Smalt was not commonly used by illuminators. It was identified recently in two manuscripts made in Venice, where its use bears testimony to a close relationship between glass-making and manuscript illumination.

Because of its low cost, smalt became popular amongst easel painters starting in the late 16th century. Its manufacture then became a specialty of the Dutch and Flemish, and interestingly smalt has also been identified in one page of the c. 1510-1520 Flemish Book of Hours included in the ILLUMINATED resource (MS 1058-1975). 

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