The Lydgate manuscript paper hastwo distinct watermarks, arbitrarily designated Type 1 and Type 2. (Thewatermarks in the images below have been digitally traced from backlitphotographs and enhanced for clarity.)
The combination of watermark shape, positioning on the sheetand sewing dot pattern can be used to identify the manufacturer of the paper, aswell as the geographic area where it was produced and the approximate date ofmanufacture. There is considerable uncertainty inherent in this identification,however; watermark evidence alone can only provide clues, not precise facts. Theuncertainties of watermark analysis include:
The medieval process of normally required the useof two or more moulds for each batch of paper. The moulds would start out moreor less identical, but would develop variations in the position of their variouselements over time. The watermarks on each mould would initially be as similaras the artisan could make them, but no two shapes formed from wire could beexactly the same, so even when new the watermarks on each mold would be somewhatdifferent. This difference can be used to determine the minimum number of mouldsthat were used to produce a given batch of paper; in the case of the Lydgatemanuscript that minimum number is two.
The symbol used for the Lydgate paper watermarks is a fairlycommon one, a shield or cup shape containing three connected fleur-de-lissymbols, with a series of floral shapes above and a stylized Gothic letter"T" below. The most obvious differences between Type 1 and Type 2 arefound in the lower fleur-de-lis and in the letter "T"; in the Type 1watermark the vertical leaf of the fleur-de-lis points somewhat to the rightwhile in Type two it points somewhat to the left; letter "T" isthicker in Type 2; and the flourishes on the end of the "T" crossstroke differ markedly between Type 1 and Type 2.