CFP: ‘Fragmented Illuminations’ online symposium, The V&A, early July 2022, deadline: 6 March 2022

With over 2,000 manuscript cuttings, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London holds one of the largest collections of this kind in the world. Cut out of Italian, Germanic, Netherlandish, French, Spanish, and English manuscripts, they range from the 12th to the 18th century, with a wealth of 15th- and 16th-century examples. They vary in size, from small border snippets and initials to full leaves and, though they have come largely from choirbooks, other types of books are also represented.

The V&A will be organising an online symposium in early July as a follow-up to the display Fragmented Illuminations: Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript Cuttings at the Victoria and Albert Museum (extended until 5 June 2022). It will be held over one afternoon to allow for as large an audience as possible to join and participate, from different time zones.

We welcome papers focusing on any of the following themes and aspects, preferably in relation to pieces in the V&A collection:

  • Study of groups of cuttings from the same manuscript source
  • Provenance research and history of collections
  • Questions of attribution and iconography
  • Identification of parent manuscripts when extant; reconstructions of broken manuscripts
  • Materiality and digital display of manuscript cuttings: opportunities and challenges
  • Comparison with other types of intentionally cut-out medieval and Renaissance fragments, such as textile cuttings, cuttings from printed material, etc.
  • Relationship between manuscript cuttings and copies
  • 19th-century reception of, and responses to, medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts

This list is indicative rather than exhaustive.

A preference will be given to contributions focusing on lesser-known examples in the collection and adopting innovative approaches.

Please send an abstract (max. 300 words), a paper title, and a short biography (max. 150 words) to Dr Catherine Yvard, at

Papers should be no more than 15 minutes in length, to allow time for questions and discussion.

The deadline for submissions is 6 March 2022. Selected speakers will be notified by mid-March.

Image: Border ornaments attributed to Domenico Morone, from a Franciscan choirbook, Verona,
ca. 1500. Museum nos 4918:1 to 9 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


Published by Dr Julia Faiers

Julia Faiers received her PhD from the University of St Andrews in 2021. She wrote her thesis on the art patronage of Louis d’Amboise, bishop of Albi from 1474 to 1503, under the supervision of Professor Kathryn Rudy. Her postdoctoral research includes the nineteenth-century reception of medieval art and architecture, and late-medieval female art patronage in France. Julia gained a First Class Honours degree in art history at the University of St Andrews (1995). She won a British Academy Award to study for her MA in German Expressionism at The Courtauld under the supervision of Dr Shulamith Behr (1997), and spent almost twenty years working as a journalist before returning to academia in 2016.

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