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Rudy, Kathryn

Rudy, Kathryn

Individual Fellow

How medieval nuns in Delft invented branding and market stratification

How did late medieval nuns in Delft make manuscripts for the lay public and proceed to compete for market share?

Project Description

From 1390-1520 convents of Delft produced manuscripts with distinctive red and blue penwork and paintings. I will provide the first comprehensive analysis of these books, which I have identified and studied for over a decade, and present evidence that they were largely the work of self-trained nuns and female tertiaries. The many extant Delft manuscripts offer an opportunity to address important questions about medieval women’s artistic work. The project explores competition and collaboration between convents; contact between nuns and lay patrons; intersections with professional artists; the relative value of women-produced books; and the role of branding and marketing. My method of analysis employs innovative quantitative methods to the calendars, texts, scripts, and decoration in the books.

Selected Publications

Rubrics, Images and Indulgences in Late Medieval Netherlandish Manuscripts (Leiden: Brill, 2017). 106,759 words; 308 pp., 152 col. ills. This project received a three-year grant from the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO).

Piety in Pieces: How medieval readers customized their manuscripts (Open Book Publishers, 2016). 87,785 words; 392 pp; 286 col. ills. The work was funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship.

Postcards on Parchment: The Social Lives of Medieval Books (Yale University Press, 2015). 156,221 words; 362 pp; 80 color ills.; 140 b/w ills.


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