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Research at St Andrews

A Book of Hours in the Form of a Roll (Egerton 3044), Bruges Scribe Johannes de Ecclesia, and the Art of Writing

Research output: Working paper


This article considers the art of Johannes de Ecclesia, a scribe who worked for the Catalan-speaking clientele in Bruges at the end of the fourteenth century and used some letterforms hitherto unattested in prayerbooks. A consummate experimenter, Johannes de Ecclesia stretched the boundaries of scribal practice. His extraordinary products put his own skills on display. No other scribe in Western Europe matches Johannes de Ecclesia’s prodigious creativity for two centuries. By analysing two of his manuscripts, this article argues that his outsider status, coupled with his exposure to a broad survey of manuscripts made in various times and geographies, inculcated him with ideas he recombined in unexpected ways.

To understand and communicate Johannes de Ecclesia’s unusual and experimental practice, this article proposes under-exploited photography and imagery techniques (namely backlighting) and seeks audience participation levels uncommon in academic articles (namely, the DIY facsimile). It is hoped that the techniques of the reader/scholar are enhanced when they rhyme conceptually with the techniques of the maker and when there is physical engagement with the subject matter.


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusIn preparation - 2 Feb 2021

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ID: 272660571