The Manuscript Average, Part 2

By Jesse Hurlbut

Last updated, December 15, 2013

In order to further the possibilities of arriving at an automated generalization or "average" perception of an entire manuscript, we might take another approach (See my initial approaches in The Manuscript Average, Part 1). Instead of superposing all the pages together to formulate an average or to find the darkest pixels in the stack, let us consider the spectrum of colors available on each page.

For example, if we digitally extract the number of colors from individual pages of manuscript Fr. 5617 from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and reduce them to a range of 256 colors and arrange those colors on a spectrum, we can easily discern differences between pages with varying visual content.


fol. 14v
This spectrum represents the presence of reds, golds, greens and blues on this page. The original full-size image actually contains 185,942 unique colors. Most of these colors provide seamless gradient transitions across smooth surfaces. A reduction algorithm generates an average of all these gradients: a spectrum of 256 colors that correspond most closely to the full color set. Such a significant reduction has surprisingly small effect on the overall spectrum of the image and the 256 colors constitute a faithful representation of the original color contents.


fol. 37v - Arranged by hue

fol. 37v - Ordered from darkest to lightest

fol. 37v - Ordered from least saturated to most saturated
The 256 colors of folio 37v are organized in the top spectrum by color with the purest red on the far left, followed by oranges, yellows, greens, blues and purples, in that order, if present. Alternatively, the same colors can be arranged from darkest to lightest colors or from least to most saturated (from gray to "colorful"). For the purposes of this project, the relationship of hues provides a more useful visualization. Throughout this essay, the top spectrum (arrangement by color) will be used exclusively. For example, on this folio, the importance of the various shades of red are especially evident in relation to the overall range of colors.


fol. 56v
Our eye detects and the spectrum confirms that blue and gold dominate this page.


fol. 71r
Even a small patch of blue around a block capital can leave a significant imprint.


fol. 80r
The ink from a text-filled page registers as dark bands in the left third of the spectrum. Gray can appear as low-saturated colors in any area of the spectrum, but medieval ink is usually more brown. Varieties of brown appear as dark shades throughout the orange and yellow parts of the spectrum.


fol. 5r
A page with no text offers a baseline for comparison.


fol. 5v
Here is another page with no text. We would expect this spectrum to be be nearly identical to the preceding example, but the spectrum is based on the entire digital image, not just the folio represented in it. In this case the crop allows two dark patches of the binding in the right-hand corners to influence the spectrum results. Notice that in all these examples, the plain white border around the manuscript also figures in the results.

The Spectrum Array

If we now take a spectrum from each page of the entire manuscript and stack them all one below another, we arrive at a visual array of data that provides another kind of summary of the entire volume. In order to reduce the space required for this visualization, each spectrum is condensed to a height of one pixel. For closer examination, each row can be expanded by dragging the cursor over the array.

As we can clearly surmise, manuscript Fr. 5617 has numerous colorful illustrations in the first portion of the manuscript, but the remainder of the pages are filled with text and a fairly regular appearance of block capitals.

