100 books like Time Sanctified

By Roger S. Wieck,

Here are 100 books that Time Sanctified fans have personally recommended if you like Time Sanctified. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Illuminated Manuscript

Joyce DiPastena Author Of Illuminations of the Heart

From my list on medieval illumination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been in love with the Middle Ages ever since my mother handed me a copy of The Conquering Family, by Thomas B. Costain, when I was in the 7th grade. Eventually, I went on to earn a degree in history from the University of Arizona. In addition to the many colorful characters who impacted the medieval world, I became entranced with the art of the time period, particularly manuscript paintings. Their beauty, reverence, whimsy, even their occasional naughtiness, are, to me, simply enchanting! It was impossible not to share my love of this artform in at least one of my novels. Below are some of the books that helped me on my writing journey.

Joyce's book list on medieval illumination

Joyce DiPastena Why did Joyce love this book?

Any time you pick up a book with Illuminated Manuscript anywhere in the title, you know you’re in for a visual feast. If you’re just starting out with this unique medieval art form, this book is an excellent introduction. It’s not too long, so it won’t overwhelm you. This book provided the foundation for my first steps into researching medieval illumination for my historical romantic novel. What is illumination? Why were books illuminated and what types of books were considered worthy of illumination? Who were some of the most famous medieval illuminators? (Perhaps my heroine’s father had studied with one.) What kind of patrons might my heroine have encountered in her father’s workshop?

This book ignited my imagination while helping me discover the best answers for my story. (NOTE: So much of this art has been digitized that most of the B&W photos are now easy to find in color…

By Janet Backhouse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Illuminated Manuscript as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The British Library houses one of the world's great collections of illuminated manuscripts, and Janet Backhouse has drawn on this resource to make a selection of examples that span over 800 years of medieval book production.


Book cover of The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting

Joyce DiPastena Author Of Illuminations of the Heart

From my list on medieval illumination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been in love with the Middle Ages ever since my mother handed me a copy of The Conquering Family, by Thomas B. Costain, when I was in the 7th grade. Eventually, I went on to earn a degree in history from the University of Arizona. In addition to the many colorful characters who impacted the medieval world, I became entranced with the art of the time period, particularly manuscript paintings. Their beauty, reverence, whimsy, even their occasional naughtiness, are, to me, simply enchanting! It was impossible not to share my love of this artform in at least one of my novels. Below are some of the books that helped me on my writing journey.

Joyce's book list on medieval illumination

Joyce DiPastena Why did Joyce love this book?

It’s hard to express the depths of my excitement when I discovered this book. This title allowed me to take research for my novel’s heroine to a whole new level. Should she use parchment or vellum, what was the difference, and when should she use one over the other? (Did you know the most sumptuous parchments were died purple? I didn’t until I read this book!) What was the difference between natural and artificial pigments as understood by medieval artists? And how did they create all those brilliant reds, blues, greens, yellows, purples, and more in their paintings? How did they make paint out of gold or apply gold leaf to their art? All these details and much, much more are laid out here. Everything a medieval artist, in life or in fiction, could possibly need to know! (This book also touches on other forms of medieval painting, like painting…

By Daniel V. Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Medieval painters built up a tremendous range of technical resources for obtaining brilliance and permanence. In this volume, an internationally known authority on medieval paint technology describes these often jealously guarded recipes, lists of materials, and processes. Based upon years of study of medieval manuscripts and enlarged by laboratory analysis of medieval paintings, this book discusses carriers and grounds, binding media, pigments, coloring materials, and metals used in painting.
It describes the surfaces that the medieval artist painted upon, detailing their preparation. It analyzes binding media, discussing relative merits of glair versus gums, oil glazes, and other matters. It tells…


Book cover of The Illuminated Alphabet: An Inspirational Introduction to Creating Decorative Calligraphy

Joyce DiPastena Author Of Illuminations of the Heart

From my list on medieval illumination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been in love with the Middle Ages ever since my mother handed me a copy of The Conquering Family, by Thomas B. Costain, when I was in the 7th grade. Eventually, I went on to earn a degree in history from the University of Arizona. In addition to the many colorful characters who impacted the medieval world, I became entranced with the art of the time period, particularly manuscript paintings. Their beauty, reverence, whimsy, even their occasional naughtiness, are, to me, simply enchanting! It was impossible not to share my love of this artform in at least one of my novels. Below are some of the books that helped me on my writing journey.

