The Hours of Isabella Stuart

Blue pigments

Artists' Materials

Precious ultramarine blue was used by all the main artists in this manuscript, both in the figurative scenes and in the decorated initials. The blue ink used for rubrics and captions is also ultramarine. The blue foliage which enriches the borders was painted with both ultramarine and azurite, usually juxtaposed to create shadows and highlights.

The cheaper azurite blue was also used in some decorated initials and, on selected folios, in the diamond-pattern background of large and small miniatures. It may have been used by assistants who were completing the images painted by the more accomplished artists. For instance, the chequered background on fol. 18v contains both ultramarine and azurite, suggesting that the Rohan Master painted some of the background, but left its completion to an assistant.  

The assistant who painted the three large miniatures on fols. 119r, 134r and 147r used mixtures of ultramarine and azurite in all his blue areas, including draperies.

The two Breton illuminators who altered or added images in the 1440s and 1450s used only azurite.