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“Song of the Centuries”

In spring of 2018, FCF provided funds to facilitate the preservation and exhibition of the Stephenson County Historical Museum’s Charissa Taylor Bass’ book of Illuminated Manuscripts.

Charissa Taylor Bass lived most of her life in the mansion that is now home to the Stephenson County Historical Museum. She was a trained artist, and became interested in the ancient art of illuminating manuscripts (adding decoration to text). Around 1900, she embarked on a project that would take her 29 years to complete. The finished project, a book entitled “The Songs of the Centuries” is a masterpiece that rivals medieval works of art held in world-famous museums. The book is leather-bound and encrusted with semi-precious jewels. It contains 75 large, hand-drawn illuminations, 70 poems that were written throughout 5 centuries, and an 11 page description.

The project included a custom built acrylic vitrine (case) for display. The book is now professionally photographed and digitized. Museum visitors can see the original book housed in its new case, and can see all the pages of the book on a digital frame mounted above it.

FCF is a proud supporter of this project!