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2.6 German medieval illuminated manuscripts

Brotherton Collection MS 18, fol. 7r
Explore digitised images of medieval manuscript illumination. Find out more about the significant provenances of the manuscripts, and how they came to the University of Leeds Library.
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[Evangelistarium]
Medieval manuscripts collected by the University Library in 1925, University of Leeds Special Collections
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Photograph of Lord Brotherton, 1926
Lord Brotherton's collecting of medieval manuscripts, held at the University fo Leeds Special Collections
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Jerome (fol. 2r)
Medieval illuminated manuscripts from the Ripon Cathedral collection, held at the University of Leeds Special Collections
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King David (fol. 21r)
French medieval illuminated manuscripts at the University of Leeds, Special Collections
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St. Luke, the Evangelist (fol. 14v)
French medieval illuminated manuscripts at the University of Leeds, Special Collections
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Corpus Christi (fol. 25r)
Southern Netherlands medieval illuminated manuscripts at the University of Leeds, Special Collections
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Coronation of the Virgin (fol. 17v)
Northern Netherlands medieval illuminated manuscripts at the University of Leeds, Special Collections
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Crucifixion of Christ (fol. 103r)
Italian medieval illuminated manuscripts at the University of Leeds, Special Collections
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Pan and other mythical creatures (fol. 97r)
German medieval illuminated manuscripts at the University of Leeds, Special Collections
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Burial service (fol. 7v)
English medieval illuminated manuscripts at the University of Leeds, Special Collections
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Seven Sorrows of the Virgin (fol. 142v)
Illuminated medieval manuscripts at the University of Leeds, Special Collections
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BC MS 1: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 1: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 2: [Breviarium ad Usum Parisiensem]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 2: [Breviarium ad Usum Parisiensem], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 3: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 3: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 4: [Hours of Antoine de Crèvecœur]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 4: [Hours of Antoine de Crèvecœur], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 5: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 5: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 6: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 6: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 7: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 7: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 8: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 8: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 9: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 9: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 10: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 10: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 11: [Preces]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 11: [Preces], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 12: [Preces]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 12: [Preces], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 14: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 14: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 15: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 15: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 16: [Beverley prayer book]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 16: [Beverley prayer book], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 18: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 18: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 22: [In epistolas canonicas]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 22: [In epistolas canonicas], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 23: Legenda aurea sanctorum
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 23: Legenda aurea sanctorum, held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 24: [Psalterium]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 24: [Psalterium], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS 100: [Biblical and genealogical chronicle from Adam and Eve to Louis XI of France]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS 100: [Biblical and genealogical chronicle from Adam and Eve to Louis XI of France], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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MS 124: [Evangelistarium]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript MS 124: [Evangelistarium], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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MS 498: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript MS 498: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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Ripon Cathedral MS 1: [Biblia]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript Ripon Cathedral MS 1: [Biblia], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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Ripon Cathedral MS 3: [Apocalypsis et Epistolae catholicae, cum glossis]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript Ripon Cathedral MS 3: [Apocalypsis et Epistolae catholicae, cum glossis], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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Ripon Cathedral MS 4: [In Apocalypsim; Threni Ieremie cum glossis]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript Ripon Cathedral MS 4: [In Apocalypsim; Threni Ieremie cum glossis], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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BC MS Frag. 1: Three single leaves from medieval liturgical manuscripts
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript BC MS Frag. 1: Three single leaves from medieval liturgical manuscripts, held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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Ripon Cathedral MS 9: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis]
View a high-resolution digitised version of the illuminated medieval manuscript Ripon Cathedral MS 9: [Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis], held in Special Collections at Leeds University Library.
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The earliest illuminated manuscript in Special Collections is a copy of Bede's commentaries on the canonical epistles (BC MS 22).

It was probably written and decorated by the Benedictine monks of the abbey in Reichenbach am Regen in Bavaria, where it could be found in the middle of the 12th century. It is written in beautiful Continental Caroline minuscule.

Large decorated and zoomorphic initials begin each of the seven epistles. For example a Wyvern (fol. 78v) forms a lively twisting shape of an S of "senior Gaio carissimo" which opens the sixth epistle – a private letter from the Evangelist John to the "elderly and beloved Gaius."

Another Bavarian example is a small prayer book (BC MS 12) which was written and illuminated some 400 years later at the beginning of the 16th century. Its calendar suggests that it was probably made for use in the area of Augsburg. The 41 miniatures of saints are modest, with minimal modelling and a reduced palette.

Jacob Elsner, an illuminator and goldsmith active in Nuremberg at the beginning of the 16th century, was probably responsible for a contemporary prayer book (BC MS 11) which is beautifully decorated with hundreds of naturalistic flowers, birds and insects, as well as some mythological figures.

Elsner also painted panels: two portraits survive at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg.

In the Leeds manuscript shown here, a decorated initial A for Ave Maria encloses a charming landscape (fol. 97r). It provides a close comparison with an etching by Albrecht Dürer of 1518, Landscape with Cannon. A very similar tree trunk rises in the foreground, and a winding path leads to the village in the background. The composition of the print is reversed, but the original design for the plate would have echoed the initial, with the tree on the right.

According to surviving documentation, Dürer employed an illuminator around 1505 and, as has been suggested by Edmund Schilling, this may have been Jacob Elsner.

Dr Katja Monier