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medival binding info



This is in reply to the student requesting information on medeival binding
methods for a thesis.

I completed my thesis project on medieval binding in April 1997 by writing
about and making my own medieval manuscript (the thesis is done but I'm still
working on the contents of the manuscript).  In order to narrow the topic
down to a slightly more manageable focus, I wrote about late twelfth- through
early thirteenth-century English binding practices.  Since I wanted to
explore the entire process, I also needed to decide what to put inside the
binding, and I chose to do a bestiary, also appropriate for that period.  I
used six English bestiaries from this period as the basis of my study and as
models from which to derive my text and miniatures.  My thesis includes some
explanation of the bestiary tradition as well as an analysis of the page
layout.  I also did some paleographical work on one of the original
manuscipts.  I wrote about my experiences with all the processes in
manuscript production and used medieval methods and materials whenever
possible.  I spun my own flax, split and planed the oak boards, made ink out
of oak galls, wrote in medieval Latin with a quill pen, ground my own
pigments, and used gold leaf on the miniatures.  My bestiary is not yet done,
although I did get some experience doing a mdeival binding and brass clasps
on a blank book.  The text is completed, the gold leaf is all down; now I'm
working on the miniatures (48), which are taking a very long time to do. This
past June I went to the UK to see the original manuscripts from which mine
has been modeled, and I found that I need to alter my painting techniques and
colors a bit.  Since finishing the thesis and having seen bindings from this
period on my recent trip, I have found several things I would update in my
thesis, so depending on what sort of information you are looking for, it
might or might not be helpful.


Pamela Rups
Computer Multimedia Specialist
University Computing Services
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI  49008
(616) 387-5016


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