Our project will explore how digital imaging and non-destructive analytical techniques can be used to make Cambridge University Library’s re-discovered fragment of the Medieval French Suite Vulgate of Merlin more accessible.
This Merlin fragment is a bifolium of a late thirteenth/early fourteenth-century manuscript. It was found amongst the Vanneck of Heveningham papers at UL where it is the cover for sixteenth-century records relating to Huntingfield Manor. As a result of being folded over and wrapped around these documents, and the documents then sewn through the bifolium, parts of the text of the fragment are not currently accessible while in places the ink is abraded and difficult to read.
Our project will investigate how to make the Merlin fragment available for study while it remains in situ as the cover for bound archival material. We will trial various methods to capture the fragment (digital photography, 3D scanning combined with photogrammetry) and reveal the text (transmitted light, multispectral imaging, infrared reflectography). By combining the results from these analytical techniques, we aim to create a digital version of the entire bifolium which can then be made available through Cambridge University Digital Library, enabling a full study of the manuscript fragment – both as a survival of the Suite Vulgate of Merlin and as a binding component.