The Typography of Illuminated Manuscripts
Creating an illuminated manuscript was a very lengthy process comprised of many steps. It was common for the task of writing the text and illustrating the decorative borders and drop caps to be split between two people; a scribe and an illuminator. The style of the script used changed depending on current styles and cultural trends. Classic Roman letters were used in the early Middle Ages but then gave way to bulkier Uncial and half-Uncial letterforms. Towards the 13th century and the late Middle Ages dense, stocky blackletter was used because it allowed more text to fit on a page.
Scripting and illuminating took careful planning and extensive designing before anything was created. Just as book layouts are composed today, manuscript designs were sketched and gridded far in advance.
|The process of creating a manuscript from the compiling the quire to binding.|
The illumination of the drop caps, or historiated initials, included gold leafing and painting and the designs common during the Gothic period were the most ornate. The execution of illumination was delicate and tedious.
|An illuminated historiated initial.|
|The illumination process.|
* * * * *
Diagrams found on Wikipedia.