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Leaves of Gold: Manuscript Illumination from Philadelphia Collections

Leaves of Gold: Manuscript Illumination from Philadelphia Collections

Edited by James R. Tanis and Jenny A. Thompson

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Philadelphia’s diverse public libraries, universities, scholarly institutions, and museums hold numerous—but often little-known—treasures, including many hand-produced manuscripts decorated with miniature paintings. Presented in this catalogue are eighty illuminated manuscripts and individual leaves and cuttings from manuscripts in Philadelphia’s public collections. Important manuscript centers of Medieval and Renaissance Europe are represented, as is almost every known type of early illuminated book: Bibles, Psalters, Books of Hours, a wide variety of liturgical manuscripts, and many types of literary and secular texts. The delicate paintings are rich historical sources, which not only comment on the texts they decorate, but also reveal the art, customs, and styles of the times. With their jewel-like colors, intimate scale, and often whimsical marginalia, illuminated manuscripts provide an especially engaging view into the past. The works included here range in subject matter from the religious to the romantic, and include such treasures as a superb Book of Hours once owned by the Earl of Pembroke and an elegantly illustrated copy of Saint Augustine’s City of God.

242 pages
185 illus. (143 in color)
12 x 9 inches
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2001
ISBN-13: 978-0876331446