Size Matters

Medieval illuminated manuscripts came in all sizes. There are the giant church tomes, like the Codex Gigas in the National Library of Sweden. It is probably the largestweighing over 165 pounds

Photo by Michal Maňas (User:snek01) (Own work) [CC BY 2.5
 (, via Wikimedia Commons

And the minuscule, palm size personal portable books, like the Stowe MS 956 psalm-book at the British Library.

Manuscript with miniature portrait of King Henry VIII,

I’ve seen both giant and tiny scrolls created based on medieval manuscripts. Commonly Calontir scrolls are around 11″x14″. For economy, I prefer that size or 12″x16″ to suit easily obtainable, frames. 

Elynor of Glastonbury’s small manuscript inspired award scroll creation. 

Designing award scrolls to look like lost pages from a medieval book may include emulating the original size. 
If you are innovative like M. Elynor of Glastonbury, it is possible to create an award suitable to hang on a wall with a tiny page size. 

Her unique layout approach was to have the images and script seem to be on multiple double pages, open as if unassembled. The scroll text was in a different order than would happen in such a situation, where a following page’s words would be on the back unseen by us. M. Elynor’s scroll pages read left to right, jumping page to page, all facing outward.

This layout took considerable planning to allow all the text and images appear toward the viewer, with a faux middle space for the book’s binding. For the recreative appearance, a tiny script and illumination were also necessary.

Elynor’s self-imposed size limit encouraged her unique scroll approach and resulted in an award scroll like no other. Hazzah!


This Duchy scroll was created for Isabeau de Beauxyeux and presented September 17, 2011 at the Coronation of Ostwald II and Kaye II. It’s calligraphy and illumination were done by then HL Elynor of Glastonbury and the text crafted by HG Magdalena vander Meere.
The manuscript style is based on the Rothschild Canticles, at Yale University. 14th C French. HG. Magdalena’s text is based on Christine de Pisan’s works, composed in modern French.
The Individual five bifolia are 118 x 168mm (4.6 x 6.6in) are framed together on a 406 x 508mm (16 x20in) mat. Elynor’s materials included: pergamenata, period pigments, 23k gold, and black ink.
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