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
> Preparing the Page > Layout

Puzzle

Before a scribe could begin to fill the quires with text, the layout of the page needed to be designed and prepared by means of pricking and ruling. How a page was designed depended on a variety of factors, including the number of required text columns, the space left blank for decoration, and the presence of marginal glosses and running titles. The most basic layout consisted of a single column of text. They are frequently encountered in Books of Hours, because these are commonly smaller books, which facilitated portability. Bigger books of two or more columns often required more work in the design stage, especially if that book also featured a marginal commentary. Particularly challenging were those cases where the commentary was of unequal length, as seen here. This meant that the scribe had to design each page separately. Piecing together the segments of main text and commentary was like solving a puzzle.