, is apt to recede into an inferior position and to become rather an ornamental adjunct to set off the miniature than a work of art claiming equality with it.
Continuing the survey of the several national styles, we shall have to witness the final supersession of the older styles of England and France by the later developments of Italy and Flanders. We left English illumination at the close of the 14th century strengthened by a fresh infusion of apparently a foreign, perhaps Bohemian, source. The style thus evolved marks a brilliant but short-lived epoch in English art. It is not confined to MSS., but appears also in the paintings of the time, as, for example, in the portrait of Richard II. in Westminster Abbey and in that in the Wilton triptych belonging to the earl of Pembroke. Delicate but brilliant colouring, gold worked in stippled patterns and a careful modelling of the human features are its characteristics. In MSS. also the decorative borders, of the new pattern already described, are of exceptional richness. Brilliant examples of the style, probably executed for Richard himself, may be seen in a magnificent Bible (Royal MS. 1, E. ix.), and in a series of cuttings from a missal (Add. MS. 29,704-29,705) in the British Museum. But the promise of this new school was not to be fulfilled. The same style of border decoration was carried into the 15th century, and good examples are found down to the middle of it, but a general deterioration soon sets in. Two MSS. must, however, be specially mentioned as surviving instances of the fine type of work which could still be turned out early in the century; and, curiously, they are both the productions of one and the same illuminator, the Dominican, John Siferwas. The first is a fragmentary Lectionary (Brit. Mus., Harl. MS., 7026) executed for John, Lord Lovel of Tichmersh, who died in 1408; the other is the famous Sherborne Missal, the property of the duke of Northumberland, a large volume completed about the same time for the Benedictine abbey of Sherborne in Dorsetshire. Certainly other MSS. of equal excellence must have existed; but they have now perished. After the middle of the 15th century English illumination may be said to have ceased, for the native style disappears before foreign imported art. This failure is sufficiently accounted for by the political state of the country and the distractions of the War of the Roses.
In France the 15th century opened more auspiciously for the art of illumination. Brilliant colouring and the diapered background glittering with gold, the legacy of the previous century, still continue in favour for some time; the border, too, of ivy-leaf tracery still holds its own. But in actual drawing there are signs, as time advances, of growing carelessness, and the artist appears to think more of the effect of colour than of draughtsmanship. This was only natural at a time when the real landscape began to replace the background of diaper and conventional rocks and trees. In the first quarter of the century the school of Paris comes prominently to the front with such magnificent volumes as the Book of Hours of the regent, John Plantagenet, duke of Bedford, now in the British Museum; and the companion MS. known as the Sobieski Hours, at Windsor. In these examples, as is always the case with masterpieces, we see a great advance upon earlier methods. The miniatures are generally exquisitely painted in brilliant colours and the drawing is of a high standard; and in the borders now appear natural flowers intermingled with the conventional tracery—a new idea which was to be carried further as the century advanced. The Psalter executed at Paris for the boy-king Henry VI. (Cotton MS. Domitian A. xviii.) is another example of this school, rather of earlier type than the Bedford MS., but beautifully painted. In all three MSS. the borders show no lack of finish; they are of a high standard and are worthy of the miniatures. But perhaps the very finest miniature-work to be found in any MS. of French origin of this period is the breviary (Harl. MS. 2897) illuminated for John the Fearless, duke of Burgundy, who was assassinated in 1419. It could hardly be surpassed in refinement and minuteness of detail.
Development towards the modern methods of painting moves on rapidly with the century. First, the border in the middle period grows florid; the simpler ivy-spray design, which had held its position so long, is gradually pushed away by a growth of flowering scrolls, with flowers, birds and animal and insect life introduced in more or less profusion. But henceforward deterioration increases, and the border becomes subsidiary. In the case of miniatures following the old patterns of the devotional and liturgical books, a certain restraint still prevails; but with those in other works, histories and romances and general literature, where the paintings are devised by the fancy of the artist, the advance is rapid. The recognition of the natural landscape, the perception of atmospheric effects now guide the artist’s brush, and the modern French school of the second half of the 15th century is fairly established. The most celebrated leaders of this school were Jean Foucquet of Tours and his sons, many of whose works still bear witness to their skill. In the MSS. of this school the influence of the Flemish contemporary art is very obvious; and before the advance of that art French illumination receded. A certain hardness of surface and want of depth characterize the French work of this time, as well as the practice of employing gilt hatching to obtain the high lights. This practice is carried to excess in the latest examples of French illumination in the early part of the 16th century, when the art became mechanical and overloaded with ornament, and thus expired.
