Illuminated Letter Q

This post effectively doubles the number of fancy letter Q images that you will find here on This group of 6 illuminated letter Q images were part of a 16th Century French manuscript – thankfully, French is a language where words that begin with the letter Q are more frequently found at the beginning of sentences.

I love these old manuscript images, they are so unique. Nothing being created today seems to have the same look and feel. I love that they are not absolutely perfect. Some of them are a little crooked, here and there the artist painted outside of their own lines and here and there the paint may have smeared a letter-Qbit. The bold and vivid colors found in materials from this era are often far more vibrant that what even modern printing can produce. I haven’t edited the images. They are as one generous university photographed and made each of the manuscript pages available online. I simply cropped around the letters and will leave it to you to decide how much editing you want to do to each of these illuminated letter Q paintings.

Large White Illuminated Letter Q Image

The manuscript was composed of larger and smaller letters. Among the letter Qs the artisan included, there was only one of the larger-sized ones. It has a white letter W with gray, blue and maroon accents. A large portion of the letter extends outside of the square frame. (Cutting off that tail and with a bit of editing, you could easily turn this into an illuminated letter O.

This letter is also one of the few in the group that has some orange accents. The vines in this letter image are blue and white. The flowers are orange, red, blue, green and white. The background is not gilded but has a nice beige speckled background.

Small, While Illuminated Letter Q Images

Here are a trio of small, white illuminated letter Q images. All of them have the tail of the Q extending outside of the main design of the drop cap letter. All of them are decorated with a single blue and white flower. And, all of them have some extra reddish decorations on a beige, speckled background.

letter-q-small-5  letter-q-small-4  letter-q-small-2

Small, Blue Illuminated Q Paintings

letter-q-small-1  letter-q-small-3I guess, instead of calling these illuminated Q images, I should really be calling them paintings. After all, each one of them was painted by hand. These last two Q paintings feature a blue and white letter Q. Again, the tails of each letter extends outside of the squared off boundary the artist created. One of the letters has a two stemmed branch ending with a red flower and red berries. It also has green leaves and other brownish-red accents. The second letter has a single red flower and a pair of green leaves.

Both of these letters appear to have given the artist a bit of trouble. You can see a number of smears and the letters were not positioned squarely on the paper, despite the faint guidelines he used for the rest of the lettering that appeared on this line.


This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.