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Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts

Illuminated Letters: The first letter of the beginning chapter of an illuminated page was usually large and decorated. Use the first letter of your names to make a decorated letter. Color it different colors, add glitter, or use other materials to make it "illuminated." You could also include a picture within the letter, like the example in Key Idea 1.  

Anatomy of an Illuminated Manuscript: What are the different parts of an illuminated manuscript? Enlarge and print off one of the examples of an illuminated manuscript from this website. Where do you see gold gilding? Decorated chapter letters? A detailed border? Ruled lines? A miniature? Anything else? Paste the picture on a larger sheet of paper and label the different parts.  

Illuminated Stories: Many times the scribe and the illuminator were two different people. Write a short story or a poem that you would like illuminated. Rule out lines on a piece of paper and then carefully write out the text. Then, pass on the page to a classmate to illuminate it with pictures, decorated letters, and detailed borders.  

A Contemporary Illumination: Visit the St. John's Bible Web page to explore a contemporary illumination produced in the traditional method.  

April 2005