It has been seen that the Flemish school of illumination in the 13th and 14th centuries followed the French model. In the 15th century, while the old tradition continued in force for a while, the art developed on an independent line; and in the second half of the century it exercised a widespread influence on the neighbouring countries, on France, on Holland and on Germany. This development was one of the results of the industrial and artistic activity of the Low Countries at this period, when the school of the Van Eycks and their followers, and of other artists of the great and wealthy cities, such as Bruges, Antwerp, Ghent, were so prolific. The Flemish miniatures naturally followed on the lines of painting. The new style was essentially modern, freeing itself from the traditions of medieval illumination and copying nature. Under the hand of the Flemish artist the landscape attained to great perfection, softness and depth of colouring, the leading attribute of the school, lending a particular charm and sense of reality to his out-door scenes. His closer observation of nature is testified also in the purely decorative part of his work. Flowers, insects, birds and other natural objects now frequent the border, the origin of which is finally forgotten. It ceases to be a connected growth wandering round the page; it becomes a flat frame of dull gold or colour, over which isolated objects, flowers, fruits, insects, butterflies, are strewn, painted with naturalistic accuracy and often made, by means of strong shadows, to stand out in relief against the background. This practice was soon carried to florid excess, and all kinds of objects, including jewels and personal ornaments, were pressed into the service of the border, in addition to the details copied from nature. The soft beauty of the later Flemish style proved very attractive to the taste of the day, with the result that it maintained a high standard well on into the 16th century, the only rivals being the MSS. of Italian art. The names of celebrated miniaturists, such as Memlinc, Simon Bening of Ghent, Gerard of Bruges, are associated with its productions; and many famous extant examples bear witness to the excellence to which it attained. The Grimani Breviary at Venice is one of the best known MSS. of the school; but almost every national library has specimens to boast of. Among those in the British Museum may be mentioned the breviary of Queen Isabella of Spain (Add. MS. 18,851); the Book of Hours of Juana of Castille (Add. MS. 18,852); a very beautiful Book of Hours executed at Bruges (Egerton MS. 2125); another exquisite but fragmentary MS. of the same type (Add. MS. 24,098) and cuttings from a calendar of the finest execution (Add. MS. 18,855) ascribed to Bening of Ghent; a series of large sheets of genealogies of the royal houses of Portugal and Spain (Add. MS. 12,531) by the same master and others; and late additions to the Sforza Book of Hours (Add. MS. 34,294).
But, besides the brilliantly coloured style of Flemish illumination which has been described, there was another which was practised with great effect in the 15th century. This was the simpler style of drawing in white delicately shaded to indicate the contour of figures and the folds of drapery, &c., known as grisaille or camaïeu gris. It was not indeed confined to the Flemish schools, but was practised also to some extent and to good effect in northern France, and also in Holland and other countries; but the centre of its activity appears to have been in the Low Countries. The excellence to which it attained may be seen in the MSS. of the Miracles de Nostre Dame now in Paris and the Bodleian Library, which were executed for Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, in the middle of the 15th century.
Of the Dutch school of illumination, which was connected with that of Flanders, there is little to be said. Judging from existing examples, the art was generally of a more rustic and coarser type. There are, however, exceptions. A MS. in the British Museum (King’s MS. 5) of the beginning of the 15th century contains scenes from the life of Christ in which the features are carefully modelled, very much after the style of English work of the same time; and some of the specimens of Dutch work in camaïeu gris are excellent.
German illumination in the 15th century appears to have largely copied the Flemish style; but it lost the finer qualities of its pattern, and in decoration it inclined to extravagance. Where the Flemish artist was content with single flowers gracefully placed, the German filled his borders with straggling plants and foliage and with large flourished scrolls.
Italian illumination, which had developed so rapidly in the 14th century, now advanced with accelerated pace and expanded into a variety of styles, more or less local, culminating in the exquisite productions of the classical renaissance in the latter half of the 15th century. As in the other national styles of France and Flanders, the Italian miniaturist quickly abandoned the conventional for the natural landscape; but with more character both in the figure-drawing and in the actual representation of scenery. The colouring is brilliant, not of the softness of the Flemish school, but of stronger and harder body; the outlines are firm and crisp and details well delineated. The Florentine, the Lombard, the Venetian, the Neapolitan and other schools flourished; and, though they borrowed details from each other, each had something distinctive in its scheme of colouring. The border developed on several lines. The rayed gold spots or studs or pellets, which were noticed in the 14th century, are now grouped in profusion along the margins and in the interstices of delicate flowering and other designs. Another favourite detail in the composition of both initials and borders was the twining vine tendril, generally in white or gold upon a coloured ground, apparently a revival of the interlacing Lombardic work of the 11th and 12th centuries. At first, restrained and not too complex, it fills the body of initials and short borders; then it rapidly expands, and the convolutions and interlacings become more and more elaborate. Lastly came the completed solid frame into which are introduced arabesques, vignettes, candelabras, trophies, vases, medallions, antique gems, cupids, fawns, birds, &c., and all that the fancy led by the spirit of classical renaissance could suggest. Among the principal Italian MSS. of the 15th century in the British Museum there are: a copy of Plutarch’s Lives, with miniatures in a remarkable style (Add. MS. 22,318); Aristotle’s Ethics, translated into Spanish by Charles, prince of Viana, probably executed in Sicily about 1458 (Add. MS. 21,120); a breviary of Santa Croce at Florence, late in the century (Add. MS. 29,735); Livy’s History of the Macedonian War, of the Neapolitan school, late in the century (Harl. MS. 3694); and, above all, the remarkable Book of Hours of Bona Sforza of Savoy of about the year 1490 (Add. MS. 34,291); besides a fair number of MSS. exhibiting the rich colouring of the Venetian school.
