- that a Medieval copyist could finish 4-6 pages in one day?
- that real gold was used to decorate the pages?
- that paint could be made from plants or by grinding up precious stones?
- that red ink was used for initials and titles, to help the reader navigate the text?
- that at Court a worldy story like that of King Arthur was read aloud to a group of listeners?
- that this is the reason some of the books are so large, all listeners had to be able to see the illustrations.
- that books were meant to last years, if not generations?
These are all little fun facts I learned when I was at the exhibition of Magical Miniatures in Utrecht. Here many medieval text could be seen, each one beautifully decorated. The colours were fresh, just like the drawings were made yesterday, instead of 600 years ago!
There were religious books like psalmbooks and Bibles and wordly books like the tales of King Arthur or historical stories, and most of them were decorated beautifully. There are of course the illustrations to complete the story, but also little drawings and fun little things next to the texts. Flowers, but also animals like birds or even monkeys decorated the pages!
I absolutely loved the exhibition and I knew again why I studied Medieval History in the first place!