Les Enluminures

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The Office of the Dead

October 21st, 2021

The Office of the Dead is a crucial inclusion in the Book of Hours, but it is often ignored when it comes to discussions of manuscript illumination. Today we discuss the use and history of the Office of the Dead. Why is the Office of the Dead included in Books of Hours? How is the office of the dead related to the rise of trick-or-treating on Halloween? And why did the Office of the Dead develop? Who used this prayer cycle, and why?  



The “Ideal Death” in a Book of Hours

Book of Hours with a Mass for the Dead illuminated

Job on the Dung Heap at the beginning of the Office of the Dead


Medieval Talismans

October 14th, 2021

Continuing our October season programming, today we examine a pectoral cross and the “Talisman” of Charlemagne. Just what was a medieval amulet? Did the church accept the use of talismans and charms? Who used and wore precious stones? What is the difference between a textual amulet and a material one? Find out the answers to these questions and many others in today's episode.


Reliquary Pendant with Christ on the Cross

The Talisman of Charlemagne: New Historical and Gemological Discoveries


A Chiromancy Manuscript!

October 7th, 2021

Today, we kick off our October season programming by exploring Manuscript TM111:  Dell’idea del futuro, or On the idea of Future, an unpublished treatise on chiromancy. What is Chiromancy and how is it related to fortune telling? Can you read and use this manuscript yourself? How is Chiromancy related to Carl Jung? Find out in today’s episode. 


Les Enluminures TM1111: Dell’idea del futuro (On the idea of Future; unpublished treatise on chiromancy) 

Britannica “Palmistry”

What‘s the difference between an Author and a Scribe?

September 30th, 2021

Scribes were key players in the recording and preservation of knowledge in the medieval period. But who were they? What did they do and how did they live? What distinguishes a scribe from an author, and what professions most closely resemble the role of the medieval scribe today? Find out this week on the Les Enluminures podcast. 

The Medieval Scribe and the Art of Writing: https://ultimatehistoryproject.com/the-medieval-scribe.html 

Timothy O’Neill, The Irish Hand: Scribes and Their Manuscripts from the Earliest Times to the Seventeenth Century With an Exemplar of Irish Scripts: https://www.abebooks.co.uk/book-search/title/irish-hand-scribes-manuscripts-earliest/author/oneill-timothy/ 
Kim Haines-Eitzen (Winter 1998). "Girls Trained in Beautiful Writing: Female Scribes in Roman Antiquity and Early Christianity". Journal of Early Christian Studies. 6 (4): 629–646.

Parchment, Papyrus, & Paper: Composing Manuscripts

September 23rd, 2021

At the core, a medieval manuscript is composed of bifolia sewn together and bound. But what materials were these pages made of and how does that affect the way you should treat your manuscripts today? Listen in as we discuss paper, parchment, papyrus, amate and wax tablet manufacture during the process of making a manuscript. We will provide some helpful tips on parchment preservation and suggest a few details to look for when trying to identify parchment or paper. 



On holes and repairs in manuscripts at the Morgan Library & Museum: ​​https://www.themorgan.org/blog/holey-moly-historical-damage-and-repairs-medieval-manuscripts 

A blog on the parchment making process by Meliora di Curci:


Another excellent resource on parchment production:


What is a Text Manuscript?

September 16th, 2021

Laura Light, director and senior specialist, Text Manuscripts at Les Enluminures, takes a moment today to discuss Les Enluminure’s textmanuscripts.com. What is a text manuscript, and what makes them different from illuminated manuscripts with text? Who buys text manuscripts and how are they used now? Join Laura to discover the answers to these and many other questions. She also discusses the details of some of her favorite manuscripts currently offered for sale on the text manuscript site including an eleventh-century French Pontifical with a text detailing the reconsecration of a sacred space where blood has been spilled, two presentation booklets for Heinrich Conried that include neo-medieval illuminations of Parsifal’s grail and Salome’s veil, and a manuscript of Thomas Aquinas’ Commentary on the Ethics of Aristotle with illuminations by Leonardo Bellini, the most important Venetian illuminator working between 1460-80. 







