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Thus one manuscript might be worked on simultaneously by a group of monks, all under the supervision of a chief scribe.Novice monks typically did the mundane tasks of preparing the skins, making the goose quill pens, and mixing pigments for the artist-monks.Viking raids and freezing temperatures turned the making of these Celtic Christian artworks into an arduous, sometimes dangerous activity.

However, producing an illustrated book during the medieval era of the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth centuries was no easy feat.

Nor was there any paper, so all the text was copied onto animal skins - either vellum (derived from the Old French Vélin, for "calfskin") or parchment (from sheepskin).

Lime was applied to the skin to remove its hair, after which it was stretched onto wooden frames to be dried and smoothed, before being cut and folded into sheets.

The more accomplished of them might be permitted to paint basic designs, or to lay gold leaf.

After some years of performing these low-level tasks, he would be assigned the responsibility of designing a page on his own.

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