About «The Macclesfield Alphabet Book »
The Macclesfield Alphabet Book is an exquisitely beautiful 15th-century English 'pattern' book, probably used by artists for the transmission of ideas to assistants, or as a sample book to show potential customers. Only a handful of such books survive. The manuscript contains 14 different types of decorative alphabets. These include an alphabet of decorative initials with faces; foliate alphabets; a zoomorphic alphabet of initials, and alphabets in Gothic script. In addition there are large coloured anthropomorphic initials modelled after 15th-century woodcuts or engravings, as well as two sets of different types of borders, some of which are fully illuminated in colours and gold. The manuscript was acquired by the British Library in 2009. It had been in the library of the Earl of Macclesfield since about 1750, and until recently its existence was completely unknown.