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ENGL 4892: Medieval Manuscripts & Where to Find Them (Camp): Medieval Color

Looking at Color on Medieval Color
Colour: The Art & Science of Illuminated Manuscripts 

Be sure to explore both the website and catalogue (Main Library ND2897.C35 F58 2016) for the recent exhibit at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. 
Illuminated: Medieval Manuscripts in the Making
Visit the Lab section for information about artists' materials and techniques and methods of technical analysis used in studying the manuscripts housed at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Online image database featuring an unparalleled range of images from the world's leading museums, photo archives, scholars, and artists.  Search by material (iron gall), period (medieval), technique, artist, location, style, etc.  

Medieval Recipe Books
Yale Traveling Scriptorium: Inks & Pigments 
Includes the digitized Medieval to Early Modern Manuscripts: Some Ink & Pigment Recipes and Ink & Pigment Sampler
The Craftsman's Handbook | Il Libro Dell'Arte 
(Cennino Cennini)
Written in the 15th century, Cennini's handbook is an invaluable source of information about all aspects of the craft of the late medieval painter's workshop and techniques. English translation available in the Main Library (ND1130.C395 1954)

Researching Color

Reference & Background
Glossaries, handbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference works are the place to start for background, and can help you:

  • understand the basics of your topic, in clear nontechnical language.
  • identify useful keywords that you can use to search for articles or books.
  • find the titles of scholarly books and articles on your topic (look in the bibliography).

Books in the Library
Use the Libraries online catalog, GIL-Find (, to locate books and other materials related to medieval pigment and color.  Search using simple keywords (eg. medieval AND colorant, pigment, illumination, ink, polychromy, etc.) or Library of Congress Subject Headings, for example:

  • Pigments
  • Artists' Materials
  • Painting - Medieval
  • Painting, Medieval -- Technique
  • Illumination of Books & Manuscripts - Medieval
  • Art - Medieval
  • Color in Art
  • Science - Medieval 
  • Red in Art

Scholarly Articles
Use the following GALILEO databases to locate scholarly journal articles on medieval painting from a variety of disciplines (art & art history, chemistry, history, literature, etc.)

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Emily Hopkins
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