Les Enluminures Presents Themed E-Catalogues of Manuscripts

Courtesy of Les Enluminures

Psalter in Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment, ca. 1240-1260, from the latest Text Manuscripts catalogue, Picturing Texts.

The New York, Chicago, and Paris-based manuscript specialists Les Enluminures have just released the fifth in a new series of e-catalogues on specific themes in medieval manuscripts. For each catalogue, Laura Light, director and senior specialist, together with Les Enluminures founder Sandra Hindman, has gathered together ten manuscripts (with the occasional printed book) around a focused topic. Illustrated with short descriptions, each offers a short and sweet introduction for students and collectors. Here’s a rundown of the first five:

Courtesy of Les Enluminures

Picturing Texts: This e-catalogue focuses on figurative decoration in manuscripts and books, inviting readers to ponder why and how such images were made.

The “I” in Manuscript: Manuscripts, particularly from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, may seems like anonymous works, but this catalogue shines a light on the scribes and original owners known by name, giving us a personal link to those whom history might have forgotten had they not quite literally inscribed themselves into the book.

Excuse My French: The title says it all. Here we have a selection of manuscripts—histories, feudal records, and texts exploring ethical and religious behavior—in French that “bring to life the stories of men and women in everyday life in the past.”

The Ancients: The manuscripts highlighted here preserve texts from ancient world, such as Juvenal’s Satires, included here in a decorated manuscript on parchment in Latin from Northern Italy, ca. 1460-1480.

Women and the Book: In this e-catalogue, we meet female owners and makers of manuscripts, from prayer books made by and for nuns to an illuminated manuscript in French (and bound in purple velvet) owned by Anne de Polignac, who collected some thirty-six manuscripts, “…raising questions pertaining to female book ownership and literary and artistic patronage in the first decades of the sixteenth century.”    

As readers may recall, Text Manuscripts reached 1,000 entries back in 2019. These are manuscripts offered/sold by Les Enluminures that remain in an online “archive” for future scholarly consultation, calling attention to the dual role Sandra Hindman plays as both a seller of manuscripts and an historian who is committed to broadening the scope of manuscript studies.