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manuscript cutting

  • Object:

    Manuscript cutting

  • Place of origin:


  • Date:

    ca. 1410 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Water-based pigments and gold leaf on parchment.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case I, shelf 77

This cut-out decorated initial 'D' (an initial composed of non-figural, non-zoomorphic decorative features) likely came from a larger liturgical manuscript that may have been made in France in ca. 1410. It is decorated with pastel pigments and burnished gold leaf (gold paint that has been polished to shine).

Physical description

Cut-out decorated initial 'D' likely came from a larger liturgical manuscript used during the celebration of the Christian Mass. Possibly made in France in the early fifteenth century. Double-sided (now pasted onto card). Colour pigments and burnished gold leaf.

Recto: one pink decorated initial with geometric decoration and burnished gold leaf.

Verso: Now pasted onto card.

Place of Origin



ca. 1410 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Water-based pigments and gold leaf on parchment.


Height: 25 mm whole cutting, Width: 25 mm whole cutting

Object history note

This cut-out decorated initial 'D' likely came from a larger litugical manuscript used during the Christian Mass. It may have been made in France during the first two decades of the fifteenth century, ca. 1410.

The small size of the initial suggests that it probably came from a book that was intended to be used and read by one person and close up.

Recto: pink initial 'D' with white decoration on either side of the initial. Inside of the closed counter (fully enclosed interior space of an alphabetic letter) shows blue geometric shapes against a background of burnished gold leaf. The enitre initial is set against a background of burnished gold leaf.

Verso: Cutting is now pasted onto card thus rendering the reverse side inaccessible.

Text: Due to the close cropping of the initial no visible text remains. Due to the lack of iconography (the subject of an image) and the lack of text, it is impossible to identify which liturgical text or feast this initial originally correpsonded.

Historical context note

Data taken from notes compiled by Rowan Watson. The full text of the entry is as follows:

'1509 (MS 813)
Cut-out decorated initial D (pink letter-shape, foliate design of blue stems with flowers on gold ground)

France. 14th century
25 x 25 mm.
Pub: 1908 cat. 74'

Descriptive line

Cut-out decorated initial 'D' in pink, blue and burnished gold with interlacing stems and flowers. France, ca. 1410. A duplicate number MS.813 was assigned to this object in error and was subsequently cancelled.


Parchment; Pigments; Gold leaf




Religion; Christianity; Manuscripts; Manuscript cutting; Medieval and renaissance


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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