HERB - Standard floral depictions in illumination?

Jenne Heise jenne at tulgey.browser.net
Thu Jan 7 12:51:07 PST 1999

Long introduction to the question:
Yesterday, I had an epiphany of sorts. I had spent the part of the
afternoon looking through the three medieval books of hours our Special
Collections department has, choosing pages to photograph for a digitial
exhibition. One of these volumes has sprays of flowers depicted springing
from each illumnated capital, into the margin. We were epecially taken by
some red flowers...

Later last night I was paging through the 'Herbal of the Count of
Palatine' and stumbled across the illustration of the pomegranate. Here
were our red flowers! I checked them in another book, and definitely they
were recognizable.

I mentioned that to our Special Collections librarian. He suggested that
we try to identify all the flowers (there are about 8 kinds used in the

Further, he was musing about the construction of these books. The ones we
have are 'shop products', that is, one ordered them from a shop of skilled
craftsmen. Lettering, illumnation, gold leaf etc. were each done by a
different craftsman. Phil wondered if anyone had ever done a study of how
the ordering business worked. Did one walk in and pick from a kind of
sample book, or make special requests? Was it like picking options for
your new car (I can get you a package deal, gold leaf on the capitals AND
on the illuminations-- half price if you get both?)? If flowers or
whatever were used, did you get to pick the kinds?

Anyone know anything about this?

Jadwiga Zajaczkowa (Shire of Eisental; HERMS Cyclonus), mka Jennifer Heise	
jenne at tulgey.browser.net

"Healing the universe is an inside job." 

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