BNF FR 5617

Notes généalogiques sur la maison d'Autriche et journal des voyages de Charles-Quint, fait par Jean de Vandenesse
(Drag cursor over the array to enlarge a single spectrum.)
File# 13
File# 14
File# 15
File# 16
File# 17
File# 18
File# 19
File# 20
File# 21
File# 22
File# 23
File# 24
File# 25
File# 26
File# 27
File# 28
File# 29
File# 30
File# 31
File# 32
File# 33
File# 34
File# 35
File# 36
File# 37
File# 38
File# 39
File# 40
File# 41
File# 42
File# 43
File# 44
File# 45
File# 46
File# 47
File# 48
File# 49
File# 50
File# 51
File# 52
File# 53
File# 54
File# 55
File# 56
File# 57
File# 58
File# 59
File# 60
File# 61
File# 62
File# 63
File# 64
File# 65
File# 66
File# 67
File# 68
File# 69
File# 70
File# 71
File# 72
File# 73
File# 74
File# 75
File# 76
File# 77
File# 78
File# 79
File# 80
File# 81
File# 82
File# 83
File# 84
File# 85
File# 86
File# 87
File# 88
File# 89
File# 90
File# 91
File# 92
File# 93
File# 94
File# 95
File# 96
File# 97
File# 98
File# 99
File# 100
File# 101
File# 102
File# 103
File# 104
File# 105
File# 106
File# 107
File# 108
File# 109
File# 110
File# 111
File# 112
File# 113
File# 114
File# 115
File# 116
File# 117
File# 118
File# 119
File# 120
File# 121
File# 122
File# 123
File# 124
File# 125
File# 126
File# 127
File# 128
File# 129
File# 130
File# 131
File# 132
File# 133
File# 134
File# 135
File# 136
File# 137
File# 138
File# 139
File# 140
File# 141
File# 142
File# 143
File# 144
File# 145
File# 146
File# 147
File# 148
File# 149
File# 150
File# 151
File# 152
File# 153
File# 154
File# 155
File# 156
File# 157
File# 158
File# 159
File# 160
File# 161
File# 162
File# 163
File# 164
File# 165
File# 166
File# 167
File# 168
File# 169
File# 170
File# 171
File# 172
File# 173
File# 174
File# 175
File# 176
File# 177
File# 178
File# 179
File# 180
File# 181
File# 182
File# 183
File# 184
File# 185
File# 186
File# 187
File# 188
File# 189
File# 190
File# 191
File# 192
File# 193
File# 194
File# 195
File# 196
File# 197
File# 198
File# 199
File# 200
File# 201
File# 202
File# 203
File# 204
File# 205
File# 206
File# 207
File# 208
File# 209
File# 210
File# 211
File# 212
File# 213
File# 214
File# 215
File# 216
File# 217
File# 218
File# 219
File# 220
File# 221
File# 222
File# 223
File# 224
File# 225
File# 226
File# 227
File# 228
File# 229
File# 230
File# 231
File# 232
File# 233
File# 234
File# 235
File# 236
File# 237
File# 238
File# 239
File# 240
File# 241
File# 242
File# 243
File# 244
File# 245
File# 246
File# 247
File# 248
File# 249
File# 250
File# 251
File# 252
File# 253
File# 254
File# 255
File# 256
File# 257
File# 258
File# 259
File# 260
File# 261
File# 262
File# 263
File# 264
File# 265
File# 266
File# 267
File# 268
File# 269
File# 270
File# 271
File# 272
File# 273
File# 274
File# 275
File# 276
File# 277
File# 278
File# 279
File# 280
File# 281
File# 282
File# 283
File# 284
File# 285
File# 286
File# 287
File# 288
File# 289
File# 290
File# 291
File# 292
File# 293
File# 294
File# 295
File# 296
File# 297
File# 298
File# 299
File# 300
File# 301
File# 302
File# 303
File# 304
File# 305
File# 306
File# 307
File# 308
File# 309
File# 310
File# 311
File# 312
File# 313
File# 314
File# 315
File# 316
File# 317
File# 318
File# 319
File# 320
File# 321
File# 322
File# 323
File# 324
File# 325
File# 326
File# 327
File# 328
File# 329
File# 330
File# 331
File# 332
File# 333
File# 334
File# 335
File# 336
File# 337
File# 338
File# 339
File# 340
File# 341
File# 342
File# 343
File# 344
File# 345
File# 346
File# 347
File# 348
File# 349
File# 350
File# 351
File# 352
File# 353
File# 354
File# 355
File# 356
File# 357
File# 358
File# 359
File# 360
File# 361
File# 362
File# 363
File# 364
File# 365
File# 366
File# 367
File# 368
File# 369
File# 370
File# 371
File# 372
File# 373
File# 374
File# 375
File# 376
File# 377
File# 378
File# 379
File# 380
File# 381
File# 382
File# 383
File# 384
File# 385
File# 386
File# 387
File# 388
File# 389
File# 390
File# 391
File# 392
File# 393
File# 394
File# 395
File# 396
File# 397
File# 398
File# 399
File# 400
File# 401
File# 402
File# 403
File# 404
File# 405
File# 406
File# 407
File# 408
File# 409
File# 410
File# 411
File# 412
File# 413
File# 414
File# 415
File# 416
File# 417
File# 418
File# 419
File# 420
File# 421
File# 422
File# 423
File# 424
File# 425
File# 426
File# 427
File# 428
File# 429
File# 430
File# 431
File# 432
File# 433
File# 434
File# 435
File# 436
File# 437
File# 438
File# 439
File# 440
File# 441
File# 442
File# 443
File# 444
File# 445
File# 446
File# 447
File# 448
File# 449
File# 450
File# 451
File# 452
File# 453
File# 454
File# 455
File# 456
File# 457
File# 458
File# 459
File# 460
File# 461
File# 462
File# 463
File# 464
File# 465
File# 466
File# 467
File# 468
File# 469
File# 470
File# 471
File# 472
File# 473
File# 474
File# 475
File# 476
File# 477
File# 478
File# 479
File# 480
File# 481
File# 482
File# 483
File# 484
File# 485
File# 486
File# 487
File# 488
File# 489
File# 490
File# 491
File# 492
File# 493
File# 494
File# 495
File# 496
File# 497
File# 498
File# 499
File# 500
File# 501
File# 502
File# 503
File# 504
File# 505
File# 506
File# 507
File# 508
File# 509
File# 510
File# 511
File# 512
File# 513
File# 514
File# 515
File# 516
File# 517
File# 518
File# 519
File# 520
File# 521
File# 522
File# 523
File# 524
File# 525
File# 526
File# 527
File# 528
File# 529
File# 530
File# 531
File# 532
File# 533
File# 534
File# 535
File# 536
File# 537
File# 538
File# 539
File# 540
File# 541
File# 542
File# 543
File# 544
File# 545
File# 546
File# 547
File# 548
File# 549
File# 550
File# 551
File# 552
File# 553
File# 554
File# 555
File# 556
File# 557
File# 558
File# 559
File# 560
File# 561
File# 562
File# 563
File# 564
File# 565
File# 566
File# 567
File# 568
File# 569
File# 570
File# 571
File# 572
File# 573
File# 574
File# 575
File# 576
File# 577
File# 578
File# 579
File# 580
File# 581
File# 582
File# 583
File# 584
File# 585
File# 586
File# 587
File# 588
File# 589
File# 590
File# 591
File# 592
File# 593
File# 594
File# 595
File# 596
File# 597
File# 598
File# 599
File# 600
File# 601
File# 602
File# 603
File# 604
File# 605
File# 606
File# 607
File# 608
File# 609
File# 610
File# 611
File# 612
File# 613
File# 614
File# 615
File# 616
File# 617
File# 618
File# 619
File# 620
File# 621
File# 622
File# 623
File# 624
File# 625
File# 626
File# 627
File# 628
File# 629
File# 630
File# 631
File# 632
File# 633
File# 634
File# 635
File# 636
File# 637
File# 638
File# 639
File# 640
File# 641
File# 642
File# 643
File# 644
File# 645
File# 646
File# 647
fol. 1r is at the top.

