Books written by hand, decorated with paintings and ornaments of different kinds. The word `illuminated' comes from a usage of the Latin word illuminare in connection with oratory or prose style, where it means `adorn'. The decorations are of three main types:
Manuscripts are for the most part written on skin, parchment, or vellum. From the 14th century, paper was used for less sumptuous copies. Although a number of books have miniatures and ornaments executed in outline drawing only, the majority are fully coloured. By the 15th cent. illumination tended more and more to follow the lead given by painters, and with the invention of printing the illuminated book gradually went out of fashion. During the 15th and 16th centuries, illuminations were added to printed books.