– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

Austin 2

Copy of DSCN9350

One of the things Micah showed us was this enormous C15 Italian liturgical manuscript, which still has a pretty early binding if not the original – parchment spine covering (maybe a reback?) over blind tooled leather, lots of huge heavy metal furniture, evidence of former fastenings, and most interesting to me, pieces of the cover missing at a strategic place to show the board structure….


… not a single solid piece of oak at all, but a frame filled with and/or supported by slats in a vertical (head-tail) direction. And nailed together, or maybe those nails are later repairs? Or is the slatted component an addition to the head edge of an otherwise solid board? Determining those things would have taken quite a lot more looking at – always more questions.


I wish these photos were not so blurry, but you get the idea.

And because the end leaves/ pastedowns are absent, we could also see the MASSIVE supports on the inside of the front board – six, double, alum tawed. You can see the scale of the text block from the first folio here – this was a choirbook on a grand scale!

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