Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts by Michelle Brown

Do you remember the illuminated bookmark I made several months ago?. Okay, it’s this one:

Illumination is the art of decorating text with all kinds of ornaments or images. Think about medieval manuscripts and the popular Book of hours (which is not just one book, but how this type of religious manuscripts were called).

If you are familiar with it and wish to have more in depth knowledge about techniques, processes, materials, nomenclature and styles used for making illuminated manuscripts, then Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts can satisfy your curiosity. This is a revised edition of a book first published in 1994. Think of it as an “anatomy guide” full with terms, easy to read explanations and beautiful images. It also feels like a dictionary to accompany your studies.

It is a technical book, so I wouldn’t recommend it for the casual reader. However, explanations are easy to understand and you don’t need to be an scholar or researcher to benefit from it. If you are an autodidact, this book would be perfect to help you understand many terms you might encounter in other related texts. Anyone trying to gain a deeper understanding of illuminated manuscripts can benefit from it.

At this point, my interest is general and only focused on the artistic side of illumination. If I was to specialize on medieval illustration and try to recreate this wonderful style accurately, then I would definitely rely on this book because of its good balance between text and images plus modern explanations.

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| Indiebound | Amazon | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Barnes&Noble | Wordery |

About Alicia

I enjoy sharing my love for good books with other people. I wish you can find the type of books meant for you. Art is my passion. Both activities allow me to travel to imaginary places, learn, grow and share my journey with others. Feel free to join me, I love company.


  1. Great Book. A must for anyone learning this craft or interested in illuminated manuscripts. I have the earlier edition and can’t live without it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jehanne! Great to hear from someone who owns the previous edition. It’s indeed a great book and I’m happy they are keeping it alive with this new edition. May I ask, did you buy it as part of your studies or just pure interest in this lovely craft?


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