Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Macclesfield Alphabet Book - Review

 The Macclesfield Alphabet Book with introductions by Christopher de Hammel and Patricia Lovett
 ISBN-10: 0712358048

The Macclesfield Alphabet Book is a beautiful 15th century English manuscript which appears to be serve the purpose of a pattern book. It contains a range of alphabets including decorative initials with faces; foliate alphabets; a zoomorphic alphabet of initials, and alphabets in Gothic script. There are also large grotesque initials and a number of different types of borders (see below).

The manuscript was acquired by the British Library in 2009.

Grotesque on page 10

For those interested in reproducing medieval illumination this is an amazing reference. Images range from sketches, to outlines, to coloured peices and gold leafed sections. The range of alphabets has something to suite any work of art. The introduction discusses the Macclesfield Alphabet Book in terms of contemporary scribal work as well as other pattern books. The practitioners introduction has a wonderful discussion of the scribe and his tools. I was quite taken with the step by step process of creating a finished piece.


Coloured borders on page 45.

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