Seven videos on making medieval manuscripts

The British Library has released a set of seven videos to look at the process of creating medieval manuscripts. Patricia Lovett, a professional calligrapher and illuminator, hosts these 2-3 minute videos, which follow the process from the tools used to the techniques employed in designing an illuminated page.

Quills – Did you know that left-handed pens were in use during the Middle Ages? Demonstrating how to make quill pens from bird feathers.


Oak Gall Ink – Why were wasps so important for medieval scribes? Revealing the complex process behind making ink for writing in manuscripts.

Vellum – What material did scribes use instead of paper for the pages in their books? Examining how animal skins were selected and prepared for use in medieval manuscripts.


The Page – How did scribes prepare their pages for writing? Examining the tools for ruling and line marking in medieval books.

Pigments – How did illuminators make the brilliant colours in their manuscripts? Uncovering the variety of pigments that were in use in the Middle Ages.

Paint – What role did eggs play in illuminating manuscripts? Explaining how medieval artists painted the beautiful illustrations in their books.

Making Miniatures – How did medieval artists make their manuscripts shine? Exploring the work behind painting and embellishing manuscripts and reproduces a lavishly illuminated page.


Learn more about medieval manuscripts at the British Library’s new website on Medieval England and France, 700–1200

Click here to visit Patricia Lovett’s website

Top Image: British Library MS Arundel 74   f. 2v