Document Detail

The Gutenberg Bibles: analysis of the illuminations and inks using Raman spectroscopy.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15924396     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The King George III copy of the Gutenberg Bible, held at the British Library, has been analyzed using Raman spectroscopy to determine the palette of pigments used in the illuminations on this work. The palette is found to comprise cinnabar/vermilion, lead tin yellow (type 1), carbon-based black, azurite, malachite, an organo-copper complex (a "verdigris"), calcium carbonate (chalk), gypsum, gold leaf, and basic lead carbonate ("lead white"). This is in agreement with contemporary descriptions of the pigments used for the illuminations. One pigment could not be identified, specifically the organic dark red/purple color used for the foliage. The palette of this copy of the Gutenberg Bible has been compared with those used for six other copies, held at Eton College and Lambeth Palace, England, the Bibliothèque Mazarine and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and the Niedersachsische Staats- und Universitatsbibliothek (SUB) Göttingen, Germany. The palettes are shown to be similar to one another, even though the styles of the primary illuminations differ. The two Gutenberg Bibles held in Germany, printed on vellum, have the more expensive palettes, which include lazurite. The SUB Göttingen copy has the most extensive palette with 16 pigment-related materials having been identified.
Tracey D Chaplin; Robin J H Clark; David Jacobs; Kristian Jensen; Gregory D Smith
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Analytical chemistry     Volume:  77     ISSN:  0003-2700     ISO Abbreviation:  Anal. Chem.     Publication Date:  2005 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-05-31     Completed Date:  2007-04-02     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0370536     Medline TA:  Anal Chem     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  3611-22     Citation Subset:  IM    
Christopher Ingold Laboratories, University College London, 20 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AJ, United Kingdom.
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MeSH Terms
Coloring Agents / analysis*
Rare Books*
Sensitivity and Specificity
Spectrum Analysis, Raman / methods*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Coloring Agents

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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