Materials

The Vernon is the largest surviving Middle English manuscript. It has 700 pages that measure about 54 cm x 39 cm and weighs an astonishing 22 kg. Some pages have been lost. Originally it had perhaps 844 or more pages.

The manuscript is bound in wooden boards that are bevelled in shape and could be medieval. They are covered with tooled leather of the nineteenth century, beneath which the remains of an earlier binding of tanned calf can be seen. Marbled paper of the nineteenth century is pasted inside the boards.

The leaves of the manuscript are made of vellum (parchment). Sheets of vellum were produced from treated calf skin. Because the pages are so large, a whole skin would have only made two leaves. In all, some 211 or more calf skins would have been required to make the manuscript.

The rougher edges of the skin have been trimmed off, but are still visible on some leaves.

 

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