The Medieval version of a font library found in a 500 year old book, that was probably used as a sample book of alphabets, is now on public display. The Macclesfield Alphabet Book from the 1500’s has been acquired by the British Library. Its existence was unknown until recently, having been in the family library collection since 1750. It has 14 different alphabets illustrated decoratively with human faces and other embellishments.
Dr Kathleen Doyle, Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts at the British Library, said:
“The acquisition of the Macclesfield Alphabet Book is tremendously exciting, as it is the most complete set of designs for manuscript decoration known to have survived from late-medieval Britain. The ‘abcs’ are wonderfully illustrated – including letters formed using animals and people – and I hope that those who go to see it on display at the British Library will be captivated by its inventiveness, and that researchers will begin an interesting debate on its origin, models, and function.”
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