Medieval books



Into a letter P: St Paul at the desk with ruled quire, writing, Hamburg Bible, 1255, Denmark, The Royal Library, MS GKS 4 2°, vol. III, f. 125r
Long before ruled notebooks hit the shelves, medieval writers lined, laid out, and folded their own parchment.

The work of the scribe


The golden letters in this manuscript were stolen by a thief in the past, who cut them out with a knife. Leiden, University Library, BPL MS 59, 14th century (photo: Erik Kwakkel)
Prime cuts, or strips? Scribes weren’t butchers, but they did cut skin and pick out different grades of parchment.

Skins and scraps