Thumbnails with FAT borders = Finished piece



Illumination, the eighth
Before deciding which period original to start from this time I looked through loads and loads of manuscript pages. I've probably wasted more time on Library sites throughout the world than I should, but who can resist? The original (~660 kB) I found for this, my eight scroll, suitable for an AoA blank, was one from 1390. Taken from the British Library the Yates Thompson 24 record, folio 2 to be exact. It's quite pretty I think, with some gilding - which I can use my newly purchased gilding supplies on! whee! (By the way, I used, and can recommend, Scribblers - a UK-based business that sells illumination supplies).

As usual, the first step is sketching the basic building-blocks out in pencil in preparation for the calligraphy.

Well, that went well. Not at all. I made some mistakes in the calligraphy and am now thinking I need to start this one over altogether.

My eighth scroll, the original I am copying My eighth scroll, The page lined and the border begun

.. Take two
Taking my own advice, and that of my Signet clerk, I did start over. This time not putting so much effort in sketching out the border before my calligraphy was done. I know I should have done this the first time, and I know I shouldn't have done the calligraphy when I was feeling rushed. But I thought I could bully myself through it. This second attempt looks much better for taking the time to do the writing when I was nice and relaxed. The only thing that bothers me a little are the umlauts in the Swedish letters ä and ö. I'm not entirely happy with them, must experiment or ask how others do. Maybe just leave them out altogether, but that would end up making the text wierd and more difficult for the herald to read at court.

The only layout done here, if you can see the faint pencil lines, is blocking out the different parts of the scroll. I removed the fancy first initial as it is in the original - I thought it ate up too much space on the finished piece. Instead of the miniature I will do a historiated initial L - and I think the page will be plenty fine enough even without both minature and initial. I also dispensed with half the guide-lines for my writing. Part laziness, part efficiency and partly because I found that my text becomes much more elongated, rather than compressed when I use two lines instead of four to write within. You can see here the next step as well.

Calligraphy done, minus name of recipient and date, step three is sketching the borders to be filled in with ink. It was a fairly painless procedure, the same sort of meditative excersise as always. Quite enjoyable. It was then time to decide where to put the gold . As well as actually lay the gold down, and fill in the first bit of detailing: the arms of Nordmark and it does look sort of ok. Shiny. Next step is adding the colours. This time attempting to start with the lighter shades and then filling in the darker shades.

The borders I painted in first in blue and red, the paler colours first of course. Then I filled in the darker shade of the weaving vines all around. The faces and this highlighting of darker shades was finished at Visby medieval week. I had an entire morning while the heavy fighters were off to war to sit quietly in the shade and paint in faces, dragons and more details in the border of this scroll. After taking it home I was given a name of a deserving lord from Viterheim, Tor, who was in need of an Award of Arms scroll and I could fill in the rest of the calligraphy, name and date, and smarten up the edges a little with black. Then I added my new mark in the lower right corner and signed the back along with a little documentation information. I must admit I sort of botched my mark, I tried to make it with the loaded up quill, but was unable so I resorted to my loading brush of ink which is not exactly tiny - the mark is a little too dark and blobby, but it is relatively inconspicuous in any case and I am fairly pleased with this work. If I had more time I think I probably would have added a background to the initial and the vines there - but it was an aspect I did not think about until I was on the way to drop it off - and I hate to disappoint a recipient with the notification of 'your scroll will come later' so I judged it done. It looks a bit open and airy, but not like it is missing too much - I hope.

My eighth scroll, The page lined and border areas outlined My eighth scroll, Some sketching of borders and text filled in My eighth scroll, Borders sketched fully My eighth scroll, The borders filled in with ink My eighth scroll, Pink bits is the gold adhesive My eighth scroll, Gold laid, and illumination started My eighth scroll, Gold work done, colouring started My eighth scroll, Finished My eighth scroll, A look at the initial My eighth scroll, A closer look at the dragons My eighth scroll, A closer look at the Nordmark shield above the initial My eighth scroll, A closer look at the Nordmark shield at lower right My eighth scroll, A closer look at the lower left corner

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