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Medieval Studies and Research: Illuminated Manuscripts - Studies, History

This research guide is co-owned and co-authored by Dr. Danielle Mihram & Dr. Melissa L. Miller

Illumination - Definition

Illumination - Definition:  See p.192 in: Beal, Peter.  A Dictionary of English Manuscript Terminology, 1450 to 2000Oxford University Press, 2011:

(Excerpt): "Deriving from the Latin illuminare (‘to light up’), the term ‘illumination’ means the decoration of manuscripts with gold or silver and with other bright, luminous colours (as opposed to monochrome black ink, or shades of grey known as ‘grisaille’), the manuscript thus embellished being described as illuminated. Illumination can take the form of richly coloured and decorated lettering, elaborate tracery in the text, margins, or borders, and other ornamental or pictorial features, or else, most especially, miniatures (see miniature). As a widespread phenomenon, illumination is most associated with medieval manuscripts, including the great monastic bibles and religious works, although illuminated manuscripts of various kinds, such asbrightly coloured genealogies and chronicles, heightened with gold or silver, can still be found in the sixteenth and even seventeenth centuries. (...)'

See also:  "Glossaries", British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, and,  Brown, Michelle (Michelle P.). Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts: A guide to technical terms. Malibu, Calif. : J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the British Library, c1994.

Decorations and Illumination (University of Nottingham) is a short overview of decorated and illuminated initials, borders, and miniatures.

Please note: The list of books on this page is a very small selection of titles at USC Libraries. To find additional titles relating to Illuminated manuscripts in USC Libraries' online catalog, select: Advanced Search. and restrict your search to Catalog  then Type: illuminated manuscripts  and  select the field: Subject.

Illuminated Manuscripts - Studies

Illuminated Manuscripts - A History of Book Illustration


Collections (A Selection of Publications)

Collections (A Selection of Publications)