Historiated Initial

  • Medieval Era
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

In The Middle Ages, with the development of The Illuminated Manuscript – an associated form of writing style, was known as an Historiated Initial. This was seen as an ''opening'' or inset image, of a particular Romanized Capital Letter. They did not have to ''begin'' a paragraph or even a sentence, but often served as a ''flourish'' or reference point. Historiated Initials seldom appeared at the end of a manuscript.


Beginning in the 8th Century AD, Historiated Initials were used, especially when commissioned by a Wealthy Commission. Often, hard to find and expensive organic pigment compositions were procured and created. Gold and Silver infused paint was also used. Historiated Initials may or may not include painted imagery or figures. These painted ''scenes'' were in relation to the ''story'' or idea being imparted in The Manuscript.


Another common usage for The Historiated Initial was to separate Folio or Chapter Sections. Parchment was expensive and time consuming to make. To maximize the parchment for illumination, often several Chapters were included on a single page. As such to separate such, Historiated Initials could be used.