(MS Harley 4664) Text lines or lines for writing are the horizontal lines within the text area intended to guide the main writing. The lines for writing that are outside the text area receive the name of independent marginal ruling. Copyright belonging to British Library W6: The hierarchical structure of the different initials in a manuscript can be seen here, ranking from the floriate initial, to the inhabited initials, and the rubricated paragraph initials.
(Royal MS 19 B XV) The colour red was often made by heating together mercury and sulfur in a clay pot until the smoke turned red. Though this method is rather unhealthy. Reusability via the British library by CC0 1.0 W6: In the text below the illuminated panel of this page, taking up more than half the page, we find two examples of plain flourish initials.
A scribe would often use his penknife to hold down the leaf in place when writing with a quill as not to smear the ink. In public domain. W6: In this initial illustration, we have an example of a historiated initial, a portrait of the author as chronicler of his work.
(MSS_Urb.lat.2 1v) The most precious metallic pigment was gold. This was hammered into thin sheets, then ground to a powder and added salt, honey, nitro or mercury to prevent it from lumping. Copyright Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana W6: This complete marginal decoration is the utmost example of the fullest style of marginal pattern, where all sides are covered in decoration of different styles.
(Ms 107, fol 89r, Verdun, CC Bibliothèque de Verdun) W6: The bas-de-page, an unframed image that occurs in the lower margin, often contained humorous elements.
Image of an item from the British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts
W7: (Smithsonian, no information on copyrights) Here we see examples of the herringbone sewing technique, and a detail of the endband. The herringbone style of sewing was the first example of bookbinding sewing on supports.
Coptic Book Binding
Several quires, consisting of three or four bifolia, stitched together. No information on reuse. W7: Typical of the Coptic binding is the sowing with linked stitches.
(Royal MS 1 D VIII) Another scribal error we find is the omitting of words or phrases, called homoioteleuton or saut du meme au meme. Public domain
W7 (3406e32, BL, public domain) The main feature, and difference from the more modern 19 Century binding, of the typical Gothic rounded spine was that the spine followed the natural form of the quiers. This resulted in that the manuscript would fully open when laid flat.
W7 (PA6809.A5 D47 1552, copyright Princeton U.) In this French manuscript from the 16th century we see an example of the decorative technique called gauffered edges. Gauffered edges are first gilded and then further decorated by impressing finishing tools into the textblock edge surface.
W7 (Davis80, CC by BL) A typical undecorated English Romanesque binding. Note the brass clasp.
W7: Rebinding a manuscript (Fitzwilliam MS 251) using a sewing frame. The use of a sewing frame has been in use since the 12th century. Public domain.
W7: (Historical Binding: A Carolingian Cutaway Model) In this reconstrunction we see the method of using wooden boards with holes and lines for the sewing.
W7: (Add MS 28821/1, public domain, BL) Typically, the best moment to explore the inner workings of medieval bookbinding is during restoration, when the binding is removed and the details are revealed. Here we see link-stitch chains remain in the spine area from a Byzantine manuscript.
W7: (Arundel MS 66, CC BL), A sad fact about medieval bookbinding is that very few original bindings still remain intact. As the binding's main function was to protect the content, it was also the first to suffer damage, resulting in significant repairs, or as shown here, a complete rebinding.