Publication Date


Faculty Advisor

Valerie Walters


College of Arts & Sciences




Raman and XRF spectroscopy were used to analyze pigments and inks of five illuminated manuscripts from the University of Portland’s Clark Library Special Collections. The five manuscripts were acquired at different times. Some were collected by members at the university and have been in the Special Collections for years. Others were recently acquired from Marylhurst University after the school’s closure in 2018. To address questions regarding their authenticity and possible origin, this study, which is the first of its kind on these manuscripts, was begun. Pigment analysis found the presence of phthalocyanine green dark, first made in the 1930s, in the first manuscript. Burnt sienna, not known as a pigment until the 18th-century, was also found in this same manuscript. In two sheets, analysis revealed the presence of vermilion, which is a common pigment for the time period that these manuscripts were thought to be from. Due to interrupted access to the manuscripts as a result of the pandemic, more information was unable to be collected, meaning few conclusions could be made about all five manuscripts. The work presented here aims to inform future analysis of these manuscripts, so that the authenticity and origin of these manuscripts can be better understood.


Manuscript dating; Illumination of books and manuscripts--Library resources; Spectroscopic imaging

Publication Information

2021 Founder's Day Presentation.

Copyright for this work is retained by the author.

Document Type

Posters and Presentations