Being a bibliography in progress of scribal exemplar resources.

These are somewhat idiosyncratic, and range from individual manuscript pages to books with many manuscripts and exhibition catalogs. Russia is first since it has my very favorite styles.

Russia and other Slavonic

“BibliOdyssey.” : Cyrillic Manuscripts. Web. 27 Aug. 2016. <http://bibliodyssey.blogspot.com/2009/05/cyrillic-manuscripts.html?m=1&gt;

A selection of manuscripts in Cyrillic housed in the National Library of Serbia.

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. Web. 14 Dec. 2017.


Slavonic digitized manuscripts in the Vatican Library.


The library of the Trinity Sergius Monastery. Many many digitized manuscripts.

“History of Russian Literature.” History of Russian Literature. Web. 18 Aug. 2016.<http://www.rusliterature.org/the-tale-of-the-indian-empire/#.V7VweeNHbYV&gt;

Assorted folios from various manuscripts.

“Le Lectionnaire (Évangile D’Orcha).” Bibliothèque Numérique Mondiale. Bibliothèque Nationale V.I. Vernadsky D’Ukraine, 01 Jan. 1970. Web.


The 13th c Orsha Lectionary. Many initials, the whole manuscript is viewable and downloadable.

“MANUSCRIPT. YURIEV GOSPEL.” MANUSCRIPT. YURIEV GOSPEL. Web. 06 Sept. 2016.<http://www.svyatayarus.ru/data/manuscripts/30_yurievskoe/index.php?lang=en&gt;

State Russian Museum’s website from a exhibition the Yuriev gospels were in. Other manuscripts as well.

Spencer Collection, The New York Public Library. “Opening leaf of Church Slavonic Gospels” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1401 – 1500. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47de-1a76-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Opening leaf of a 15th-16th muscovite Four Gospels.

“Tetraevangelion. Before 1542.” Ostromir Gospel and the Manuscript Tradition of the New Testament Texts: Tetraevangelion. Web. 13 Oct. 2016. <http://www.nlr.ru/eng/exib/Gospel/drus/41.html&gt;

Lovely polychrome 16th c manuscript. Image quality is not ideal, only one page online.

The Russian Ornament Sourcebook: 10th-16th Centuries. London: Vivays Pub., 2011. Print. 

Reissue of a book of 19th c redrawings. I have found that the redrawings are reliable, if a touch more refined than some originals. Not all of the manuscripts included are still extant. The ornamental elements are presented without their context in the the manuscript.

“The Manuscripts Literature Collection.” / «Velikiy Novgorod». Web. 31 July 2016. <http://www.novgorod.ru/english/read/information/manuscripts&gt;

This website links to representative pages from several manuscripts local to Novgorod.

“The Tetraevangelion of Hieromonk Spiridon.” Capodopere 2019. Web. 11 Dec. 2017.


Selected pages from a Romanian manuscript finished in 1502.

“Walters Ms. W.535, Gospel Lectionary.” Walters Ms. W.535, Gospel Lectionary. Web. 22 Aug. 2016.


A late 16th c manuscript written by Lukas the Cypriot in Romania, with miniatures added in Moscow.

“Yuriev Gospel”. Booksite. Web. 06 Sept. 2016. <http://www.booksite.ru/enciklopedia/book/57.jpg&gt;

A detailed zoomable shot of a page from the Yuriev gospels.

Коллекция рукописных и старопечатных книг.” Коллекция рукописных и старопечатных книг – Официальный сайт Новгородского музея-заповедника. Web. 11 Dec. 2017.<http://novgorodmuseum.ru/kollektsii/fond-rukopisnykh-i-staropechatnykh-kni

Several manuscripts, including a lovely Gospel with braid style ornament.

Bowater, Marina, and V. V. Stasov. The Decorative Art of Russia. New York: Portland House, 1990. Print. 

This book includes manuscript ornamentation from a variety of eras, not just medieval, as well as metalwork and paintings. The manuscript pieces come from a different 19th c book of redrawings, and are accurate except for very washed out colors in some pages. Information about specific details can be vague, and are shown without the page in context. Overall very useful for its variety.

Gormin, V. V., Liudmila Yarosh, and V. E. Barnev.  Novgorod: Art Treasures and Architectural Monuments, 11th-18th Centuries: Architecture, Frescoes, Archaeological Artefacts, Minor Arts, Icons, Illuminated Mss.Leningrad: Aurora Art, 1984. Print.

