Illuminated Manuscripts

Week 3: Illuminated Manuscripts


Read K – 8: Marguerite Makes a Book by Bruce Robertson AND the information on this site:


  • What were illuminated manuscripts? (Books with hand-painted pictures and designs painted throughout the book.)
  • How were books printed during Medieval times? (by hand; by a scribe)
  • What was used to create the gold color in books? (gold leaf)
  • What was parchment made from? (animal skins)
  • What was used for pens? (goose feathers)
  • What food was used for all of the paints? (egg)
  • What was used to create black ink? (soot)
  • What was used to create the following colors:
    • Red ? (red roots of madder plant)
    • Green? (parsley)
    • Yellow? (saffron flowers)
    • Bright red? (vermilion)
    • Blue (lapis luzuli: a powdered blue stone)

Questions from internet site:

  • What 3 people were involved in the creation of illuminations? (the scribe, the parchmenter, and the illuminator)
  • What was the first culture known to have illuminated manuscripts? (Ancient Egyptians)
  • What does “illumination” mean? (to fill with light)
  • Did common people own illuminated manuscripts? (no, only the very wealthy)

Activities: K – 2: Illuminate a letter of the alphabet according to the instructions provided on the site listed above.
3 – 5:  Have students write out the “Our Father” from Matthew 6: 9 – 13 (See Below) Then have students illuminate their writing using designs, pictures, and gold glitter. Remember, the first letter in a paragraph or on a page was often much larger than all the other letters and usually contained a picture inside it. Therefore the “O” in the “Our Father” should be huge and contain a picture.

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.”

6 – 8:  Complete the worksheets on pages 3 – 8 of this pdf file from Middle Tennessee State University:–Illuminated_Manuscripts.pdf

Copyright September 20th, 2015 by Gwen Fredette





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Filed under Charlotte Mason, Exploration, Reformation, Renaissance

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