Medieval Pigments: Creation and Analysis

How did medieval artists source and create their pigments? What techniques and resources did they use? How can modern artists' techniques help us understand how medieval artists applied their paints? How can modern analytic equipment help us understand both pigments and techniques? This list of links provides some good starting points for exploring these questions.


Core Resources

Books of Hours

In my medieval manuscripts course, we frequently work intently with Books of Hours -- digital facsimiles from other libraries as well as specimens available at the UGA Special Collections Library. The resources below are to help both the neophyte and the experienced student engage with these complex books. This page will be in constant evolution as the manuscript/Books of Hours courses shift; suggestions welcome.


Paleography is the study (and deciphering) of ancient handwriting. I don't spend much time on paleography in my medieval courses. Most students are doing well to conquer Middle English in typeset, normalized student editions, without tackling the vagaries of medieval scribes and their peculiarities. I won't ask you to "read" a manuscript without access to, at minimum, a transcription of its texts, and usually I try to match manuscripts with student editions or translations.

But for those of you who are interested, here are a few resources that you can consult on your own.

Manuscript Resources

None of the medieval texts we read originally appeared in the tidy, uniform format of the student edition. They all circulated in handwritten, unique manuscripts (with the exception of a few early printed texts). This material fact can greatly affect how we might read this literature intertextually and the kinds of assumptions we make about readerships.


I have gathered here a wide array of resources -- mostly digital, but some crucial print ones -- for the study of Middle English culture, language, and literature. Although students are my primary audience (I assign material from many of these websites in my courses), I also use these pages as a repository for the increasing number of excellent scholarly websites, especially but not exclusively digital editions, online indices and databases, and manuscript facsimiles. These pages are therefore constantly under construction, as I continue to add (and sometimes remove) content.

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