Mise en page

The layout of a manuscript page, including page proportions.

The layout of a manuscript page, including page proportions; the relationship of written space to the ruling pattern and to the blank space on the page; the number of columns of text; and the arrangement of glosses, commentaries, initials, and decoration in relation to the main text. Significant developments in the mise en page of manuscripts include the standardization of a one- or two-column layout during the Late Antique and Early Christian periods (initially four columns might be used, in emulation of an unrolled section of a roll). Experiments with complex layout and ruling patterns to accommodate glosses, commentaries, and other parallel texts took place during the Carolingian period and, notably, within university book production from the thirteenth century. Another important development was the standard adoption of a layout wherein the top line of text was written 'below top-line' rather than 'above top-line' of the ruling, a change that appeared around 1220-40 and which acts as a useful criterion for dating manuscripts.

[The term may also be hyphenated as: "mise-en-page."]

  • Italian:
    Organizzazione della pagina; Architettura della pagine Impaginazione
  • Spanish:
    Construcción de la página; mise en page

Michelle Brown, Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Malibu, Calif.: J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the British Library, c1994).