Monastic production

From the Early Christian period until the rise of the universities around 1200, book production was largely centred in monastic scriptoria, with male and female religious participating in the work. A scriptorium could operate under a supervisor, and the work teams varied in composition, from a single artist-scribe who was responsible for a whole book to extensive teams of scribes, illuminators, correctors, and binders. The sequence of work also varied, but the general procedure seems to have entailed the writing of the main text, its rubrication, illumination, and correction, followed by sewing and binding. Work in the scriptorium represented one part of the daily work in a monastic community, as prescribed by its rule. Monastic production continued alongside secular production during the later Middle Ages.


Michelle Brown

Michelle Brown, Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Malibu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the British Library, c1994).