Unfortunately, medieval manuscripts that have survived to the present represent a minority of the written and illuminated heritage of the Middle Ages. Many were lost in the intervening centuries, destroyed in fires or war, but many were also lost in the course of the Middle Ages when their paints were scraped off and the expensive parchment recycled for a new work.
Some of these works are truly lost or exist only in fragments – like the Turin-Milan Hours or the Leaves from a Psalter by William de Brailles – while others have been preserved in a copy or later edition. Works like the splendid Petites Prières of Renée de France, fell victim to theft in recent years, but others have reemerged during the last century that represent incredible historical finds and have resulted in the rediscovery of some truly masterful works of medieval literature and art. Lost and rediscovered manuscripts like the Codex Calixtinus, with their mysterious and turbulent ownership histories, are among the most fascinating specimens of a bygone age.