Oct 24, 2016

Hierarchy of Decoration

London, British Library MS Royal 18 D II, fol. 6r, top margin

A post from Medieval Codes researcher Hailey Mullock.
Many medieval manuscripts contain elements of decoration, from single-coloured capital letters to fully illuminated pages with illustrations and elaborate borders. The decoration was not only for visual appeal but also worked to organize the text and convey information. Medieval manuscripts were often written in black with few page breaks or divisions, and decoration helped to divide and highlight aspects of a text. In order for the decorations to convey information to the reader, each manuscript, and sometimes text, has its own hierarchy of decoration. The decorative elements often change in size and colour depending on their position and function.