31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

Medieval Pattern Books – Day Twenty-One of Medieval Manuscripts

Medieval Scribal Pattern Book, a model book for scribes by Gregorius Bock, ca. 1510-1517. Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University (MS 439, f.37v-38). Photo from beinecke.library.yale.edu.

I found a medieval pattern book while browsing the inventory of Les Enluminures, an international art gallery specializing in medieval manuscripts and related works of art. I loved learning that such things exist, so I set out to find more of them. The one shown above is owned by the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University and was made in Germany in the 1510s by Gregorius Bock. It includes a sampling of styles for scripts and initials for use by scribes creating manuscripts. According to the Beinecke’s database entry, the styles shown include two different kinds of gothic, round humanistic, Batarde, Greek, and Hebrew, and the manuscript would have been used to train scribes (Beinecke).Unfortunately, the Beinecke only has one photograph of the manuscript online. The photo below is of the pattern book fragment on Les Enluminures’s website. It is from northern Italy and dates circa 1400.

LEAF FROM A PATTERN BOOK, Northern Italy, c. 1400. Photo from Les Enluminures.

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