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Using a piece of parchment or card, the gold leaf is lifted and placed on the panel; the gilder’s tip, which is a brush with a flat tip used for this purpose, is postmedieval. The next step is to burnish the gold leaf—that is, rub it to make it adhere and polish it to make it shine, by gently rubbing with a burnisher. Use of ‘‘a tooth or a stone’’ is suggested for this purpose.

Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris (MS latin 10525, folio 6). Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY. From the hand of the French Master Honore come the illuminations in the Prayer Book of Philip the Fair, c. 1296 (Bibliotheque nationale, Paris, ms lat. 1023). The framed scenes include the story of the shepherd boy David, with two scenes on a folio: the Coronation of David is shown above and David and the Giant Goliath below. Each time he appears, David looks the same and wears the same blue garment to facilitate following the narrative.

Peter Lombard taught in Paris from around 1134 to 1158; his writings became widely read university texts and remained so for centuries. These and other manuscript illuminations show that the knife was used to sharpen the pen, to erase mistakes, and to hold down the parchment folio. When writing, the quill is shown held at a right angle to the parchment. The scribe left spaces for the illuminations and provided the illuminator with instructions in varying degrees of detail. After the scribe’s work was complete, the illuminator began.

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