Among the glories of extant medieval manuscripts are the splendid illuminated initials in which geometric, curvilinear, animal, religious and other motifs intertwine to form extraordinarily beautiful and decorative letters. For this striking volume, Carol Belanger Grafton has selected 548 illuminated letters-alphabetically arranged-from 19th-century reprints of medieval manuscripts. Here are magnificently ornamented initials-some the length of an entire margin, another encompassing the page itself, others delicate miniatures. All are imaginatively and beautifully enhanced with royal and saintly figures, mythical creatures, knights in battle, exquisite florals and much more. Encompassing all the letters of the alphabet, and including a selection of hand-colored chromolithographs, this practical archive of lovely copyright-free designs not only provides commercial artists and illustrators with a wealth of usable letters, it offers a splendid sampling of the ancient art of manuscript illuminations.