This week I had the chance to spend a couple of hours at the Rauner Library at Dartmouth College looking through a few of their hundreds of manuscripts. Taking a little break amidst other work to handle a few of these volumes was so much fun! I love books and book bindings, and as an illustrator and designer holding the original source is a real treat. I just thought I’d share a few photos here of different the different books:
A 12th century manuscript, produced by a monastery for scholarship on one of the saints, not in the original binding and with the prick marks showing in the margins:
A 13th century Parisian vulgate bible, with gilding on the capitols. 700+ pages, look at the size of this script!!
A 14th century (c. 1330) Roman de la Rose, with 11 tiny miniatures in the beginning featuring various vices.
A 15th century (c. 1440) Book of Hours, richly illuminated, with multiple gilded paintings, including this Pentacost.
Another 15th century Book of Hours, this time featuring interspecies sodomy beneath the watchful (and overly loved) figure of St. Peter, his key still in tact. What are these doing in a Book of Hours beneath a prayer? Excellent question. I have no idea myself.
And finally, from 16th century Spain, an antiphonal for the whole choir to read from and sing along with. Opening the book is like lifting a cellar door.
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of research on books, book making, and life in Medieval Europe, so I dug out some old sketchbooks and drawings from my travels to reacquaint myself with what architecture looked like in the Middle Ages. I had forgotten how much I loved to draw buildings! Churches, houses, bridges, towers, pastures of sheep… I thought I’d share a few of them here to give a sense of the places I’ve sat and drawn. All of these were done in ink, pencil, and watercolor with limited use of gouache. The first is from a village on the outskirts of Amsterdam (not Medieval, but the sheep could be, right?) and the second and third are from Ghent and Bruges, respectively. More to come soon!