Table of Contents
Main Sections
I. Function of Books
II. Book Production
III. Book Structure
IV. Typology of Books
V. Book Illumination
I. 1. Art Patronage 
Function of Medieval Manuscripts Credits
Art patronage is an active collaboration between the artist and the patron leading to completion of a work of art. In the Middle Ages it was of essential importance for the artistic creation; both sides provided contributions to the realisation of the project without which no medieval work of art could have been made. We can see the phenomenon of patronage of book production in the Middle Ages from two angles: the collective ownership of books intended for the common use by a religious community and the individual patronage of a religious person or layman, the phenomenon that gradually took over during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The books ordered for individual use mirror a variety of personal interests. They were collected for the purpose of self-educationand study, satisfying one's eagerness for information. A phenomenon of ardent bibliophile interest also occurs relatively frequently during the Middle Ages. Finally, a specific kind of a book intended for private devotion and contemplation of an individual was favoured in the Late Middle Ages.

In the Early Middle Ages, the majority of books produced served as the liturgical books and were used by priests and monks in churches and monasteries. These books - especially Bibles -were seen as the property of the titular saint of the church or monastery in order to assure their attachment to a particular community and symbolise its continuation. Very often we find the representation of the titular saint depicted on the dedication page or book opening, sometimes together with a symbolic representation of the community. This very attitude expresses itself also in the occasional inclusion of transcriptions of important documents related to the legal status and privileges of the community or even of its historical accounts. The proximity of these documents to the sacred text obviously should supply them with larger credibility and authenticity.

The major need for new books appeared when a new monastery was founded and had to be furnished with all the necessary liturgical equipment. As a common practice, the abbot or the monks came from an already established monastic community,which then provided the most urgent books for the new community; other necessary books were been copied as soon as possible. We are shown by the example of the first abbot of the French monastery of St. Evroult, who himself copied a number of books and led a scriptorium there, what kind of books were needed in the newly founded monastery. Among those the abbot copied was an Antiphonary, a Gradual and a Collectar. Other books were copied by his companions, as were the exerpts from the Old Testament and its commentaries, Heptateuch and a Missal.

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As early as the twelfth century, some books were produced for individuals rather than institutions, and by that we are notified about the existence of a reading public in this time, whose orders are likely to be responsible for the considerable increase in the manuscript production in terms of quantity. The gradual penetration of books into the secular world resulted in the flourishing of lay ateliers manned by professional scribes, which were competing with the monastic scriptoria. This is also the time, when the first accounts of bibliophile interests among secular and religious personalities occur, as in the case of John of Salisbury or Hugh of Puiset, who both bequeathed several dozens of their books to their cathedral libraries. From the same period we have some notion of professionals, travelling to remote places, as did the anonymous master, who worked for the Abbey of St. Albans in England and later in France, probably even in Paris. Such artisans were hired to supplement the monastic production of books or sometimes replace it totally. This phenomenon ofthe shift of craft towards more specialised activity is still very much veiled in the history of book production.

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If we look closely at the patrons of manuscript production after these changes took place, we find several major patterns of exercising lay patronage. First, an individual or a couple orders a book to be written or donates the sum necessary for its completion, as we are informed in many cases from a dedicatory representation in the frontispiece of a book or from a colophon. Or the costs of a manuscriptcan be shared among a larger group of laymen and co-ordinated by an administrator, usually a priest, who collects the provided funds and deals with the hired labour. The transactions recorded for the manufacturing of the Certosa di Calci Bible list a surprising number of more than sixty individual contributors together with the sums they offered.

If a book might be procured through commission, it could also be purchased outright, presumably ready-made. Several books of Austrian convents were likely acquired this way, often with financial help from outside of the monastic realm. The prices of books varied; however, books were considered luxurious goods and therefore very expensive. This is confirmed also by the fact, that books are often to be found among objects listed in war booties. We can therefore assume that book collecting in the Middle Ages was a highly demanding activity financially.
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