I detest winter. Not just the cold, but also the dark. I live like a mole until March. But with 24-hour supermarkets and drive through fast-food I survive until the sun returns. Do you have the same aversion? With all the modern conveniences it’s easy to forget the once great effort it took to survive winter. Preserving autumn’s harvest and fully stocking larders for the long nights and short days. What did our medieval forebears do to survive their barren, cold days? One way you can see their wintry concerns and activities are through Breviarys, Books of Hours and Psalters‘ calendar pages. Medieval manuscripts’ calendars served multiple purposes. They kept track of the date. They told you what the relevant zodiac sign was and which days were Church feasts and holidays. And since most were decorated with seasonal ‘labor of the month’ pictures you can see what people did then. Their daily life. My daily life this winter, after Lonely Tower’s coming 12th Night Event, will be to head south for a time. To break the dark, cold monotony and learn something new. What do you do to survive winter? What would your SCA persona do? Related prior Posts: Searching for Easter Week in Illuminated Manuscripts Related External Sites: British Library’s Medieval Manuscripts’ blog posts on calendar pages. My favorite. National Library of Sweden’s detailed discussion on calendars. Googling medieval calendars images. This often gets more than you expect.
A scroll created to appear like a two page spread. Recently a beginning scribe asked me, “What’s the difference between a scroll and a period manuscript?” I thought you might also want to know. When you receive an SCA award you’re given a fancy commemorative document. We call these “scrolls”, even though they’re seldom rolled up. The biggest difference you’ll […]
My first manuscript illumination quiz was so popular, I have another one for you. Like the last one, you match 10 pictures of iconic illuminated manuscripts to their name. These pictures are also Western European manuscripts from various locations and eras. Some served unique purposes. You’ll find the images on the left and their unmatched names on the right. All you have to do is match the name with its picture. Can you match them all? Yes, I’m sneaky. I have not always used the most popular or well-known images. Also, there are more manuscript names than pictures. But all names are matchable. It’s just some manuscripts are known by more than one name. If you are curious, stumped, or in a hurry to find the answer click on the word “link” in the caption below the image. It will take you to a Wikipedia page about the manuscript. The manuscript titles in alphabetical order are: Aberdeen Bestiary, Bedford Hours, Beatus Pierpont, Codex Gigas, Lindisfarne Gospels, Morgan Beatus, Psalter of Oswald, Ramsey Psalter, Roman de la Rose, Utrecht Psalter, Wenceslas Bible, Winchester Bible. Link And the manuscripts are in no particular order. Enjoy. Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Prior Related Post: Quiz: Can You Match These 10 Illuminated Manuscripts With Their Names?
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.
Can you match these 10 pictures of iconic illuminated manuscripts to their name? You don’t have to have an Art History major to match these famous medieval illuminated manuscripts. They are some of the most well-known, especially among SCA scribes. From Kells to Crusades, these works are instantly recognizable. Can you match them all? To the left side are pictures from ten Western European illuminated manuscripts. To this post’s right are their unmatched names. All you have to do is match the proper name to its image. Yes, I’m sneaky. I have not always used the most popular or well-known images. Also, there are more manuscript names than pictures. But all names are matchable because some manuscripts are known by more than one name. If you are curious, stumped, or in a hurry to find the answer click on the word “link” in the caption below the image. It will take you to a Wikipedia page about the manuscript. Have fun. Link The Hours of Catherine of Cleves Link The Book of Kells Link Hours of Gian Galeazzo Visconti Codex Aureus of Lorsch Link Maciejowski Bible Link St Alban’s Psalter The Luttrell Psalter Link Codex Manesse Link Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry Link Crusader Bible Link The Hunting Book of Gaston Phoebus Morgan Bible Link Related Prior Post: My 10 Favorite European Illuminated Manuscript Inspirations Related External Site: Art Miscellaneous Quizzes
While writing my recent post “How to Find the Script Your Persona Might Have Used” I came across an article relevant to Jehanne Bening, my SCA persona. The article described a manuscript production method used in Bruges and Delf. Would this have affected Jehanne’s illumination or life style? Jehanne is from the town of Bruges in the Duchy of Burgundy and works in the Sanders Bening workshop. Sanders, who died in 1519, was the father of the well-known illuminator Simon Bening. And his workshop produced many fine things for the Dukes of Burgundy. Around the 14th-century literacy increased and the new urban classes wanted affordable books. Manuscript production methods changed to accommodate this. The personal Book of Hours developed during that time. It contained fewer standard texts than the formal Psalter with some sections chosen by the buyer. The Book of Hours also differed in use from the Psalter. It was not always read from beginning to end. A section might be selected by the reader as needed or inspired. More whimsically. The Hague, KB, 71 H 56 fol. 1r In some areas, manuscripts became created by modular construction that divided labor efficiently. This benefited book owners, who could pick desired texts for their manuscript and expand or change their book after they bought it if they chose. They could also be made “generically” for an undetermined future buyer. More books could be sold and more money made for the manuscript producer. The modular production worked well when making a Book of Hours because their sections were individually chosen and […]
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
For your viewing pleasure, I give you my 10 most artistically inspiring illuminated manuscripts. Not all are lavish, but all encourage my creativity. I hope they do yours too. Book of Kells created c. 800, is a calligraphy masterwork and pinnacle of Insular illumination. Regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure, its extravagance and decoration complexity combines traditional Christian motifs with ornate swirling patterns. Humans, animals […]