In the examples below, we can compare the features in the spectrum arrays of different manuscripts. In addition to giving a sense for color distribution within the pages of each manuscript, these visualizations also make the relative length of each manuscript readily apparent (manuscripts with fewer pages have a shorter array).

Musée Condé, Ms. 65

Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
File# 6
File# 7
File# 8
File# 9
File# 10
File# 11
File# 12
File# 13
File# 14
File# 15
File# 16
File# 17
File# 18
File# 19
File# 20
File# 21
File# 22
File# 23
File# 24
File# 25
File# 26
File# 27
File# 28
File# 29
File# 30
File# 31
File# 32
File# 33
File# 34
File# 35
File# 36
File# 37
File# 38
File# 39
File# 40
File# 41
File# 42
File# 43
File# 44
File# 45
File# 46
File# 47
File# 48
File# 49
File# 50
File# 51
File# 52
File# 53
File# 54
File# 55
File# 56
File# 57
File# 58
File# 59
File# 60
File# 61
File# 62
File# 63
File# 64
File# 65
File# 66
File# 67
File# 68
File# 69
File# 70
File# 71
File# 72
File# 73
File# 74
File# 75
File# 76
File# 77
File# 78
File# 79
File# 80
File# 81
File# 82
File# 83
File# 84
File# 85
File# 86
File# 87
File# 88
File# 89
File# 90
File# 91
File# 92
File# 93
File# 94
File# 95
File# 96
File# 97
File# 98
File# 99
File# 100
File# 101
File# 102
File# 103
File# 104
File# 105
File# 106
File# 107
File# 108
File# 109
File# 110
File# 111
File# 112
File# 113
File# 114
File# 115
File# 116
File# 117
File# 118
File# 119
File# 120
File# 121
File# 122
File# 123
File# 124
File# 125
File# 126
File# 127
File# 128
File# 129
File# 130
File# 131
File# 132
File# 133
File# 134
File# 135
File# 136
File# 137
File# 138
File# 139
File# 140
File# 141
File# 142
File# 143
File# 144
File# 145
File# 146
File# 147
File# 148
File# 149
File# 150
File# 151
File# 152
File# 153
File# 154
File# 155
File# 156
File# 157
File# 158
File# 159
File# 160
File# 161
File# 162
File# 163
File# 164
File# 165
File# 166
File# 167
File# 168
File# 169
File# 170
File# 171
File# 172
File# 173
File# 174
File# 175
File# 176
File# 177
File# 178
File# 179
File# 180
File# 181
File# 182
File# 183
File# 184
File# 185
File# 186
File# 187
File# 188
File# 189
File# 190
File# 191
File# 192
File# 193
File# 194
File# 195
File# 196
File# 197
File# 198
File# 199
File# 200
File# 201
File# 202
File# 203
File# 204
File# 205
File# 206
File# 207
File# 208
File# 209
File# 210
File# 211
File# 212
File# 213
File# 214
File# 215
File# 216
File# 217
File# 218
File# 219
File# 220
File# 221
File# 222
File# 223
File# 224
File# 225
File# 226
File# 227
File# 228
File# 229
File# 230
File# 231
File# 232
File# 233
File# 234
File# 235
File# 236
File# 237
File# 238
File# 239
File# 240
File# 241
File# 242
File# 243
File# 244
File# 245
File# 246
File# 247
File# 248
File# 249
File# 250
File# 251
File# 252
File# 253
File# 254
File# 255
File# 256
File# 257
File# 258
File# 259
File# 260
File# 261
File# 262
File# 263
File# 264
File# 265
File# 266
File# 267
File# 268
File# 269
File# 270
File# 271
File# 272
File# 273
File# 274
File# 275
File# 276
File# 277
File# 278
File# 279
File# 280
File# 281
File# 282
File# 283
File# 284
File# 285
File# 286
File# 287
File# 288
File# 289
File# 290
File# 291
File# 292
File# 293
File# 294
File# 295
File# 296
File# 297
File# 298
File# 299
File# 300
File# 301
File# 302
File# 303
File# 304
File# 305
File# 306
File# 307
File# 308
File# 309
File# 310
File# 311
File# 312
File# 313
File# 314
File# 315
File# 316
File# 317
File# 318
File# 319
File# 320
File# 321
File# 322
File# 323
File# 324
File# 325
File# 326
File# 327
File# 328
File# 329
File# 330
File# 331
File# 332
File# 333
File# 334
File# 335
File# 336
File# 337
File# 338
File# 339
File# 340
File# 341
File# 342
File# 343
File# 344
File# 345
File# 346
File# 347
File# 348
File# 349
File# 350
File# 351
File# 352
File# 353
File# 354
File# 355
File# 356
File# 357
File# 358
File# 359
File# 360
File# 361
File# 362
File# 363
File# 364
File# 365
File# 366
File# 367
File# 368
File# 369
File# 370
File# 371
File# 372
File# 373
File# 374
File# 375
File# 376
File# 377
File# 378
File# 379
File# 380
File# 381
File# 382
File# 383
File# 384
File# 385
File# 386
File# 387
File# 388
File# 389
File# 390
File# 391
File# 392
File# 393
File# 394
File# 395
File# 396
File# 397
File# 398
File# 399
File# 400
File# 401
File# 402
File# 403
File# 404
File# 405
File# 406
File# 407
File# 408
File# 409
File# 410
File# 411
File# 412
The highly saturated colors in this celebrated manuscript are well represented in this spectrum stack. We immediately notice the horizontal breaks in the colorful array that represent unadorned pages and sections. Upon closer inspection of the first group of folios, we discern the alternation between the famous full-page illuminations and the plain text of the calendar on facing pages. This is especially visible in the green range (just right of center on the spectrum). A sample page from this manuscript may be viewed providing a single representative example along with its own corresponding spectrum.
Sample page
Close sample
fol. 48r


