Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What is the illuminated letter? Or the contemporary counterpart the drop cap?
  • Illuminated Letter: in Medieval manuscripts, embellished initial capital letters (hand-illustrated); often spilled into margins and borders and  almost invariably introduced gold in either leaf or powdered form
    • Examples:
     Christ Pantocrator seated in a capital "U" in an illuminated manuscript from the Badische Landesbibliothek, Germany.

      The illuminated letter P in the Malmesbury Bible  
      From the Lindisfarne Gospels
  • The Drop Cap: he first letter of a paragraph that is enlarged to "drop" down two or more lines, as in the next paragraph. Drop caps are often seen at the beginning of novels, where the top of the first letter of the first word lines up with the top of the first sentence and drops down to the four or fifth sentence. 
    • Examples:
    • by typographer and illustrator Jessica Hische
      by Jessica Hische
        by typographer Helen Gordon     

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