This is a very short set of examples, chosen chiefly to demonstrate that the sort of line-work seen in MS Beinecke 408 cannot be taken to show a terminus a quo in the fifteenth century, as some have believed. Nor can it be taken to argue a specifically ‘German’ or ‘central European’ provenance.

Roughly parallel, curved lines, indicating curve and volume (~concave).

pattern hatching Book of the Fayyum tiger

1. from the Book of the Fayum. A work known in many extant examples, from Hellenistic (Ptolemaic) to Roman times (332 BCE – 359 CE). The practice is seen earlier on some archaic and a much of classical pottery.

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Artemidorus hatching

2. Detail from the Artemidorus papyrus. (Payrus Artemid). 1stC BC, probably Alexandria.

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These sleeves show the first technique, shading for the animal’s back and belly implying the second.

pattern shading stgllen Cod Sang 250 10thc3. Detail from a Latin manuscript inc.  Aratea. last quarter of the 9th.C.

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and here is the wider and a different narrower version of that first type:

Codex Vigilano Albeldense fol59

Codex Vigilano Albeldense fol59

4. Latin Manuscript, late 9th.C. Iberia. with updating to last quarter of the tenth century.

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patt lines Harley 2506 f. 39v Sagittarius

BL MS Harley 2506 f. 39v Sagittarius Northern France (Fleury?).

5. Latin MS – last quarter of the 10thC.

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detail from a 12thC 1180 French wedding box, Vannes Musee des Beaux-arts, Brittany

6. 12thC Brittany c.1180 AD. wedding casket. Vannes Musee des Beaux-arts, Brittany. Note also the presence of cross-hatched lines.

spacer SpMuThe customs weren’t only taken up in mainland Europe; they were maintained in the older, eastern Mediterranean, traditions too.


7. 13thC Mesopotamian copy of Dioscorides.

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fol 86r detail Fleury and Cod Sang 250

detail (reversed) MS Beinecke 408 fol.86r

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with line-and-dot

pattern line and dot Cod Sang 250 f476-detail5. Latin MS – last quarter of the 9thC. (St Gallen, Cod. Sang 250). Note that the horns seen here, as on the Sagittarius above demonstrate early sources.  Cf. below.

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Icthyotaur triton rescuer

6. Rome, Christian work. 380 AD.

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The presence of such techniques in MS Beinecke 408 cannot, therefore, be used to argue first composition of the manuscript’s imagery in the fifteenth century, nor the presence of any peculiarly Renaissance character.

MS Beinecke 408 has no  “parallel hatching” as the term is used of Renaissance graphic art – example below –  where the lines define volume as sculptural planes. Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing here could serve as a sculptor’s ‘blueprint’.

Leonardo detail


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For completeness I might  mention that the use of any form of hatching in Latin works is regularly found with crosshatching, which combination never occurs in MS Beinecke 408.

Below, a 12thC example. The ms. contains standard texts such as Bede and Aratos.  Now in the library of St.Gall. Note here that this shading indicates a convex form.

hatching black ink


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Cross-hatching is another technique as natural as it is ubiquitous, making noteworthy its absence from MS Beinecke 408.

Ivory work, especially of the earlier period, commonly includes it.

Note In the left-hand example the image is made as braided hair worn with ‘tyche’ crown and veil.


9a. Artémis_Orthia. Before the 5thC BC.

hair braided Artemis Orthia 3

9b. Artemis Orthia.












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Bk of Fayum two crocs on nome stand

10.  from the Book of the Fayum.

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detail Penwork Cod Bodmer 4 Gualterus Anglicus Fabulae Paper Italy 14thC

11. Codex Bodmer 4.  Gualterus Anglicus Fabulae. Paper. Italy. 14thC.

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and just to annoy.  This pattern was in regular use before the 6thC BC. An example from Sicily dated c.530 BC. People constantly drew scales this way, because it’s how scales are. They make a nice pattern.

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