BNF FR 606

L'Epistre Othea la deesse, par CHRISTINE DE PISAN
File# 9
File# 10
File# 11
File# 12
File# 13
File# 14
File# 15
File# 16
File# 17
File# 18
File# 19
File# 20
File# 21
File# 22
File# 23
File# 24
File# 25
File# 26
File# 27
File# 28
File# 29
File# 30
File# 31
File# 32
File# 33
File# 34
File# 35
File# 36
File# 37
File# 38
File# 39
File# 40
File# 41
File# 42
File# 43
File# 44
File# 45
File# 46
File# 47
File# 48
File# 49
File# 50
File# 51
File# 52
File# 53
File# 54
File# 55
File# 56
File# 57
File# 58
File# 59
File# 60
File# 61
File# 62
File# 63
File# 64
File# 65
File# 66
File# 67
File# 68
File# 69
File# 70
File# 71
File# 72
File# 73
File# 74
File# 75
File# 76
File# 77
File# 78
File# 79
File# 80
File# 81
File# 82
File# 83
File# 84
File# 85
File# 86
File# 87
File# 88
File# 89
File# 90
File# 91
File# 92
File# 93
File# 94
File# 95
File# 96
File# 97
File# 98
File# 99
File# 100
The traces of the lightest colors in both BNF Fr 606 and BNF NAL 2694 (below) come from the border of the uncropped images, although in BNF Fr 606, they could also represent the frequent appearance of gold leaf, the luster of which is captured in these photographs.
Sample page
Close sample
fol. 16v


BNF NAL 2694

Johannes Cassianus, De institutis coenobiorum et de octo principalium vitiorum remediis
File# 5
File# 6
File# 7
File# 8
File# 9
File# 10
File# 11
File# 12
File# 13
File# 14
File# 15
File# 16
File# 17
File# 18
File# 19
File# 20
File# 21
File# 22
File# 23
File# 24
File# 25
File# 26
File# 27
File# 28
File# 29
File# 30
File# 31
File# 32
File# 33
File# 34
File# 35
File# 36
File# 37
File# 38
File# 39
File# 40
File# 41
File# 42
File# 43
File# 44
File# 45
File# 46
File# 47
File# 48
File# 49
File# 50
File# 51
File# 52
File# 53
File# 54
File# 55
File# 56
File# 57
File# 58
File# 59
File# 60
File# 61
File# 62
File# 63
File# 64
File# 65
File# 66
File# 67
File# 68
File# 69
File# 70
File# 71
File# 72
File# 73
File# 74
File# 75
File# 76
File# 77
File# 78
File# 79
File# 80
File# 81
File# 82
File# 83
File# 84
File# 85
File# 86
File# 87
File# 88
File# 89
File# 90
File# 91
File# 92
File# 93
File# 94
File# 95
File# 96
File# 97
File# 98
File# 99
File# 100
File# 101
File# 102
File# 103
File# 104
File# 105
File# 106
File# 107
File# 108
File# 109
File# 110
File# 111
File# 112
File# 113
File# 114
File# 115
File# 116
File# 117
File# 118
File# 119
File# 120
File# 121
File# 122
File# 123
File# 124
File# 125
File# 126
File# 127
File# 128
File# 129
File# 130
File# 131
File# 132
File# 133
File# 134
File# 135
File# 136
File# 137
File# 138
File# 139
File# 140
File# 141
File# 142
File# 143
File# 144
File# 145
File# 146
File# 147
File# 148
File# 149
File# 150
The color scheme of BNF NAL 2694 distinguishes itself from the previous examples with the significant presence of green in the numerous ornate capitals that adorn the entire volume.
Sample page
Close sample
fol. 5v


