Searching For Illumination Manuscript Humor

While waiting to leave for an appointment the other day I decided to see what funny and weird illuminated manuscript stuff I could find with Google. This is a fun time suck that must be used sparingly or it will make me late to my appointment.

British Library’s Harley 7026  f. 16 

These handmade devotional books often had margins filled with tiny pictures called “marginalia.” While not all were weird many had pictures of bawdy whimsy, fanciful animals, political satire and even sexually explicit jokes. Seen through our modern eyes they appear outlandish because we’re not used to seeing lurid detail displayed in holy books, especially from a distant time we think was conservative and proper.

Immediately I hit paydirt with three posts on io9.Gizmodo a popular weblog. 

Those led me to this Spanish post.

Amazingly I thought some of those too odd to include in an SCA scroll.

While I still had time I returned to my google search and clicked on these.

If you followed me this far, now give the kids their iPads before you look at the first one of these. 

Continuing on my Google list I came to another io9.Gizmodo post by Lauren Davis 

Of course, there’s also the standard Google image search for funny illuminated manuscripts. When I search Google’s images and find some incorrect entries I know they were swept up incidentally. With these, I wonder what Google thought was funny.

So why did I keep with this search besides to kill time? 

These images usually credit the manuscript where the picture was found. Some even detail the date or country. If I like the image I may find the original resource for more inspiration or details. 

I also glean things to explore on the side like the British Library’s manuscript blog. 

It’s backdoor research or upside down thinking, but I was killing time. Not serious about my scouting, just having fun.

British Library’s  Royal 19 B XIII f. 5

Related P
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10 Murphy’s Laws For Scribes
12 Signs You Might Be A Rabid SCA Scribe

Categories: Resources

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