Blank Borders Then And Now

Blank borders – the illumination only scroll part – are used when Their Majesties give a spontaneous award. But did you know there’s a historical precedent for them?  History You can find illuminated manuscripts with completed borders without writing later in the SCA period. They served a similar purpose to our SCA blank border scrolls. They were waiting for a scribe to fill in the words. The reason you find more blank borders later in period is that booksellers then parted out section “gatherings” or page pairs by the tasks needed. While it was still better to do the calligraphy before the design it wasn’t required. If the text didn’t fit within the available space it flowed onto a page with limited illumination. You’ll also find pages having a large amount of blank space after the text for the same reason. Period blank borders allowed manuscripts to be sold by illuminated page quantity and quality. More prosperous buyers – or those wanting to appear so – could buy more lavish books. And the book dealers could make more money. It was a win-win. Every stage in an illuminated book’s creation still required intensive labor. And sometimes multiple collaborating workshops. Parchment made from dried animal hides cut to size, inks mixed, quills prepared, designs planned, pages ruled. But no longer were illumination and calligraphy done in a specific order. Additional 21412, f. 3  Foliate border This system originally developed in Paris for university textbook production. It spread […]

Read More →

Happy April Fools Easter

April Fools’ Day is a legend according to Snopes. It began in the 1500s when the Julian calendar changed to the Gregorian. Those who forgot the change and celebrated New Year’s Day as usual, then on April 1st, were teased as “April fools.” That’s a little like being picked on when you forget the time change after we monkey with […]

Read More →

History Rewritten On The Book Of Kells

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.

Read More →

Is Tracing Period?

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 […]

Read More →

Is Gouache Period?

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 […]

Read More →