Illuminated manuscripts have the tiniest strokes details. They’re so intricate I don’t see how they were made without a visual aid. Unless….they were created by someone who could naturally see with precision. Even in the ancient world magnification was technically possible. Crystal or glass lenses were known. But no deliberately created lenses have been found from then. And Pliny didn’t […]
I’ve been searching all over the web for a metal pen picture I know is out there. It seems to have gone the way of some other historic metal pen pictures. If you’re like me you’re another scribe wanting to know metal pens and nibs are pre-17th Century. While metal pens and nibs have roots in ancient Egypt where they were made […]
Mary And Her Baby in The Book of Kells ICYMI. New information has come to light on the Book of Kells. Specifically, it was created by more than one person and where they lived. Even a bit on how old the “new” scribe was. This is interesting to SCA scribes who strive to create in a medieval manner. It shows that manuscripts were created by more than one scribe early in history. This one possibly completed 50 years after it was started in a different location. Anyway, you can learn about it in Britian’s The Independent‘s article about the Book of Kells new research.
I’ve worked on SCA scrolls bent over my art table with my back or hands aching. And that is one page, not a quire or a book. My efforts are minimal compared to the manuscripts I emulate. Still, I wouldn’t want my work stolen or harmed. Medieval scribes, to protect their laboriously created books, penned powerful curses to prevent theft, damage or loss. These writings appear in Latin and vernacular languages, some in cultures other than Western European.Using the vilest threats imaginable scribes heaped excommunication or painful death on possible perpetrators. For stealing a book you could lose your hands or eyes, then spend eternity in the “fires of hell and brimstone.” Marc Drogin compiled the largest book curses collection, publishing them in his 1983 book Anathema! Medieval Scribes and the History of Book Curses. His collection included curses from ancient Greece, the Babylon library, and extended to the Renaissance. A pricey book I’d love to receive as a gift. Since I don’t own it I searched for them online. I discovered a book curse could be emphatic and short. Hanging will do for him who steals you. It could pile excommunication’s anathema upon the perpetrator. May the sword of anathema slay If anyone steals this book away. British Library, Harley MS 2798, f. 235v What does a book curse do? It is similar to the FBI popup warning on your DVD movie, included by the media’s maker to frighten the foolish. It works if you believe the words cause realistic results. […]
When I was looking at the Scribes of Meridies Resources and Exemplars web page I clicked on their link to a Scribal Pattern Book at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. This is a fascinating complete scribal lettering manual on parchment by Gregorius Bock. It’s Beinecke MS 439 from 1510-1517. And the great thing is I can access this manual online from my couch. This image of the manual is from the Public Domain Review This historic scribal book has two parts. The first has multiple hand-lettered script style pages, many preceded by text lettered in that style. Most of these sections display large decorative initials with white floral designs on black grounds. But also the initial on page 1r has a swirling leafy border with red and green paint. And folio 4r includes heraldic arms. The second section includes alphabetically ordered large decorative initials. This 500-year-old imposing manual has few a stained and rubbed pages, but the great thing for me is I can easily read and study its pages myself at home. Plus! There’s a PDF of it. There’s more. The bottom of the Beinecke Digital Collections’ web page includes clickable links and images to similar manuscripts, just like an online shopping company. You can also seek their manuscripts by its search page. It’s an easily accessed notable 15th-century hand lettered complete scribal manual. Nothing’s sweeter. Related Prior Posts: Why Is The Ramsey Psalter Important To Modern Calligraphers? Wow! Scribal Research Has Changed
Re-reading a modern calligraphy book, I noticed a comment about the Ramsey Psalter. I thought it was a strange place for the comment and possibly an error. So I went looking. The Ramsey Psalter is now in the British Library. It is an Anglo-Saxon illuminated book including the Book of Psalms and other devotional material. It‘s script is the elegant English Carolingian or Caroline minuscule used between 800 and 1200 A.D. […]
Years ago I entered my first competition with an illumination. In my documentation, I wrote about using tracing paper to transfer the image. One judge commented on my lack. I still remember how down it made me feel. The way I handled that, as I often did, was to go to the library and research. In June 1997 I wrote […]
My rocks for paint collection. Every year this question pops up in the scribes guild, “Is gouache period?” I use it because it is more convenient than making paint from rocks and plants. I get favorable results, too. But, how Medieval is it? I have a tangled answer. Unfortunately, it is a lengthy story. To begin, the all-knowing Wikipedia reports […]