Glossary of Medieval Art and Architecture

illuminated initial : In manuscript illumination, a highly ornamented letter, usually the first letter of a word.

Click here for pronounciation.

Types of Illuminated Initails
foliate initial:
an illuminated initial filled with
decoration in leaf scroll.
historiated or figured initial:
an illuminated initial containing
a figure, a group of figures, or a narrative scene.
inhabited initial:
an illuminated initial containing animals
or human figures such as naked fighters.
pen flourished initial:
an ornamental initial characterized
by abstract, rhythmic patterns, usually drawn
in red or blue ink. Pen flourished initials were
especially common during the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

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Created by Jane Vadnal 05/97