Colorful and creative line fillers offered medieval bookmakers an efficient way of enlivening their pages. The artist of this deluxe psalter clearly drew inspiration from the uneven spaces left behind by the lines of text. In page after page, his marginalia fill these gaps—sometimes naturally, as with the elephant, other times comically, as with the twisted and contorted figure below, who seemingly struggles to fit within his allotted space.
Text page from the Windmill Psalter, England, possibly London, ca. 1280–1300. MS M.102, fol. 162r. Purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan, 1902.