Nicolas Spierinc

Datesactive 1455 - 1499

Nicolas Spierinc was one of the most gifted and audacious of the Flemish scribes and illuminators working in the late 1400s. While creating elegant and extremely legible calligraphy, he often embellished his script with elaborately flourished letters, known as cadelles, elongating the descenders or ascenders of the letters into the margin where they seem to take on a life of their own.

In 1455 Spierinc enrolled as a student of medicine at the University at Louvain, where the registrar described him as a scribe. Whether he completed his training or ever worked as a doctor is not known, but he did continue working as a scribe and illuminator. In the 1460s and 1470s, he made several books for Charles the Bold, frequently collaborating with Lieven van Lathem. Commissions from Charles include a book of decrees explaining the roles and duties of high-ranking court officials and a tiny prayer book. In 1476 Spierinc settled in Ghent, where he owned several homes, a sign of his prosperity.