”Touching the Book” with Kathryn Rudy

September 9th, 2021

Today, Dr. Kathryn Rudy speaks with host Sandra Hindman on a fascinating range of topics related to “touching” the book as well as the innovative techniques she has developed in her forensic approach to the study of manuscripts. Kathryn Rudy pioneered the use of the densitometer to measure the grime that original readers deposited in their books, but today she delves even further into her creative application of additional techniques such as RAK (Raking light) technologies to solve problems posed by “big dirty books” and the grubby face stains in books of hours. From her childhood discovery of inadvertent marks to tracing pollen dust, join Sandra Hindman and discover the most cutting edge technology in manuscript analysis.

Kathryn Rudy is a manuscript historian at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. She earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University in Art History, and a Licentiate in Mediaeval Studies from the University of Toronto. She has held research, teaching, and curatorial positions in the US, the UK, Canada, The Netherlands, and Belgium. Her research concentrates on the reception and original function of manuscripts, especially those manufactured in the Low Countries. She is currently developing new ways to track and measure user response of late medieval manuscripts. Dr. Rudy is the author of six books, including Image, Knife, and Gluepot: Early Assemblage in Manuscript and Print (Open Book Publishers, 2019); Rubrics, Images and Indulgences in Late Medieval Netherlandish Manuscripts (Leiden: Brill, 2017); Piety in Pieces: How medieval readers customized their manuscripts (Open Book Publishers, 2016); and Postcards on Parchment: The Social Lives of Medieval Books(Yale University Press, 2015). 


Kathryn M. Rudy, "Dirty Books: Quantifying Patterns of Use in Medieval Manuscripts Using a Densitometer," Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art 2:1-2 (Summer 2010) https://jhna.org/articles/dirty-books-quantifying-patterns-of-use-medieval-manuscripts-using-a-densitometer/ 

“How the Grand Obituary of Notre-Dame (Paris, BnF, Ms. lat. 5185 CC) was Touched, Kissed, and Handled” Kathryn Rudy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixugb35bfcA 

“How medieval users handled their manuscripts” Professor Kathryn Rudy, Inaugural Lecture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3FYjWov0gM 


Les Enluminures x TEFAF Online: https://www.tefaf.com/visitors/sign_up 

Did Medieval people wear Relics?

September 2nd, 2021

Medieval jewelry was luxurious and costly. It was a treasured element of an individual’s sense of community, identity and of course a display of status. But why might medieval people conceal little fragments of bone, skin, or hair inside of these gorgeous objects? How did this container function, and what made these tiny, portable and wearable reliquaries different from display reliquaries found in churches and shrines?  


Meaningful Jewels: https://www.lesenluminures.com/publications/3-the-thing-of-mine-i-have-loved-the-text-by-cynthia-hahn-with-beatriz-chadour-sampson./ 

Treasures of Heaven: https://projects.mcah.columbia.edu/treasuresofheaven/relics/Reliquary-Pendant-76.php 



Les Enluminures Rock Crystal Pendant with Column:



Thame Ring: https://collections.ashmolean.org/collection/search/per_page/25/offset/0/sort_by/relevance/object/63737 

British Museum Reliquary Pendant: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/H_1902-0210-1

Introduction to Iconographic Rings

August 26th, 2021

We all live with jewelry and encounter historical examples in paintings, photographs and pop culture. Yet, many types of historical jewelry are unknown because they have simply not been studied. Join Sandra Hindman today as she discusses a little known type of ring: the iconographic ring. What are these precious objects? How did they come to be named and what are they made from? Who would have worn these intimate medieval jewels? And what kind of iconography do we find on iconographic rings?

View our jewelry inventory on our website at: https://www.lesenluminures.com/ancient-jewelry-medieval-rings-and-necklaces-for-sale/

Manuscript Production: Illuminating Materials

August 19th, 2021

In this episode we cover the basic processes around the three most important materials applied to the parchment page: gold, ink, and pigment. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a dye and a paint? How did scribes and artists cut their quills and make their brushes? And how, exactly, did medieval artists make their manuscripts shimmer and sparkle with gold?

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