Feast Day of St John the Baptist
Single folio leaf, parchment, 15th Century
MS3, Bib# 1338090, UC Rare Books Collection
Prior to mechanical printing being developed, the only way to copy a text was by hand. This illuminated manuscript from England is a leaf from a 15th Century missal. A missal is a book that set out the prayers and responses necessary to celebrate a religious mass, and often featured music. The text is written in Latin, and is set out in two columns, using various colours of ink.
At some point in its history, this page has been separated from its original book, and must have lost some of its significance. The marks and wear on the manuscript are consistent with it having been later re-used as a pastedown – spare paper that provides support inside the bindings of another book.