BNF FR 22547

Histoires du grant Alexandre de Macedone, par QUINTE-CURCE
File# 13
File# 14
File# 15
File# 16
File# 17
File# 18
File# 19
File# 20
File# 21
File# 22
File# 23
File# 24
File# 25
File# 26
File# 27
File# 28
File# 29
File# 30
File# 31
File# 32
File# 33
File# 34
File# 35
File# 36
File# 37
File# 38
File# 39
File# 40
File# 41
File# 42
File# 43
File# 44
File# 45
File# 46
File# 47
File# 48
File# 49
File# 50
File# 51
File# 52
File# 53
File# 54
File# 55
File# 56
File# 57
File# 58
File# 59
File# 60
File# 61
File# 62
File# 63
File# 64
File# 65
File# 66
File# 67
File# 68
File# 69
File# 70
File# 71
File# 72
File# 73
File# 74
File# 75
File# 76
File# 77
File# 78
File# 79
File# 80
File# 81
File# 82
File# 83
File# 84
File# 85
File# 86
File# 87
File# 88
File# 89
File# 90
File# 91
File# 92
File# 93
File# 94
File# 95
File# 96
File# 97
File# 98
File# 99
File# 100
File# 101
File# 102
File# 103
File# 104
File# 105
File# 106
File# 107
File# 108
File# 109
File# 110
File# 111
File# 112
File# 113
File# 114
File# 115
File# 116
File# 117
File# 118
File# 119
File# 120
File# 121
File# 122
File# 123
File# 124
File# 125
File# 126
File# 127
File# 128
File# 129
File# 130
File# 131
File# 132
File# 133
File# 134
File# 135
File# 136
File# 137
File# 138
File# 139
File# 140
File# 141
File# 142
File# 143
File# 144
File# 145
File# 146
File# 147
File# 148
File# 149
File# 150
File# 151
File# 152
File# 153
File# 154
File# 155
File# 156
File# 157
File# 158
File# 159
File# 160
File# 161
File# 162
File# 163
File# 164
File# 165
File# 166
File# 167
File# 168
File# 169
File# 170
File# 171
File# 172
File# 173
File# 174
File# 175
File# 176
File# 177
File# 178
File# 179
File# 180
File# 181
File# 182
File# 183
File# 184
File# 185
File# 186
File# 187
File# 188
File# 189
File# 190
File# 191
File# 192
File# 193
File# 194
File# 195
File# 196
File# 197
File# 198
File# 199
File# 200
File# 201
File# 202
File# 203
File# 204
File# 205
File# 206
File# 207
File# 208
File# 209
File# 210
File# 211
File# 212
File# 213
File# 214
File# 215
File# 216
File# 217
File# 218
File# 219
File# 220
File# 221
File# 222
File# 223
File# 224
File# 225
File# 226
File# 227
File# 228
File# 229
File# 230
File# 231
File# 232
File# 233
File# 234
File# 235
File# 236
File# 237
File# 238
File# 239
File# 240
File# 241
File# 242
File# 243
File# 244
File# 245
File# 246
File# 247
File# 248
File# 249
File# 250
File# 251
File# 252
File# 253
File# 254
File# 255
File# 256
File# 257
File# 258
File# 259
File# 260
File# 261
File# 262
File# 263
File# 264
File# 265
File# 266
File# 267
File# 268
File# 269
File# 270
File# 271
File# 272
File# 273
File# 274
File# 275
File# 276
File# 277
File# 278
File# 279
File# 280
File# 281
File# 282
File# 283
File# 284
File# 285
File# 286
File# 287
File# 288
File# 289
File# 290
File# 291
File# 292
File# 293
File# 294
File# 295
File# 296
File# 297
File# 298
File# 299
File# 300
File# 301
File# 302
File# 303
File# 304
File# 305
File# 306
File# 307
File# 308
File# 309
File# 310
File# 311
File# 312
File# 313
File# 314
File# 315
File# 316
File# 317
File# 318
File# 319
File# 320
File# 321
File# 322
File# 323
File# 324
File# 325
File# 326
File# 327
File# 328
File# 329
File# 330
File# 331
File# 332
File# 333
File# 334
File# 335
File# 336
File# 337
File# 338
File# 339
File# 340
File# 341
File# 342
File# 343
File# 344
File# 345
File# 346
File# 347
File# 348
File# 349
File# 350
File# 351
File# 352
File# 353
File# 354
File# 355
File# 356
File# 357
File# 358
File# 359
File# 360
File# 361
File# 362
File# 363
File# 364
File# 365
File# 366
File# 367
File# 368
File# 369
File# 370
File# 371
File# 372
File# 373
File# 374
File# 375
File# 376
File# 377
File# 378
File# 379
File# 380
File# 381
File# 382
File# 383
File# 384
File# 385
File# 386
File# 387
File# 388
File# 389
File# 390
File# 391
File# 392
File# 393
File# 394
File# 395
File# 396
File# 397
File# 398
File# 399
File# 400
File# 401
File# 402
File# 403
File# 404
File# 405
File# 406
File# 407
File# 408
File# 409
File# 410
File# 411
File# 412
File# 413
File# 414
File# 415
File# 416
File# 417
File# 418
File# 419
File# 420
File# 421
File# 422
File# 423
File# 424
File# 425
File# 426
File# 427
File# 428
File# 429
File# 430
File# 431
File# 432
File# 433
File# 434
File# 435
File# 436
File# 437
File# 438
File# 439
File# 440
File# 441
File# 442
File# 443
File# 444
File# 445
File# 446
File# 447
File# 448
File# 449
File# 450
File# 451
File# 452
File# 453
File# 454
File# 455
File# 456
File# 457
File# 458
File# 459
File# 460
File# 461
File# 462
File# 463
File# 464
File# 465
File# 466
File# 467
File# 468
File# 469
File# 470
File# 471
File# 472
File# 473
File# 474
File# 475
File# 476
File# 477
File# 478
File# 479
File# 480
File# 481
File# 482
File# 483
File# 484
File# 485
File# 486
File# 487
File# 488
File# 489
File# 490
File# 491
File# 492
File# 493
File# 494
File# 495
File# 496
File# 497
File# 498
File# 499
File# 500
File# 501
File# 502
File# 503
File# 504
File# 505
File# 506
File# 507
File# 508
File# 509
File# 510
File# 511
File# 512
File# 513
File# 514
File# 515
File# 516
File# 517
File# 518
File# 519
File# 520
File# 521
File# 522
File# 523
File# 524
File# 525
File# 526
File# 527
File# 528
File# 529
File# 530
File# 531
File# 532
File# 533
File# 534
File# 535
File# 536
File# 537
File# 538
File# 539
File# 540
File# 541
File# 542
File# 543
File# 544
File# 545
File# 546
File# 547
File# 548
File# 549
File# 550
FR 22547 reveals fewer saturated colors. The vertical band of blue results from the numerous block capitals and colored line fillers that appear on almost every page. Less frequent are the many large illuminations which appear here as longer horizontal bars of blue and green at fairly regular intervals. Two separate vertical bands of brown (brown-toward-orange and brown-toward-yellow) consistently represent a variation which may distinguish the brown ink of the text from the gold leaf, which these photographs often render as reflecting dark.
Sample page
Close sample
fol. 52r