Like that of the French and Flemish schools, Italian illumination survived into the 16th century, and for a time showed vigour. Very elaborate borders of the classical type and of good design were still produced. But, as in other countries, it was then a dying art. The attempt to graft illumination on to books produced by the printing press, which were now displacing the hand-written volumes with which the art had always been associated, proved, except in a few rare instances, a failure. The experiment did not succeed; and the art was dead.
It remains to say a few words respecting the book ornamentation of the Peninsula. In the earlier centuries of the middle ages there appears to have been scarcely anything worthy of note. The Mozarabic liturgies and biblical MSS. of the 9th to 12th centuries are adorned with initial Spain. letters closely allied to the primitive specimens of the Merovingian and Franco-Lombardic pattern, and coloured with the same crude tints; the larger letters also being partly composed of interlaced designs. But the style is barbaric. Such illustrative drawings as are to be found are also of a most primitive character. Moorish influence is apparent in the colours, particularly in the yellows, reds and blacks. In the later middle ages no national school of illumination was developed, owing to political conditions. When in the 15th century a demand arose for illuminated MSS., recourse was had to foreign artists. Flemish art naturally was imported, and French art on the one side and Italian art on the other accompanied it. In the breviary executed for Queen Isabella of Spain about the year 1497 (Brit. Mus., Add. MS. 18,851) we find a curious random association of miniatures and borders in both the French and the Flemish styles, the national taste for black, however, asserting itself in the borders where, in many instances, the usual coloured designs are replaced by black-tinted foliage and scrolls.
In other outlying countries of Europe the art of illumination can scarcely be said to have existed. In Slavonic countries a recollection of the Byzantine school lingered in book ornamentation, but chiefly in a degraded and extravagant system of fantastic interlacings. In the 16th century there was a revival in Russia of the Byzantine style, and the head-pieces and other ornamental details of the 11th and 12th centuries were successfully imitated.
The consideration of oriental art does not come within the scope of this article. It may, however, be noted that in Arabic and Persian MSS. of the 13th to 16th centuries there are many examples of exquisitely drawn title-pages and other ornament of intricate detail, resplendent with colour and gold, which may be ranked with western illuminations.
Authorities.—Medieval and later works dealing in part with the technicalities of illumination are collected by Mrs Merrifield, Original Treatises dating from the 12th to 18th Centuries on the Art of Painting (1849); see also Theophilus, De diversis Artibus, ed. R. Hendrie (1847). Text-books and collections of facsimiles are Count A. de Bastard, Peintures et ornaments des manuscrits, a magnificent series of facsimiles, chiefly from Carolingian MSS. (1832–1869); Shaw and Madden, Illuminated Ornaments from MSS. and early Printed Books (1833); Noel Humphreys and Jones, The Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages (1849); H. Shaw, Handbook of Medieval Alphabets (1853), and The Art of Illumination (1870); Tymms and Digby Wyatt, The Art of Illumination (1860); Birch and Jenner, Early Drawings and Illuminations, with a dictionary of subjects in MSS. in the British Museum (1879); J. H. Middleton, Illuminated MSS. in Classical and Medieval Times (1892); G. F. Warner, Illuminated MSS. in the British Museum (official publication, 1903); H. Omont, Facsimilés des miniatures des plus anciens MSS. grecs de la Bibl. Nationale (1902); V. de Boutovsky, Histoire de l’ornement russe du X e au XVI e siècle, including facsimiles from Byzantine MSS. (1870); J. O. Westwood, Facsimiles of Miniatures and Ornaments of Anglo-Saxon and Irish MSS. (1868); E. M. Thompson, English Illuminated MSS. (1895); Paleografia artistica di Montecassino (1876–1884); Le Miniature nei codici Cassinesi (1887); A. Haseloff, Eine thüringisch-sächsische Malereischule des 13. Jahrhunderts (1897); G. Schwarzenski, Die Regensburger Buchmalerei des 10. und 11. Jahrhunderts (1901); Sauerland and Haseloff, Der Psalter Erzbischof Egberts von Trier (1901).
Several of the most ancient illustrated or illuminated MSS. have been issued wholly or partially in facsimile, viz. The Ambrosian Homer, by A. Ceriani; the Schedae Vaticanae and the Codex Romanus of Virgil, by the Vatican Library; the Vienna Dioscorides, in the Leiden series of facsimiles; the Vienna Genesis, by Hartel and Wickhoff; the Greek Gospels of Rossano, by A. Haseloff; the Ashburnham Pentateuch, by B. von Gebhart; the Utrecht Psalter, by the Palaeographical Society.
Facsimiles from illuminated MSS. are also included in large palaeographical works such as Silvestre, Universal Palaeography, ed. Madden (1850); the Facsimiles of the Palaeographical Society (1873–1894) and of the New Palaeographical Society (1903, &c.); and the Collezione paleografia Vaticana, the issue of which was commenced in 1905. Excellent photographic reproductions on a reduced scale are being issued by the British Museum and by the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. (E. M. T.)