The Macclesfield Alphabet Book

Item date: c.1500
Grant Value: £20,000
Item cost: £600,000
Item cost pre-decimal: NULL
Item date acquired: 2008
Item institution: British Library
Town/City: London
London borough: LB Camden

A hitherto unknown late medieval manuscript on vellum containing fourteen different types of decorative alphabets, ranging from simple letters in Gothic script to large coloured anthropomorphic initials, and two sets of different types of borders. Before the discovery of the Macclesfield book, only one other medieval writers' patten book of this kind was known, Sloane MS 1448A in the British Library. The Macclesfield book, however, contains many more types of decorative alphabets and borders, fully illuminated in colours and gold, and more detailed and elaborate figurative decoration.

The Macclesfield Alphabet Book, c.1500. FNL grant 2008. Image by kind permission of the British LIbrary.
The Macclesfield Alphabet Book, c.1500. FNL grant 2008. Image by kind permission of the British LIbrary.