Illuminated Letter R

letter-r-1There might have been only one illuminated letter R contained in the 16th Century manuscript that a generous university photographed and scanned for us, but I think it’s a real beauty.

The letter R was drawn in white and shades of grey. Blue and white vines that almost look decorated with striped beads end in blue, red and white flowers. There are also a number of green vines that have red, white and blue flowers. The background looks to be a solid beige color without speckles or gilding.

Every time I look at these illuminated letters it just seems incredible that the book and pages they came from has survived all of these years. The printing press had been invented and was being used throughout Europe when this manuscript was created. However, based  upon smudges, guidelines that can sometimes be seen and other little clues; it is clear this was a totally handmade piece.

I left this illuminated letter R pretty much as I found it. I figure that way you can decide if you want to totally square off the black frame, even out the background or fix any other little boo-boos. Depending upon how you plan to use it, you may need it squared off of you can use the parts of the letter R that extend beyond the frame and help make this piece so lovely.

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.