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Scientific research and manuscript dating

The Museum Plantin-Moretus collaborates with the University of Leuven in scientific research into its rich collection of medieval manuscripts. Thanks to the work of Lieve Watteeuw and Catherine Reynolds of the research centre Illuminare, we now know with greater certainty when the manuscripts were produced, and by whom.

Rich collection of manuscripts

In the 16th century, Christophe Plantin collected ‘early’ manuscripts of Biblical and classical texts. With their colourful initials and subtle marginal decoration, they are an absolute feast for the eyes. In the mid-17th century, the collection was expanded with some beautifully illuminated Parisian Bibles, missals and breviaries. The manuscripts with miniatures came from all over Europe.

The collection of Balthasar II Moretus became a treasure house of books. The last generation of the Moretus family further enriched the collection. From the late 18th century, illuminated manuscripts began to be seen as exquisite works of art from an exotic medieval past.

Collection of masterpieces

The stunning two-volume Bohemian Wenceslas Bible, Froissart’s Chronicles and some beautiful books of hours from the Northern and Southern Netherlands are the crown jewels of the collection.

Richly illustrated catalogue

Lieve Watteeuw and Catherine Reynolds have conducted research into the illuminated medieval manuscripts from the 9th to 15th centuries for Illuminare (the Centre for the Study of Medieval Art at KU Leuven) and the Museum Plantin-Moretus. They have dated the works more accurately and attributed them to specific studios or artists.

The results of their research are collected in a richly illustrated catalogue: Lieve Watteeuw & Catherine Reynolds, Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts. Museum Plantin Moretus, Corpus of Illuminated Manuscripts 19, Illuminare, Research Centre for Medieval Art (KU Leuven), ed. by Jan Van der Stock, Peeters Publishers, London-Leuven-Walpole, 2012.

Museum Plantin-Moretus

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