Fragmented Illuminations Symposium on 7 – 8 July

Word & Image
May 24, 2022

Following from the display Fragmented Illuminations: Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript Cuttings at the V&A (ending 26 June 2022), the V&A will be holding an online symposium over two afternoons on 7 and 8 July. 

This symposium will seek to make sense of these detached leaves, cut-out initials and other ornamented snippets. On Day 1, we will examine the practice of collecting pieces and leaves cut from illuminated manuscripts, with a particular focus on the 19th century. On Day 2, we will investigate the original context of some of these cuttings, the books they came from and the artists involved. 

This event will also be an opportunity to review this field of research, over 20 years since the publication of Manuscript Illumination in the Modern Age: Recovery and Reconstruction, by Michael Camille, Sandra Hindman, Nina Rowe and Rowan Watson (2001). This seminal book provided a lasting legacy to the exhibition of the same name organised at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art in Evanston (IL) in 2001.

Joining is free, but attendees need to register online prior to the event. Registration is now open HERE!  
IMPORTANT NOTICE: the event will automatically appear as sold out from Thursday 7 July at 9.30am (BST). If you would like to join beyond this time, please email Catriona Gourlay (

Leaf (detail) from a Dominican antiphonary, Northern France or Southern Netherlands, 1st quarter of the 14th century. Museum no. 8997C © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


Each session will consist of 2 papers of 20 minutes each, with 15 minutes afterwards for questions, and then time for everyone to take a short break between sessions. The very first and very last sessions will be slightly longer, with 3 papers instead of 2.

To download the programme and additional information, click on the below: 
PDF-Abstracts and Biographies

If you have any questions, contact the organiser Catherine Yvard:

Thursday 7 July, pm

13.00 – 13.15

Welcome: Joanna Norman and Catherine Yvard

Session 1: 13.15 – 14.30

Manuscript cuttings at the V&A
Chair: Jana Riedel, V&A


Anne-Marie Eze, Houghton Library, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) // Milan’s loss, South Kensington’s gain: Luigi Celotti and the Brera Academy


Catherine Yvard, V&A // An overview of the formation of the South Kensington Museum collection


William P. Stoneman, Houghton Library, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) // The Victoria and Albert Museum, Sydney Cockerell and the 1908 Burlington Fine Arts Club Exhibition of Illuminated Manuscripts

Session 2: 14.30 – 15.25

The V&A model in Vienna
Chair: Michaela Schuller-Juckes, Vienna University


Helena K. Szépe, University of South Florida (Tampa, FL) // The model of the V&A and the Illuminations Collection of the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna


Fergus Bovill, University of York // Littifredi Corbizzi, Johann Anton Ramboux and a dismembered Italian Renaissance choirbook

Tea break: 15.25 – 16.00

Session 3: 16.00 – 16.55

Collecting manuscript cuttings in Germany
Chair: Veronika Decker, Vienna University


Beatrice Alai, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen- Nuremberg // The miniatures collection of Hippolyte Destailleur and the dream of a Museum of Graphic Arts in Berlin


Mark Mersiowsky, University of Stuttgart // Collecting medieval cuttings in Germany

Epilogue: 17.00 – 17.30

Rowan Watson, formerly V&A // Living with fragments

Friday 8 July, pm


Introduction followed by discussion:
Catherine Yvard, V&A // An attempt at a virtual handling session, or the messiness of manuscript cuttings

Session 4: 13.30 – 14.25

New research on Italian cuttings

Chair: Anne-Marie Eze, Houghton Library, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)


Anna Melograni, Ministero della Cultura (Rome) // From Milan to Rome and back: Four Lombard cuttings inspired by Pinturicchio’s grottesche


Margherita Zibordi, University of Verona // New findings on two illuminated fragments with blessing Christ in the Victoria and Albert Museum

Tea break: 14.25 – 15.00

Session 5: 15.00 – 16.15

The part and the whole

Chair: Francesca Manzari, Sapienza University (Rome)


Federica Toniolo, University of Padua, and Matteo Cesarotto, Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance (Tours) // The St. Giustina cuttings: new perspectives


Innocent Smith, St Mary’s Seminary and University (Baltimore) // The part and the whole: Victoria and Albert Museum Ms 8997A-H and the Poissy Antiphonal


Agnès Bos, University of St Andrews // From Paris to Philadelphia: The Book of Gospels from the Order of the Holy Spirit rediscovered

16.20 – 16.50

Closing remarks with Sandra Hindman, Les Enluminures Ltd, followed by discussion

Cutting from a choirbook, Germany (probably Cologne), ca. 1500. Museum no. 3053 © Victoria and Albert Museum Collection
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