A survey of art in Novgorod, very good for architecture, has a selection of manuscript folios.

Koscova, Aleksandra Semenovna. Drevnerusskaja živopis’ v Sobranii Érmitaža: Ikonopis’, Knižnaja Miniatjura…XIII-nač. XVII Veka = Early Russian Painting in the Hermitage Collection: Icons, Book-miniatures.. Sankt-Peterburg: Iskusstvo, 1992. Print. 

Mostly icons, with some 16th c manuscripts, which are worth it on their own. Large format, good reproductions, English summary.

Petrova, E. N., C. Griffith Mann, Peter Bray, and Kenneth MacInnes. Sacred Arts and City Life: The Glory of Medieval Novgorod. Baltimore: Palace Editions, 2005. Print.

Fabulous for Novgorod material culture, includes at least one manuscript.

Popova, Olga. Russian Illuminated Manuscripts. London: Thames and Hudson, 1984. Print.

This is a good survey in English. Full page illustrations, mostly in color, mostly of miniatures. Very easy to find.

Popova, Ol’ga S. Les Miniatures Russes Du XIe Au XVe Siècle = Russian Miniatures of the 11th to the 15th Centuries. 1975. Print. 

This is the original French edition, which contains half again more manuscripts, in full color full page photos.  Harder to find than the English edition, and slightly poorer photo quality, but if French is not a obstacle, worth looking for.

Smirnova, Ė S. Lit︠s︡evye Velikogo Novgoroda, XV Vek. Moskva: “Nauka”, 1994. Print.  Many detailed photos, mostly black and white, regarding 15thc and some 14thc manuscripts from Novgorod. The best one book I’ve found on the Novgorod tetralogical style.

Smirnova, Ė S. Iskusstvo knigi v srednevekovoi Rush : Lit︠s︡evye Velikogo Novgoroda, XV Vek. Moskva: “Severnii Galomnik”, 2011. Print. This the newer and much improved edition. Almost all figures are now in color, and additional manuscripts have been added.

Vzdornov, G. I. Iskusstvo Knigi v Drevneĭ Rusi : Rukopisnai︠a︡ Kniga Severo-Vostochnoĭ Rusi XII – Nachala XV Vekov. Moskva: Iskusstvo, 1980. Print.

Moscow and Rostov focused. Full of amazing color photos at actual size. Recommended highly.


Momoyama, Japanese Art in the Age of Grandeur: An Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Organized in Collaboration with the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Japanese Government. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975. Print.

Several examples of both ink drawing, painting and calligraphy. Also good for momoyama materiel culture, most illustrations in black and white. Good contextual discussion.

Hickman, Money L. Japan’s Golden Age: Momoyama. New Haven: Yale UP in Association with Sun & Star 1996 and Dallas Museum of Art, 1996. Print.

Some good examples of calligraphy. Thorough coverage of material culture.

Western Europe

“Add MS 18852.” Digitised Manuscripts. Web. 23 Feb. 2018. http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Add_MS_18852

The very tiny late 15th /early 16th c hours of Juana of Castile. Many wee marginal creatures, some lovely trompe l’oeil borders.

Add MS 36929.” The British Library. The British Library. Web. 21 Aug. 2018.


The Cormac Psalter. 13th c Irish, with several loosely planned, sprawling initial pages, and many pages of text with smaller illuminated initials.

“AddMS 39249.” British Library Online. Web. <http://imagesonline.bl.uk/index.php?service=search&action=do_quick_search&language=en&q=%234622&gt;

A 1569 English Grant of Arms.

“BOOKTRYST.” : Italian Big Cheeses At Home In L.A. Web. Jun 15, 2015. <http://www.booktryst.com/2011/02/italian-big-cheeses-at-home-in-la.html?m=1&gt;

Scroll down for a late 16th c papal indulgence.

Centuriespast. “Centuriespast.” Web. 27 Aug. 2016. <http://centuriespast.tumblr.com/post/68910196002/matteo-di-ser-cambio-statute-and-register-of-the&gt;

A lovely guild register from 1377 Perguia.

