What is a Manuscript?

Making Manuscripts: A video from the Getty Museum


Binding- The sewing and covering of a manuscript.

Binding Medium- An ingredient in paint or ink that binds the pigment to the embellished surface.  For example, egg white, gum, glue.

Border- Decoration surrounding the text or image, occupying the marginal areas or intercolumnar space.

Codex- A book of folded sheets sewn along one edge.  The most popular book form in the Christian Middle Ages.

Foliation- The numbering of folios.

Folio- A sheet of writing material.  Abbreviated as f., or fol.

Gilding/Gilt- The application of gold and silver to the folio surface, as ink or gold/silver leaf.

Illumination- The embellishment of a manuscript with brilliant colors, including gold and silver.

Illuminator- The artist producing the illumination.  The illuminator may or may not also be the scribe.

Manuscript- A hand-written book.

Miniature- An illustration independent of another aspect of the decorative scheme.

Paleography- The study of script and the history of script.

Parchment- A writing support material derived from prepared animal skin.

Picture Cycle- A series of illuminations of related subject matter.

Pigment- The coloring agent in paint derived from vegetable, mineral, and animal extracts.  The pigment is mixed with the binding medium and applied to the surface to be decorated.

Psalter- The Book of Psalms.  Compiled for liturgical or personal use.

Recto- The front side of a folio.  Abbreviated as r.

Register- A horizontal tier in an illumination.

Scribe- The person physically copying text onto the folio surface.  The scribe may or may not also be the illuminator.

Shelf Mark- A series of numbers and letters used to identify the manuscript's location in a library.

Typology- The interpretive system in Christian thought where the events of the Old Testament are seen as prefigurations of the New Testament.  The New Testament is a fulfillment of the Old Testament.

Verso- The back side of a folio.  Abbreviated as v.

Vellum- A specific type of parchment made from calfskin.

Source- https://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/glossary.asp