An Illuminated Manuscript: Have you ever wondered, “How did they do that?”

Every time I see one of these amazing books, produced hundreds of years ago, I walk away in wonder.  Close consideration shows the incredible detail of the images and the text. Did one person create it all? Were they monks? Who paid for the work? In the follow post, we share with all you the complete article by Elaine Velie of Hyperallergic as Roger Wieck of the Morgan Library and Museum guides her through the step by step process to making and illuminating a manuscript.

illuminated manuscript

“Unfinished Hours” (1440–50), folios 14v-15r, M.358, at the Morgan Library and Museum. A page speckled with gold rests alongside a completed folio. (photo Elaine Velie/Hyperallergic)

At the stately Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan, a 15th-century illuminated manuscript lies unfinished nearly 600 years after it was started. Some of the book’s pages only feature text and splotches of gold leaf; others showcase roughly painted vines and flowers. A few pages are complete except for sketches in the margins. A handful of folios are complete. The book’s varied stages of completion make it a rare example of this type of manuscript. It is also the perfect tool to understand how Medieval artisans crafted their exquisitely detailed works.

Roger Wieck, the Morgan’s curator, and department head of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, sat down with Hyperallergic to leaf through the book — and explain what makes it so unique.

This particular illuminated manuscript is what is known as a book of hours. It is very popular popular prayer book and a calendar for people. Each book is specifically commissioned and passes down as a family heirloom. This “Unfinished Hours,” is from Provence, France, and created between 1440 and 1450. Although books of hours were most popular in Northern Europe between the 14th and 16th centuries, Wieck says the Medieval manuscript-making process was the same across different centuries and geographies.

For the ENTIRE STORY and IMAGES on this amazing book and the creation process.