“Chants Royaux Sur La Conception, Couronnés Au Puy De Rouen De 1519 à 1528.” Chants Royaux Sur La Conception, Couronnés Au… Web. 02 Sept. 2016. <http://gallica.bnf.fr/m/ark:/12148/btv1b8539706t/f197.item&gt;

16thc France. Many detailed miniatures, often framed thru decorative pillars.

“Color Plates of The Bury Bible.” Color Plates of The Bury Bible. Web. 05 Aug. 2016. <http://www.stedmundsburychronicle.co.uk/BBopt/page_01.htm&gt;

Bury Bible. 12th c. Tons of Romanesque initials, full page photos so also a good resource for layout and calligraphy.

Digitale Bibliothek – Münchener Digitalisierungszentrum. Web. 09 May 2017. <http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/~db/0001/bsb00019746/images/&gt;

Illuminated Sketchbook of Stephan Schreiber. Mid 15th c German pattern and sketch book with alphabets and full page manuscript layouts.

“Du PEP’S à L’ULg : 49 Manuscrits Médiévaux Et Renaissants Numérisés.” Du PEP’S à L’ULg : 49 Manuscrits Médiévaux Et Renaissants Numérisés | Bibliothèques ULg. Web. <http://libnet.ulg.ac.be/fr/content/du-pep-s-l-ulg-49-manuscrits-medievaux-et-renaissants-numerises&gt;

Visual directory of manuscripts recently digitized by a Belgian university.  Many lovely options

Harley MS 1498, 1st quarter 16th c, The British Library, London. Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts, <http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/record.asp?MSID=7602&CollID=8&NStart=1498&gt;. Accessed 13 Sept, 2016. 

An indenture of Henry VII with heraldic badges as the decorative content.

“Harley MS 2798.” Digitised Manuscripts. Web. 05 Aug. 2016. <http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Harley_MS_2798&gt;

Arnstein Bible Volume 1. Romanesque, Full page images, the entire manuscript has been digitized, good for both illumination and calligraphy .

Fantoni, Anna Rita., and Lorenzo Crinelli. Treasures from the Italian Libraries. Thames & Hudson, 1997. Print.

Highlights of mostly Italian manuscripts, well reproduced, with good background information. Many less well known manuscripts, in a variety of styles.

“Illuminated Psalter | Byzantine | The Met.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I.e. The Met Museum. Web. 05 Aug. 2016 <http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/474236?enlarge=true&gt;

12th c Byzantine manuscript, multiple pages online.

“Koninklijke Bibliotheek.” Haarlem. Web. 28 Aug. 2016. <https://www.kb.nl/themas/middeleeuwen/bout-psalter-getijdenboek/haarlem&gt;

15th c Psalter, with several intials with enthusiastic pen frills.

“Manuscript Index.” The Aberdeen Bestiary. Web. 02 Feb. 2017.<http://www.abdn.ac.uk/bestiary/ms24&gt;

The Aberdeen bestiary, a 12th century English bestiary with a large scope.

Mira calligraphiae monumenta: A Sixteenth-Century Calligraphic Manuscript Inscribed by Georg Bocksay and Illuminated by Joris Hoefnagel. <http://www.getty.edu/publications/virtuallibrary/089236212X.html&gt;

Virtuoso feats of 16th calligraphy and illumination. Available as a PDF

Ms. W. 16. Université de Lèige. Web. <http://donum.ulg.ac.be/peps/MsW016/files/mobile/mobile.html#214&gt;

This distinctive late 15th c French Book of Hours manuscript has the conceit of trompe l’oeil scrolls resting on backgrounds ranging from faux marble, to woven patterns, skulls, or plain parchment.  Downloadable.

Museum, The Morgan Library &. “Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts.” Breviary, MS G.7 Fol. 173v. Web. 22 Oct. 2016. <http://ica.themorgan.org/manuscript/page/24/77058&gt;

Hungarian Breviary dated to 1481. A variety of enthusiastic styles.

Spencer Collection, The New York Public Library. “Shâhnâmah = The Book of Kings.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. <http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/5e66b3e9-2062-d471-e040-e00a180654d7&gt;

A lovely Persian Shanamah from 1616. The whole manuscript is available.

“Stowe Charters 617” The British Libary Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts. Web. Aug. 28 2016. <http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=5481&gt;

English Charters.