Joyce's book list on medieval illumination

Joyce DiPastena Why did Joyce love this book?

Reading about medieval illumination is one thing. But suppose you want to actually paint an illuminated letter for yourself? This book provides a do-it-yourself experience, showing you step-by-step how to reproduce alphabet letters from actual medieval manuscripts. Each project includes tips on painting techniques, a list of the tools and paints you will need, then walks you through the process with detailed photographic examples for each step. Choose from Celtic, Romanesque, Gothic styles, and more. This book is a feast for the eyes, even if you have no artistic ambitions for yourself. Simply leaf through it and imagine the world of the medieval artist as they created these gorgeous initial letters in their manuscripts.

By Timothy Noad, Patricia Seligman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Illuminated Alphabet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Create intricate, decorated letters, and then enhance them with brilliant gliding and rich hues. The Illuminated Alphabet puts a marvelous variety of alphabets and embellishments at your disposal!

Whether you’re looking for simple or the elaborate examples, you will find enormous elegance and beauty in your illuminated lettering. From interlacing spirals of Irish script to the spiraling tendrils of the Gothic style, you’ll re-create beautiful alphabets that have been admired throughout history.

Pore through the history of illuminated letters, at the artists who created them, as well as the patrons who commissioned them. Each alphabet includes diagrams for upper and…


Book cover of Marguerite Makes a Book

Joyce DiPastena Author Of Illuminations of the Heart

From my list on medieval illumination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been in love with the Middle Ages ever since my mother handed me a copy of The Conquering Family, by Thomas B. Costain, when I was in the 7th grade. Eventually, I went on to earn a degree in history from the University of Arizona. In addition to the many colorful characters who impacted the medieval world, I became entranced with the art of the time period, particularly manuscript paintings. Their beauty, reverence, whimsy, even their occasional naughtiness, are, to me, simply enchanting! It was impossible not to share my love of this artform in at least one of my novels. Below are some of the books that helped me on my writing journey.

Joyce's book list on medieval illumination

Joyce DiPastena Why did Joyce love this book?

I added this book simply because I think it’s charming. Although written for children, grownups will love it, too! In 15th century Paris, Marguerite, the young daughter of a manuscript illuminator, has to help her aging father illuminate a Book of Hours for a very important lady or her father will lose both his commission and his reputation. This beautifully illustrated book joins Marguerite through each step of her illuminated book’s creation. You will be transported to medieval Paris and Marguerite’s workshop as you read and gaze at the pictures! This book was inspired by a rare collection of illuminated manuscripts held by the J. Paul Getty Museum.

By Bruce Robertson, Kathryn Hewitt (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marguerite Makes a Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is Paris in the 1400s. A young girl named Marguerite delights in assisting her father, Jacques, in his craft: illuminating manuscripts for the nobility of France. His current commission is a splendid book of hours for his patron, Lady Isabelle, but will he be able to finish it in time for Lady Isabelle's name day? In this richly illustrated tale, Marguerite comes to her father's aid by secretly completing his commission. She journeys all over Paris buying goose feathers for quills, eggs for mixing paints, dried plants and ground minerals for pigments, and gold leaf; then she expertly finishes…


Book cover of The Morville Hours

Jane Struthers Author Of Red Sky at Night: The Book of Lost Countryside Wisdom

From my list on to take you into another world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always tuned into the atmosphere of places. Sometimes this is a joy and sometimes it’s a very different experience, but either way, it’s a fundamental part of me. It spills over into my work, too, because each of the thirty-odd non-fiction books I’ve written has its own strong atmosphere. I was particularly aware of this while writing Red Sky at Night, as I wanted to evoke a sense of the past informing the present, whether that means planting a shrub to keep witches away from your front door or baking what I still think is one of the best fruit cakes ever.

Jane's book list on to take you into another world

Jane Struthers Why did Jane love this book?

This is extraordinary, meditative, and beautiful. For me, it fulfils the most important element of any book – that magical sense of stepping into another world. In this case, it is the world of Katherine Swift as she describes the creation of her garden in Shropshire. Yet it is so much more than that. The book is built around the daily structure of monastic prayer, as in a medieval Book of Hours, and this contemplative mood flows through every page, taking us on a discursive journey involving horticulture, history, and the stories of some of the people who previously lived at Morville. Whenever I read it, I get that all-important sense of connection with nature and the rhythm of life.

