A kind of miniature painting, anciently much practised for illustrating and adorning books, but now, comparatively to the other modes of illustration, but little practised, being chiefly confined to very expensive publications, of which a very few copies are intended to be taken, or to the adornment of manuscripts. Formerly, besides the writers of books, there were artists whose profession was to ornament and paint manuscripts, who were called illuminators. The writers of books first finished their part, and the illuminators embellished them with ornamented letters and paintings. In old manuscripts blanks are frequently found, which were left for the illuminators, who never filled them up. Some of the ancient manuscripts are gilt and burnished in a style superior to later times, and the colours are so excellent, as to indicate the exercise of great skill in preparing them.