This text is so, illuminating!

As with having a webpage today owning a book in the Middle Ages was a pretty big deal. The fact that you did meant you were very rich and extra credit was due if it was a bible donated to a Cathedral like say Gloucester’s. Unlike the price of book ownership in the past, Gloucestershire website design is more affordable. In the past if you were looking for something like a Bible and you wanted to really show off and get in God’s good books then you would have had to have it illuminated. Each chapter would have started with a fancy picture and way over the top capital letter.

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Any illuminated book needs a heavy dose of gold and silver, the idea is to begin the book with a real splash. This is usually a picture of the theme of the chapter. First the Monk copies out from the scripture/text on the subject itself. Once that is done, and it was a very lengthy process, it was sent off to the first stage of illumination namely that of the rubricator (You can find out more about this role by following this link). This chap (they were mainly men) went through the book sorting out all the titles in some lovely red but other colours were also available. This would take a while too as the ink needed to dry sufficiently before the illuminators could get their hands on it.

It wasn’t a case of knocking out a quick pencil sketch of Christ’s Ascension to Heaven or the Battle of Tours followed by a bit of colouring in.  The initial sketch was done using tiny powder dots in black graphite then joined up using Silverpoint. This was a technique where a silver rod is the pencil and the paper are covered in primer. You can’t rub out mistakes so that killing of Thomas Becket or unfurled angel’s wings need to be spot on first time. No pressure then.

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Gold, being everything, the next stage is gold dot time and then the adding of the required colours. To have the ‘gold leaf’ treatment on your website take a look at The Illuminator had quite a varied palette to choose from. Red was made of cochineal or insects blood. Dangerous chemicals like red lead were also employed so no licking the end of the brush. Yellow was safer as it used spices like turmeric or saffron, green came for the berries of a buckthorn bush or ground up malachite. For blue there was the old standby woad made from leaves and for white we have our old friend Lead or the less thick but safer option of chalk. Black was the easy as there was plenty of charcoal, but it seems that the ink from cuttlefish was greatly prized too. To really blow the budget Gold leaf and Silver leaf were used to finish it all off.

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