By Katherine Swift,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Morville Hours as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a book about time and the garden: all gardens, but also a particular one: that of the Dower House at Morville, where the author arrived in 1988 to make a new garden of her own. Katherine Swift takes the reader on a journey through time, back to the forces which shaped the garden, linking the history of those who lived in the same Shropshire house and tended the same red soil with the stories of those who live and work there today. It is an account which spans thousands of years. But is also the story of one…


Book cover of Stammered Songbook: A Mother's Book of Hours

Nicci Gerrard Author Of The Last Ocean: What Dementia Teaches Us about Love

From my list on explore dementia and the mystery of the human mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a novelist, a journalist, a humanist celebrant, and coauthor with my husband of the best-selling Nicci French thrillers. Witnessing my father’s dementia and his slow-motion dying radically transformed the way I think about what it is to be human. In 2014, I founded John’s Campaign which seeks to make the care of those who are vulnerable and powerless more compassionate, and which is now a national movement in the UK. In 2016, I won the Orwell Prize for Journalism for ‘exposing Britain’s social evils' in the pieces I wrote exploring the nature of dementia.

Nicci's book list on explore dementia and the mystery of the human mind

Nicci Gerrard Why did Nicci love this book?

Erwin Mortier is a poet, and this slim, intense volume is a haunting memorial to his mother in her final months. She died of early-onset dementia, and Mortier struggles to find adequate words for a condition that is profoundly connected to the failure of language and the connection of the self to the world.

By Erwin Mortier, Paul Vincent (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stammered Songbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'My mother, a house that is slowly collapsing, a bridge dancing to a tremor.'

It started when she could no longer remember the word for 'book'. Then her mind, her language and her identity began to slip away.

This is Erwin Mortier's moving, exquisitely observed memoir of his mother's descent into dementia, as a once-flamboyant woman who loved life and pleasure becomes a shuffling, ghostlike figure wandering through the house. Piecing together the fragments of her lost life, and his own childhood, Mortier asks: what do we become when we lose the repertoire of habits and words that make us…


Book cover of Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts: Twelve Journeys into the Medieval World

David Horspool Author Of Richard III: A Ruler and his Reputation

From my list on to show you why medieval isn’t an insult.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been fascinated by medieval history ever since I played hide and seek around Welsh castles as a boy. At university – a medieval invention, of course – I was able to sit at the feet of some of the finest historians of the Middle Ages, experts like Maurice Keen and Patrick Wormald. As a writer, I have tackled medieval subjects like Alfred the Great and Richard III, as well as the history of English rebellion. I have come to realise that the Middle Ages could be cruel and violent, just like our own time, but that they were also a time of extraordinary achievements that form the foundations of the world we live in.

David's book list on to show you why medieval isn’t an insult

David Horspool Why did David love this book?

One of the great thrills of researching medieval history is getting the chance to handle original documents up close, as I have had the good fortune to do a few times. Christophe de Hamel is a palaeographer, a manuscripts expert who has travelled the world to examine some of the most precious handwritten works that still survive. As his title hints, De Hamel treats these artefacts as personalities, and his no-nonsense decipherment of priceless treasures is like listening in on a wise and witty conversation.

By Christopher De Hamel,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An extraordinary and beautifully illustrated exploration of the medieval world through twelve manuscripts, from one of the world's leading experts.

Winner of The Wolfson History Prize and The Duff Cooper Prize.

A San Francisco Chronicle Holiday Book Gift Guide Pick!

Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts is a captivating examination of twelve illuminated manuscripts from the medieval period. Noted authority Christopher de Hamel invites the reader into intimate conversations with these texts to explore what they tell us about nearly a thousand years of medieval history - and about the modern world, too.

In so doing, de Hamel introduces us to kings,…


Book cover of Autumntide of the Middle Ages

Larry Silver Author Of Europe Views the World, 1500-1700

From my list on values in European historical periods.

Why am I passionate about this?

A retired professor, an art historian who taught at Berkeley, Northwestern, and the University of Pennsylvania. Since my main interest is the emergence of Europe from the late Middle Ages and into the Early Modern period around 1500, I naturally gravitate to non-fiction books that engage with the shifting interests and values of that era, and my own books include similar efforts to discuss visual art in relation to religion, literature, politics, and wider contemporary cultural movements. Among my own books I would cite: Rubens, Velázquez, and the King of Spain (with Aneta Georgievska-Shine); Europe Views the World, 1500-1700; and the forthcoming Art and Dis-Illusion in the Long Sixteenth Century.