Arsénal Ms. 579

La Bible de Louis d'Orléans, volume 5
File# 5
File# 6
File# 7
File# 8
File# 9
File# 10
File# 11
File# 12
File# 13
File# 14
File# 15
File# 16
File# 17
File# 18
File# 19
File# 20
File# 21
File# 22
File# 23
File# 24
File# 25
File# 26
File# 27
File# 28
File# 29
File# 30
File# 31
File# 32
File# 33
File# 34
File# 35
File# 36
File# 37
File# 38
File# 39
File# 40
File# 41
File# 42
File# 43
File# 44
File# 45
File# 46
File# 47
File# 48
File# 49
File# 50
File# 51
File# 52
File# 53
File# 54
File# 55
File# 56
File# 57
File# 58
File# 59
File# 60
File# 61
File# 62
File# 63
File# 64
File# 65
File# 66
File# 67
File# 68
File# 69
File# 70
File# 71
File# 72
File# 73
File# 74
File# 75
File# 76
File# 77
File# 78
File# 79
File# 80
File# 81
File# 82
File# 83
File# 84
File# 85
File# 86
File# 87
File# 88
File# 89
File# 90
File# 91
File# 92
File# 93
File# 94
File# 95
File# 96
File# 97
File# 98
File# 99
File# 100
File# 101
File# 102
File# 103
File# 104
File# 105
File# 106
File# 107
File# 108
File# 109
File# 110
File# 111
File# 112
File# 113
File# 114
File# 115
File# 116
File# 117
File# 118
File# 119
File# 120
File# 121
File# 122
File# 123
File# 124
File# 125
File# 126
File# 127
File# 128
File# 129
File# 130
File# 131
File# 132
File# 133
File# 134
File# 135
File# 136
File# 137
File# 138
File# 139
File# 140
File# 141
File# 142
File# 143
File# 144
File# 145
File# 146
File# 147
File# 148
File# 149
File# 150
File# 151
File# 152
File# 153
File# 154
File# 155
File# 156
File# 157
File# 158
File# 159
File# 160
File# 161
File# 162
File# 163
File# 164
File# 165
File# 166
File# 167
File# 168
File# 169
File# 170
File# 171
File# 172
File# 173
File# 174
File# 175
File# 176
File# 177
File# 178
File# 179
File# 180
File# 181
File# 182
File# 183
File# 184
File# 185
File# 186
File# 187
File# 188
File# 189
File# 190
File# 191
File# 192
File# 193
File# 194
File# 195
File# 196
File# 197
File# 198
File# 199
File# 200
File# 201
File# 202
File# 203
File# 204
File# 205
File# 206
File# 207
File# 208
File# 209
File# 210
File# 211
File# 212
File# 213
File# 214
File# 215
File# 216
File# 217
File# 218
File# 219
File# 220
File# 221
File# 222
File# 223
File# 224
File# 225
File# 226
File# 227
File# 228
File# 229
File# 230
File# 231
File# 232
File# 233
File# 234
File# 235
File# 236
File# 237
File# 238
File# 239
File# 240
File# 241
File# 242
File# 243
File# 244
File# 245
File# 246
File# 247
File# 248
File# 249
File# 250
File# 251
File# 252
File# 253
File# 254
File# 255
File# 256
File# 257
File# 258
File# 259
File# 260
File# 261
File# 262
File# 263
File# 264
File# 265
File# 266
File# 267
File# 268
File# 269
File# 270
File# 271
File# 272
File# 273
File# 274
File# 275
File# 276
File# 277
File# 278
File# 279
File# 280
File# 281
File# 282
File# 283
File# 284
File# 285
File# 286
File# 287
File# 288
File# 289
File# 290
File# 291
File# 292
File# 293
File# 294
File# 295
File# 296
File# 297
File# 298
File# 299
File# 300
File# 301
File# 302
File# 303
File# 304
File# 305
File# 306
File# 307
File# 308
File# 309
File# 310
File# 311
File# 312
File# 313
File# 314
File# 315
File# 316
File# 317
File# 318
File# 319
File# 320
File# 321
File# 322
File# 323
File# 324
File# 325
File# 326
File# 327
File# 328
File# 329
File# 330
File# 331
File# 332
File# 333
File# 334
File# 335
File# 336
File# 337
File# 338
File# 339
File# 340
File# 341
File# 342
File# 343
File# 344
File# 345
File# 346
File# 347
File# 348
File# 349
File# 350
File# 351
File# 352
File# 353
File# 354
File# 355
File# 356
File# 357
File# 358
File# 359
File# 360
File# 361
File# 362
File# 363
File# 364
File# 365
File# 366
File# 367
File# 368
File# 369
File# 370
File# 371
File# 372
File# 373
File# 374
File# 375
File# 376
File# 377
File# 378
File# 379
File# 380
File# 381
File# 382
File# 383
File# 384
File# 385
File# 386
File# 387
File# 388
File# 389
File# 390
File# 391
File# 392
File# 393
File# 394
File# 395
File# 396
File# 397
File# 398
File# 399
File# 400
File# 401
File# 402
File# 403
File# 404
File# 405
File# 406
File# 407
File# 408
File# 409
File# 410
File# 411
File# 412
File# 413
File# 414
File# 415
File# 416
File# 417
File# 418
File# 419
File# 420
File# 421
File# 422
File# 423
File# 424
File# 425
File# 426
File# 427
File# 428
File# 429
File# 430
File# 431
File# 432
File# 433
File# 434
File# 435
File# 436
File# 437
File# 438
File# 439
File# 440
File# 441
In La Bible de Louis d'Orléans, there are no illuminations or gold leaf. Multi-color canon tables appear toward the beginning of the manuscript. Capital letters appear on nearly every page in blue, red, green and light brown. On a few pages, there are very large, monochromatic capitals, which cause significant shifts in the spectrum for those pages. It not evident what might cause the three distinct vertical bands of dark brown.
Sample page
Close sample
fol. 121r


