Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Illuminating Characters

These hand-illuminated letters are no wallflowers. They are spirited characters of nobility and deserve to be illuminated once again. Their geometric and botanical designs are not refined, yet quite beautiful none-the-less. They can be found in an early printed Italian book on the history of Rome, titled Scriptores Historiae Augustae, from the Special Collections of the University of Glasgow and published by Philippus de Lavagnia in 1475. The letters are thought to have been added to the text in the 15th or 16th century, though their style appears as if they could have been illustrated just yesterday. Many have exaggerated serifs, some are sans serifs and a few have more literal interpretations such as the "I" above which vaguely resembles a chalice. All of the illuminated letters are on view at the University of Glasgow's flickr set.  


  1. I enjoyed perusing your blog today, especially this post regarding illuminated letter. I am in the process of putting a book cover together and I'm trying to find someplace to buy just the letter "A" for it.

    Might you have any ideas on where to find that?

    1. It really depends upon the style of A you want. You might be better to find one in a Dover publication on typography. They are public domain compilations and often have CDs included. You can often find the Dover books at 2nd-hand bookstores or order them online.
      Good luck!

  2. Like in Schreck-cartoon!


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