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Title: Colour, paint and gold : the materiality of English manuscript illumination in the twelfth century
Author: Stirrup, Harold Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 2738 1093
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2012
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During the first quarter of the twelfth century artists in the scriptoria of English monastic houses began using a painting technique with a more extensive range of colours than had been usual, and used with thicker and more opaque paint. Later, the use of gold leaf increased and gesso grounds were introduced. Such materials were reserved mainly for prestigious liturgical manuscripts such as Bibles and psalters, and also for illustrated saints’ lives. The prefatory miniatures in the St Albans Psalter and the illustrations in the Bury and Winchester Bibles are examples. This study provides a visual and physical examination of many important illuminations—their paint, gold and colour—and explores their relationship with the texts they illustrate. Original contributions to the scholarship can be found in the chapter on colour, which provides a focus for discussion not available in the previous literature; this includes a survey of colour words used in the Vulgate, and an analysis of the symbolic use of colours by the Alexis Master which reflected centuries of biblical exegesis; in the new analysis and interpretation of the ‘Elkanah’s Gift’ miniature in the Bury Bible; in a new understanding of the materiality of the Four Psalter Leaves; in a clearer view of how the use of vellum was modified to accommodate thicker and heavier materials; in a better understanding of how gold was used, including details of a previously unrecognized decorative technique in the Auct. Bible; in the analysis and identification of hands in some of the manuscripts; in the new identification of an artist’s mark in the Bury Bible, and in the emphasis on the writings of Jerome as a source of novel imagery.
Supervisor: Hawkes, Jane ; Norton, Chrisopher Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available