The theme of folk music played a major role in the work of Josef Mánes, especially in the 1850s and early 1860s. Besides his cycle Musica (after 1855) Mánes simultaneously worked on draft illustrations of songs. Their selection seemed to be motivated by the collection National Folk Songs in Bohemia by K. J. Erben. Scenes are either painted in separate fields, set in a right-angled band, like in Mánes' illustrations of Manuscripts on which he worked simultaneously, or only surround the musical score. Mediaeval illuminated manuscripts served as an inspiration for Mánes’ illustrations with initials surrounded by small scenes closely interconnecting image and text. Mánes’ song illustrations were not realized, but survived mostly in the form of several drawings, such as sketches and studies, drafts and their variants.