And that’s okay.
I recently handled Poole 19 at the Lilly Library. This manuscript is in rough shape and beautiful. As always please click on the image to see it better and to get more explanation about it. Letter x height in this book is consistently 3mm. You can use that as a way to gain perspective of the size of the work you are seeing.
Remember clicking on the picture will give you much more information than if you just skim through this post. I put things this way so that people who just wanted to get a quick jist of things could and those who wanted more details and information would get what they wanted as well.
As we move on through the book we see
A common practice to cannibalize one manuscript to fix another one.
And then there are pests that literally eat the book!
And then there is human damage
Of course books wear out over time but that too is caused by humans. And sometimes the damage shows up in the darnedest places.
And stains can be found on many pages of the manuscript as well.
Yes, indeed this manuscript is in pretty rough shape. And yet here I am telling you that, that is okay. Medieval manuscripts are old and on average they are going to be worn out. That means that they were treasured, used and loved. Okay for some of them they were purposefully mangled but often because others treasured them. The fights and destruction of books over history is fascinating unto itself, and a topic for another time.
So what’s to love about this manuscript today? Well, we should feel respect for the scribe who wrote it, the artist who illuminated it and the binder who put it all together. We can be thankful to those people over the past 500 or so years who worked diligently to restore it, repair it and bring it along as far as they did. The beauty of this manuscript is in its survival and the work by those who helped make that happen. But that isn’t the only beauty in this manuscript.
Check this out.
Take a good close look at it.
We also find some beautiful calligraphy as well.
And there are some wonderful capitals as well that are iconic for the time period this manuscript is from.
And we get full pages that one can spend some pleasant time on as well.
And because I know people love looking at the decorations
We even get a look at how the book was ruled.
And some fun rubrication to finish off the series of pictures
So I encourage you to look at the ugly, the torn up, the manuscripts, art, books, works that are torn up and not pristine. Find the beauty in them for most certainly it exists. Use them as a way to study how manuscripts were made, repaired and used. Use them as a way to learn to appreciate the pristine manuscripts in new ways.
As always I hope you are enjoying my blog, please remember to rate the post.