Quill Books before print mediamediamediamediamediamedia
choosing a writing support
making quires and sheets
preparing the page
copying the text
correcting the text
decorating the book
binding the book
using the book
> Decorating the Book

Colorful books

When the quires were
filled with text, the rubrics
were in place, and the scribe had
corrected his work, it was time for the
finishing touches. Many medieval books
contain some kind of decoration in addition
to the written words, usually executed by a
different artisan. There is a considerable
variation in style and quality of decoration, and,
consequently, in cost. At the lower end of the scale
is penwork flourishing, red and blue lines drawn with
the pen in various patterns and shapes. Some of these
typify local styles, allowing us to tie a manuscript to a
specific country, city or religious house. At the higher end
of the scale is illumination: often sophisticated little paintings
that included color and often gold. While decorated books stand out
among their other cousins, on the whole they were not very common.