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Topic: Help... fancy letters in illuminated manuscripts  (Read 781 times)
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« on: March 28, 2007 07:12:22 PM »

something like this:

Is there a name for this big, fancy letters before the rest of the text?
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2007 07:14:29 PM »

I think they are called "illuminated letters." But, since I'm not a historian or an artist, I'm not 100% sure...

They are very cool, though!

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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2007 07:14:38 PM »

I've always heard them called illuminations in art classes, although the kit I have for learning to do it [it was a gift] called it "illuminated lettering".

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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2007 07:15:17 PM »

so simple, lol. I thought for sure they'd have some technical name
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2007 11:12:32 PM »

Wikipedia has an entry under "illuminated manuscript" which is quite detailed - but a quick scan didn't reveal any highly technical name for the illuminated initial capitals.

« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2007 12:31:44 AM »

All parts of a manuscript that have been made using coloured inks or paints and gold count as part of the "illuminations" so illuminated letters is as good a name as any.
In my class we called them illuminated capitals, or just capitals, as they usually are, and most of the online paleography sites seem to agree on that.  If you search for paleography in google, you should get a nice list of sites devoted to manuscript studies of all eras. Although they focus more on the text itself than the fancy illuminated bits, illuminated capitals are included.

Often a text would be written by one scribe (or more) and then the capitals at the start by another. Unless you are talking certain manuscripts where one lone monk struggled through it all. I love paleography Cheesy
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2007 09:43:13 AM »

wow, i would have just called it a "drop cap". or, a drop cap letter in fancy old-school script.

but i guess if it's on an illuminated manuscript (whatever that is), it is extra special?

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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2007 02:55:55 PM »

It's the fancy letters, art work and gilding that earn the manuscript the  term Illuminated, without those it is just a manuscript. 
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