BNF Fr 343

La Quête du Saint Graal et la Mort d'Arthus, de GAUTIER MAP
File# 5
File# 6
File# 7
File# 8
File# 9
File# 10
File# 11
File# 12
File# 13
File# 14
File# 15
File# 16
File# 17
File# 18
File# 19
File# 20
File# 21
File# 22
File# 23
File# 24
File# 25
File# 26
File# 27
File# 28
File# 29
File# 30
File# 31
File# 32
File# 33
File# 34
File# 35
File# 36
File# 37
File# 38
File# 39
File# 40
File# 41
File# 42
File# 43
File# 44
File# 45
File# 46
File# 47
File# 48
File# 49
File# 50
File# 51
File# 52
File# 53
File# 54
File# 55
File# 56
File# 57
File# 58
File# 59
File# 60
File# 61
File# 62
File# 63
File# 64
File# 65
File# 66
File# 67
File# 68
File# 69
File# 70
File# 71
File# 72
File# 73
File# 74
File# 75
File# 76
File# 77
File# 78
File# 79
File# 80
File# 81
File# 82
File# 83
File# 84
File# 85
File# 86
File# 87
File# 88
File# 89
File# 90
File# 91
File# 92
File# 93
File# 94
File# 95
File# 96
File# 97
File# 98
File# 99
File# 100
File# 101
File# 102
File# 103
File# 104
File# 105
File# 106
File# 107
File# 108
File# 109
File# 110
File# 111
File# 112
File# 113
File# 114
File# 115
File# 116
File# 117
File# 118
File# 119
File# 120
File# 121
File# 122
File# 123
File# 124
File# 125
File# 126
File# 127
File# 128
File# 129
File# 130
File# 131
File# 132
File# 133
File# 134
File# 135
File# 136
File# 137
File# 138
File# 139
File# 140
File# 141
File# 142
File# 143
File# 144
File# 145
File# 146
File# 147
File# 148
File# 149
File# 150
File# 151
File# 152
File# 153
File# 154
File# 155
File# 156
File# 157
File# 158
File# 159
File# 160
File# 161
File# 162
File# 163
File# 164
File# 165
File# 166
File# 167
File# 168
File# 169
File# 170
File# 171
File# 172
File# 173
File# 174
File# 175
File# 176
File# 177
File# 178
File# 179
File# 180
File# 181
File# 182
File# 183
File# 184
File# 185
File# 186
File# 187
File# 188
File# 189
File# 190
File# 191
File# 192
File# 193
File# 194
File# 195
File# 196
File# 197
File# 198
File# 199
File# 200
File# 201
File# 202
File# 203
File# 204
File# 205
File# 206
File# 207
File# 208
File# 209
File# 210
File# 211
File# 212
File# 213
File# 214
File# 215
File# 216
File# 217
File# 218
File# 219
File# 220
File# 221
File# 222
File# 223
File# 224
File# 225
File# 226
There are numerous illuminations and large block capitals in the first half of this Arthurian manuscript. In the second half, the blank spaces that were reserved for more decorations bear faint traces of preliminary sketches or are completely blank. Traces of purple appear in the right of the spectrum array because the pen flourishes on the gold capitals are in purple ink.
Sample page
Close sample
fol. 20r