“The Digital Walters.” Artwork of the Day RSS. Web. 22 Aug. 2016 <http://www.thedigitalwalters.org/01_ACCESS_WALTERS_MANUSCRIPTS.html&gt;

Links to many many digitized manuscripts, from a wide range of cultures and timeframes.

The Goettingen Model Book 1/2. Web. 09 May 2017. <http://www.gutenbergdigital.de/gudi/eframes/texte/framere/mubu_1.htm&gt;

Gottingen modelbook, 1450s Germany. Formerly used in a monastery, this guide covers color choice, highlighting, and backgrounds, all with step by step illustrations. The Gutenberg link has translations available as well.

“View Parker Library on the Web Manuscript Pages.” View Parker Library on the Web Manuscript Pages. Web. 09 Aug. 2016. <https://parker.stanford.edu/parker/actions/page_turner.do?ms_no=2I&gt;.

The entire manuscript of the Bury Bible, digitized. 12thc, Romanesque. Tons of initials, full page photos so also a good resource for layout and calligraphy.

Vat.gr.1613.” DigiVatLib. Web. 11 July 2017. <http://digi.vatlib.it/view/MSS_Vat.gr.1613/&gt;

The Menalogion of Basil II is a lavishly illuminated Byzantine liturgical manuscript dating to ca 1000. It is currently in the Vatican Library.


CARTA EXECUTORIA of Pedro De Balbuena, Issued by Philip II of Spain, in Spanish, Illuminated Manuscript on Vellum, Valladolid, 7 January 1576.” Christie’s Auctions & Private Sales. Web. 24 Aug. 2016.<http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/books-manuscripts/carta-executoria-of-pedro-de-balbuena-issued-5994396-details.aspx?from=salesummary&intObjectID=5994396&sid=64a501e0-c74b-44ee-9d05-c8109e2868eb>&nbsp;

Valladollid Carta Ejecutoria, 1576.

Deyeson ,Eleanor.”What Is a Carta Ejecutoria De Hidalguia, and How Would That Work in the SCA?” Eleanor Deyesons Inquiries. 09 Apr. 2014. Web. 24 Aug.<http://eleanordeyeson.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/what-is-a-carta-ejecutoria-de-hidalguia-and-how-would-that-work-in-the-sca/&gt;

Blog post considering how to adapt the Carta Ejecutoria format to an SCA scroll.

Ruiz Garcia, Elisa. “La Carta Ejecutoria De Hidalguía: Un Espacio Gráfico …” Web. 25 Aug. 2015.<https://revistas.ucm.es/index.php/dla.library.upenn.edu/dla/medren/detail.html

Article clarifying the parts and function of a Carta Ejecutoria de Hidalguía.

Ottoman Empire 

Letters in Gold: Ottoman Calligraphy from the Sakip Sabanci Collection, Istanbul. Los Angeles, CA: Education Dept., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1999. Print. 

A good summary of Ottoman calligraphy, many pre 1600 examples.

Mandel, Gabriele, and Giammanco Frongia Rosanna M. Arabic Script: Styles, Variants, and Calligraphic Adaptations. New York: Abbeville. 2006. Print. 

A compendium of Arabic scripts, with some historic examples.

Sarınay, Yusuf, Necati Aktaş, and Mustafa Kaplan. Osmanlı Fermanları = Ottoman Fermans. Ankara: T.C. Başbakanlık, Devlet Arşivleri Genel Müdürlüğü, Osmanlı Arşivi Daire Başkanlığı, 2003. Print. 

A lovely, large format volume focusing on Ottoman documents. Most are 17th c  and later, but some 16th c examples, and a very useful discussion of styles and timeframes in the introduction.


“An Tir College of Scribes: Order of the Pelican.” An Tir College of Scribes: Order of the Pelican. Web. 17 Aug. 2016. <http://scribes.antir.sca.org/Scribes/Kingdomtexts/Pelican.php&gt;

Standard SCA based text for An Tir.

“St Edmundsbury Local History – Writs and Charters Home Page.” St Edmundsbury Local History – Writs and Charters Home Page. Web. 17 Aug. 2016. <http://www.stedmundsburychronicle.co.uk/chartershome.htm&gt;

Several charters and other documents ranging in date from 945 to 1614.


My Pinterest board of medieval documents: https://pin.it/7fennspuc2aqfd