Before the introduction of printing to Western Europe during the mid-fifteenth century, all books were written by hand. As a result, manuscripts were extremely rare and expensive, particularly those that were illuminated. Decorated with illustrations of brightly colored pigments and burnished gold leaf, illuminated manuscripts were first made by monasteries for their own libraries, but later, as literacy increased, for the visual and literary entertainment of royalty and the wealthy elite. Royal Illuminated Manuscripts
showcases the illuminated manuscripts collected by the kings and queens of England from the ninth to the sixteenth century. The forty-one manuscripts featured here, chosen for their beauty and significance, are presented chronologically, beginning in the Anglo-Saxon period and ending in the Tudor period. Accompanying each full-page image is an explanation of its content, symbolism, and provenance, as well as a discussion placing each within the wider context of the tradition of illuminated manuscripts. This informative book will serve as an extraordinary introduction to these beautiful and historically significant texts, offering vivid insights into subjects of royal identity, moral and religious beliefs, learning, faith, and international politics.
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