BNF Fr 12476

Le Champion des Dames, par MARTIN LE FRANC
File# 4
File# 5
File# 6
File# 7
File# 8
File# 9
File# 10
File# 11
File# 12
File# 13
File# 14
File# 15
File# 16
File# 17
File# 18
File# 19
File# 20
File# 21
File# 22
File# 23
File# 24
File# 25
File# 26
File# 27
File# 28
File# 29
File# 30
File# 31
File# 32
File# 33
File# 34
File# 35
File# 36
File# 37
File# 38
File# 39
File# 40
File# 41
File# 42
File# 43
File# 44
File# 45
File# 46
File# 47
File# 48
File# 49
File# 50
File# 51
File# 52
File# 53
File# 54
File# 55
File# 56
File# 57
File# 58
File# 59
File# 60
File# 61
File# 62
File# 63
File# 64
File# 65
File# 66
File# 67
File# 68
File# 69
File# 70
File# 71
File# 72
File# 73
File# 74
File# 75
File# 76
File# 77
File# 78
File# 79
File# 80
File# 81
File# 82
File# 83
File# 84
File# 85
File# 86
File# 87
File# 88
File# 89
File# 90
File# 91
File# 92
File# 93
File# 94
File# 95
File# 96
File# 97
File# 98
File# 99
File# 100
File# 101
File# 102
File# 103
File# 104
File# 105
File# 106
File# 107
File# 108
File# 109
File# 110
File# 111
File# 112
File# 113
File# 114
File# 115
File# 116
File# 117
File# 118
File# 119
File# 120
File# 121
File# 122
File# 123
File# 124
File# 125
File# 126
File# 127
File# 128
File# 129
File# 130
File# 131
File# 132
File# 133
File# 134
File# 135
File# 136
File# 137
File# 138
File# 139
File# 140
File# 141
File# 142
File# 143
File# 144
File# 145
File# 146
File# 147
File# 148
File# 149
File# 150
File# 151
File# 152
File# 153
File# 154
File# 155
File# 156
File# 157
File# 158
File# 159
File# 160
File# 161
File# 162
File# 163
File# 164
File# 165
File# 166
File# 167
File# 168
File# 169
File# 170
File# 171
File# 172
File# 173
File# 174
File# 175
File# 176
File# 177
File# 178
File# 179
File# 180
File# 181
File# 182
File# 183
File# 184
File# 185
File# 186
File# 187
File# 188
File# 189
File# 190
File# 191
File# 192
File# 193
File# 194
File# 195
File# 196
File# 197
File# 198
File# 199
File# 200
File# 201
File# 202
File# 203
File# 204
File# 205
File# 206
File# 207
File# 208
File# 209
File# 210
File# 211
File# 212
File# 213
File# 214
File# 215
File# 216
File# 217
File# 218
File# 219
File# 220
File# 221
File# 222
File# 223
File# 224
File# 225
File# 226
File# 227
File# 228
File# 229
File# 230
File# 231
File# 232
File# 233
File# 234
File# 235
File# 236
File# 237
File# 238
File# 239
File# 240
File# 241
File# 242
File# 243
File# 244
File# 245
File# 246
File# 247
File# 248
File# 249
File# 250
File# 251
File# 252
File# 253
File# 254
File# 255
File# 256
File# 257
File# 258
File# 259
File# 260
File# 261
File# 262
File# 263
File# 264
File# 265
File# 266
File# 267
File# 268
File# 269
File# 270
File# 271
File# 272
File# 273
File# 274
File# 275
File# 276
File# 277
File# 278
File# 279
File# 280
File# 281
File# 282
File# 283
File# 284
File# 285
File# 286
File# 287
File# 288
File# 289
File# 290
File# 291
File# 292
File# 293
File# 294
File# 295
File# 296
File# 297
File# 298
File# 299
File# 300
File# 301
File# 302
File# 303
File# 304
File# 305
File# 306
File# 307
File# 308
Alternating red and blue capitals appear at the beginning of every eight-line stanza of this poetic text, thus imposing a constant pattern of red and blue throughout the array. There is also clear evidence of the frequent pen flourishes in green ink.
Sample page
Close sample
fol. 93v


Similar to the manuscript averages proposed in Part 1 of this essay, the spectrum array of a given manuscript may not provide concrete data that lead to precise analyses or conclusions. It does provide a visualization that can be generated through a digitally automated process and which can allow for a reliable, if preliminary, study of color distribution and relations within manuscripts. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the photographic conditions (lighting, white balance, page crop, etc.) and the quality of the digital archives used to generate this data can vary considerably not only from one collection to another, but also between manuscripts photographed at the same location. Nevertheless, once trained to observe the minute discrepancies between these charts, one can attain an informed overview of a visual aspect of an entire manuscript all in a single glimpse.


Source for images of Condé Ms. 65: Wikimedia Commons
Source for all other manuscript images: gallica.bnf.fr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *