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Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts: A Guide to Technical Terms, Revised Edition



  • Michelle P. Brown
    Revised by Elizabeth C. Teviotdale and Nancy K. Turner

    What is a historiated initial? What are canon tables? What is a drollery? This revised edition of Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts offers definitions of the key elements of illuminated manuscripts, demystifying the techniques, processes, materials, nomenclature, and styles used in the making of these precious books. Updated to reflect current research and technologies, this beautifully illustrated guide includes images of important manuscript illuminations from the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum and beyond. Concise explanations of the technical terms most frequently encountered in manuscript studies make this portable volume an essential resource for students, scholars, and readers who wish a deeper understanding and enjoyment of illuminated manuscripts and medieval book production.

    Michelle P. Brown is professor emerita of medieval manuscript studies at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She was previously curator of the manuscript collections at the British Library (1986–2004). Elizabeth C. Teviotdale is assistant director of the Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University. She previously worked in the J. Paul Getty Museum’s Department of Manuscripts (1992–2002) and is the author of The Stammheim Missal (Getty Publications, 2001). Nancy K. Turner is conservator of manuscripts in the Department of Paper Conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

    “ . . . a vital reference point for anyone keen on medieval culture or the history of the book.”

    “Equally useful for scholars, students, and casual museum visitors, it provides many of the essential tools for both understanding and enjoying these beautiful books.”
    Times Higher Education


  • 128 pages
    6 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches
    110 color illustrations
    ISBN 978-1-60606-578-5

    Getty Publications
    Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum
    Series: Looking At


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