Raman spectroscopy has been used to study fragments of early Visigothic historiated manuscripts from the important mediaeval library at Santo Domingo de Silos which were a part of a Beato dating from the tenth to the mid-eleventh centuries. These fragments are from some of the oldest manuscripts in the scriptorium of the monastery. In this study, a comparison is made between the pigments and inks used on these manuscripts and those used in a previous study of the unique Visigothic Beato de Valcavado in Santa Cruz, Valladolid, completed in the year 970, which is noted for its quality of execution as well as its content and is remarkable eschatologically in being identifiable as the complete work of only a single scribe. For comparative purposes, the pigments and inks used in the Silos Monastery Beato and a series of historiated early manuscripts from mediaeval times through to the Renaissance also held in the monastic library were analysed. Raman spectroscopy identified a range of mineral and organic pigments such as cinnabar, orpiment, minium, azurite and indigo. In addition, a number of admixtures were found, for example, indigo and orpiment to produce vergaut (green) and a mixture of cinnabar with iron-gall ink and cerussite to produce darker and lighter shades of red. Some interesting conclusions were drawn about the use of iron-gall and carbon-based inks.
This article is part of the themed issue ‘Raman spectroscopy in art and archaeology’.
One contribution of 14 to a theme issue ‘Raman spectroscopy in art and archaeology’.
- Accepted September 2, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
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