Decorative surrounds, or borders, were popular in Gothic and Renaissance illumination and evolved during the thirteenth century from the extenders that sprang from decorated letters. A border surrounds text and/or image and may occupy margins and intercolumnar space. Some borders are in panelled form, others are composed of foliate decoration or bars, the latter often sprouting plant forms and known as foliate bar borders. A full border surrounds an image or text on all sides, while a partial border frames only part of the area in question. Like an initial, a border can be inhabited or historiated. During the fifteenth century, a form of border became popular (initially within the works of the Ghent-Bruges School and subsequently in French and Italian illumination) in which naturalistically rendered flora and fauna were placed, as if strewn, on a ground (often gilded). These are termed scatter, strew, or trompe l'oeil borders. Another popular form of border during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was the spray border, consisting of fine foliate tendrils with small gilded leaves. Humanistic manuscripts often feature white vine-stem borders.
Michelle Brown , mzh
Michelle Brown. Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Malibu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the British Library, c1994).