Painted Pages: Illuminated Manuscripts explores the golden age of handmade books, some of which employed elaborate gold leaf decoration and intricate ornament. The show includes examples from medieval European Bibles, prayer books, psalters, books of hours, choir books, missals, breviaries, and lectionaries. Examples of the materials—gold leaf, parchment, vellum, and minerals which were ground into pigments—used by artists to create these extraordinary pages are also featured in the exhibit.
Most of the works date from the thirteenth through the eighteenth centuries and are ink on parchment (prepared animal skin). French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Flemish, English, Armenian, and German examples will be included in addition to non-Western pages, including seventeenth- and eighteenth-century leaves from the Shahnameh (the Persian illustrated Book of Kings), as well as examples of Hebrew texts.
Nearly all of the manuscript pages entered the collection of the Reading Public Museum through Otto Ege, a well-known bookseller and manuscript specialist, who was born in Reading in 1888. He was a longtime resident of Cleveland, where he served as professor of art history and dean of the Cleveland Institute of Art.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website