Medieval Writing
Paleography Exercises
Book of Hours (National Library of Australia, MS 1097/9, f.53r). All images by permission of the National Library of Australia.
This is a text page from a 15th century book of hours, produced in Belgium for the English market. It represents a fine example of the shopwork type of book of hours, not individually commissioned by a rich patron, but produced by commercial booksellers. The section shown here represents the end of the prayers for compline in the Hours of the Virgin. There is one illuminated gold initial which represents the beginning of the final prayer, and a section of rubric urging the reader to venerate the image of the Virgin in the following miniature. The script is a Gothic textura of formal, but not the most formal, grade.
If the photographs of this particular manuscript look slightly less professional than some, it is because they were taken by me many years ago for the benefit of a research student, Judith Pearce, whose honours thesis Painting, Prayer and Provenance (Australian National University, 1982) has been shamelessly pillaged by me in return, for transcripts and notes on the manuscript. The photographs had to be taken without brutally flattening the manuscript or blasting it with light, so what they may lack in clarity they gain in a sense of giving the appearance of a real book. Many thanks to the National Library of Australia for allowing us to make the photographic record in the first place, and for permitting the digitisation of the images for use in this project so many years later.

| overview | text | alphabet | abbreviations | exercises | transcript | translation |

Click on each of the above to walk your way through a segment of text. The transcript will appear in a separate window so that you can use it for reference at any time. These exercises are designed to guide you through the text, not test you, so you can cheat as much as you like.
Script sample for this example
Index of Exercises
Index of Scripts

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This site is created and maintained by Dr Dianne Tillotson, freelance researcher and compulsive multimedia and web author. Comments are welcome. Material on this web site is copyright, but some parts more so than others. Please check here for copyright status and usage before you start making free with it. This page last modified 7/5/2005.