Larry's book list on values in European historical periods

Larry Silver Why did Larry love this book?

One of the great works of historical recreation, which reads like a novel but is based on a voluminous study of texts, art, and history. Huizinga recreates the violent tenor and pervasive Christian spirituality of late medieval life, as well as a corresponding chivalric secular side, lived out by French and Burgundian nobility.

By Johan Huizinga, Diane Webb (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Autumntide of the Middle Ages as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This new English translation of Huizinga’s Autumntide of the Middle Ages (Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen) celebrates the centenary of a book that still ranks as one of the most perceptive and in¿uential analyses of the late medieval period. Its wide-ranging discussion of fourteenth and ¿fteenth century France and the Low Countries makes it a classic study of life, culture, and thought in medieval society. The new and now unabridged translation of the original text captures the impact of Huizinga’s deep scholarship and powerful language. The translation is based on the Dutch edition of 1941 – the last edition Huizinga worked on.…


Book cover of The World of the Crusades

Alfred Andrea Author Of Seven Myths of the Crusades

From my list on the medieval crusades by world-class historians.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was fated to become a crusade historian. Research for my doctoral dissertation on medieval relations between the Churches of Rome and Constantinople inevitably led me to the Fourth Crusade. I was hooked, and for the past fifty-plus years the crusades have been a passion—I hope a healthy one.  Although I have published two books on the Fourth Crusade, my crusading interests have now gone global, and I am currently studying sixteenth-century crusading in the eastern Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, Ethiopia, and the Americas. Perhaps someday I shall turn to more modern crusades. Sad to say, the crusades are still with us.

Alfred's book list on the medieval crusades by world-class historians

Alfred Andrea Why did Alfred love this book?

This lavishly illustrated book focuses on the crusades’ material objects: sculptures, paintings, manuscripts, architecture, coinage, and even jewelry. As historical evidence, artifacts are as important as documents, and these carefully chosen items provide privileged insights into the largely-shared crusader worldview and sense of mission. They further illuminate the complex relationships that developed between crusaders and the many foreign cultures with which they came into contact.  

By Christopher Tyerman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The World of the Crusades as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A lively reimagining of how the distant medieval world of war functioned, drawing on the objects used and made by crusaders

Throughout the Middle Ages crusading was justified by religious ideology, but the resulting military campaigns were fueled by concrete objectives: land, resources, power, reputation. Crusaders amassed possessions of all sorts, from castles to reliquaries. Campaigns required material funds and equipment, while conquests produced bureaucracies, taxation, economic exploitation, and commercial regulation. Wealth sustained the Crusades while material objects, from weaponry and military technology to carpentry and shipping, conditioned them.

This lavishly illustrated volume considers the material trappings of crusading wars…


Book cover of The Medieval Machine: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages

Richard G. Lipsey Author Of Economic Transformations: General Purpose Technologies and Long-Term Economic Growth

From my list on how technologies have transformed our societies.

Why am I passionate about this?

In spite of many setbacks, living standards have trended upwards over the last 10,000 years. One of my main interests as an economist has been to understand the sources of this trend and its broad effects. The key driving force is new technologies. We are better off than our Victorian ancestors, not because we have more of what they had but because we have new things, such as airplanes and indoor plumbing. However, these new technologies have also brought some unfortunate side effects. We need to understand that dealing with these successfully depends, not on returning to the use of previous technologies, but on developing newer technologies such as wind and solar power.

Richard's book list on how technologies have transformed our societies

Richard G. Lipsey Why did Richard love this book?

When we began our research on our book, we were surprised to read challenges to the conventional view we had been taught that the Middle Ages were a time of largely stagnant Western societies. The source of this new view is in several books, including the one recommended here. Gimpel challenges the traditional view writing instead: “The Middle Ages introduced machinery into Europe on a scale no civilization had previously known.” He goes on to chronicle the ingenuity that architects, engineers, and other technicians devoted to innovations in agriculture, light industry, construction, and mining ̶ innovations that anticipated, and were often credited to, later figures of the Renaissance.

By Jean Gimpel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Medieval Machine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A close examination of the industrial life and institutions of the Middle Ages and of that inventiveness that laid the foundations for our present technologically oriented society


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Middle Ages, illuminated manuscripts, and the Renaissance?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Middle Ages, illuminated manuscripts, and the Renaissance.

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