The first words of the Magnificat were built up in gold washed with red-lac for a background to the Virgin’s hardly yet fired halo. She was shown, hands joined in wonder, at a lattice of infinitely intricate arabesque, round the edges of which sprays of orange-bloom seemed to load the blue hot air that carried back over the minute parched landscape in the middle distance.
This is from “The Eye of Allah” in Debits and Credits.
John of Burgos, a wandering friar and skilled illustrator, is working on an illuminated manuscript. Later in the tale he brings an early microscope back from Muslim Spain, which enables him to see the myriad bacteria in a drop of water. To him this is a chance to see not only new images, but new worlds. But to the Abbott it is untimely dangerous knowledge. He smashes the instrument.