Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Art and History of Calligraphy, Book Review

Do you have Patricia Lovett's book Calligraphy and Illumination...?  often refer to it. 

When I learned she published another book I went online cyber-Monday and bought myself a Christmas present. Her recent book The Art and History of Calligraphy, published last year by the British Library.

Since the author is a British professional calligrapher and illuminator you won't be surprised the book emphasized historic manuscripts' lettering. 

Her first chapter shows the high-value of calligraphy shown in her book. There's a chapter on historic manuscript production including quills, vellum brushes, pigments, and gold. And a section on how the letters are made.  

The last, most beautiful section traces writing through the ages. It features 50ish detailed pictures of lettering and manuscripts from the British Library's outstanding collection. 

You'll like the pictures of enlarged few lines showing the letters' tiny elements. There are many photos without illumination, one of writing in shell gold ink on black dyed vellum. 

The book's historic manuscripts include information or pictures on
  • the Bosworth Psalter, the earliest surviving manuscript of the 'New Hymnal' from England
  • the Lacock Cartulary with its wonderfully flourished letters
  • a two-page spread picturing one page of the Luttrell Psalter. 
Lovett's book doesn't stop with the Italian Renaissance but continues modernly including
  • recent renaissance-style calligraphic art by William Morris
  • Shiela Waters "Roundel of the Seasons"
  • a present-day work by Stephen Raw of Carol Ann Duffy's poem "Light By Sunlights Glance"

Lovett's book clearly describes and photographs the artistic skill creating medieval manuscripts. 

I am very pleased with my cyber-Monday purchase. If you're interested, be aware it is not an instruction book. If you want that you'll want her Calligraphy and Illumination... This one is a beautifully photographed and written book about calligraphy art and materials.

Related Prior Post:  
Beginning Illumination, Book Review
8 Scribal Books For Cyber-Monday Ordering

  • ISBN-10: 0712356681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712356688

Here is a sneaky peak inside the book.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Golden Day: Shopping At Calontir's Kris Kinder Market

Shoppers' Paradise  
It's Kris Kinder time again. That wonderful Calontir shopping event put on by the Barony of Forgotten Sea. While it's always jam-packed with merchants and their things for you to buy, there are also meetings for you to attend. 

This year Their Majesties Damien and Issabell also packed it with Laurel ceremonies. Four of them.

Processing in to court.

Peerage ceremonies, whether for Laurels, Pelican's, Knights or others are colorful, personalized ceremonies. They can be lengthy. So kindly Their Majesties took pity on us. They held a morning court and an evening court, with two Laurel ceremonies in each, along with other things they chose to include.

My friend HL Giraude Benet was welcomed into the Order of the Laurel in the morning court. I took many photos and have a few for you here.

Honorable Lady Giraude Benet
 called into court and seated before Their Majesties.

Giraude listening to those coaching her
on what it means to be a Laurel.

Giraude outfitted with Laurel's accouterment.

Giraude receiving a Laurel wreath.

M. Alan of Darkdale speaking for Giraude.

Mistress Giraude swearing fealty to Their Majesties' Calontir.

The scroll displayed and its words read into court.

Then followed a few details. The first was the presentation of YAFA tokens to Kainen Brynjolfss by Lady Adelaide Sarsfield, the Kingdom of Calontir's Minister of Youth.

Kainen Brynjolfss in court to receive 
 YAFA tokens from Lady Adelaide.

Ayisha seated in front of TRM Damien and Issabell.

Then Lady Ayisha bint Asad was called into court for her extensive work as Their Majesties' Royal Scribe. For her over-and-above efforts, they made her a Court Baroness.

L. Ayish receiving a coronet from Their Majesties.

The second Laurel presented that morning was to HL Kajsa Nikulasdottir. You might know her as one of Calontir's best costumers.

Honorable Lady Kajsa Nikulasdottir
 called into court and seated before Their Majesties.

Kajsa listening to the speaker.

Kajsa being clothed as befitting a Laurel.

Kjasa officially made a member
 of the Order of the Laurel.

A few in the audience, including Kainan.

With morning court over you can go on to other fun things such as ...


I  rushed out of court to buy two things from Painted Sky PotteryI was concerned all their wonderful works for presents would be gone already. I bought a mug you might receive as a prize at Lonely Tower's coming 12th Night. The other I saved for a Laurel present for M. Giraude. 

But there's so much more you could do during the day.

Taking a selfie.

Talking with people  wanting to visit 
with Giraude during her vigil.

There's sharing stories, socializing, and other happenings. A party within a party. Similar activities go on outside each vigil room while you wait your turn to visit with the new peer. 

Same hall, other direction.

The vigil food and through the window
 you can see the tent for Lillian Bowyer's vigil.

In Calontir along with the court ceremony, peer candidates spend time contemplating the new direction their life will take. To do that they "sit vigil". A time you visit with them sharing insight, stories or anything that you care to share. Each conversation is in private so each candidate has a separate vigil chamber.

You could be outside waiting to speak
with Honorable Lady Lillian Bowyer.

There are more Calontiri you can talk with throughout the day than those near a vigil. If you aren't someone's friend you can become one.

You can talk with even more friends.

You could paint predesigned awards for the coming reign.

Besides vigils and shopping, you can visit with those who sell what they make.

M. Thora and her handembroidered bags.

M. Thora Sigurdsdottir is Calontir's R.U.S.H. Chancellor. But she has an SCA tailoring and hand sewing business. Thora's Threads

M. Rhodri with his books.

M. Rhodri ap Hywel is a fantasy fiction writer writing under the name Rob Howell. You can find him online through his blog too.

M. Conna and her merry recorder band.

You might buy lunch and listen to M. Conna ingen Ui Chearbhaill's musicians' jam with their recorders while you eat. That big thing she's holding is a bass recorder.

All too soon there's evening courtWith two center aisles in the auditorium, I switched to sit on the hall's other side. You never know which way people will process in. Unfortunately, where I sat this time kept me from snapping as many quality pictures for you as I wanted. 

Everyone in place for evening court.

First Forgotten Sea's Baron Soren atte' Raven and Baroness Rowan Del Wich held their short court. They presented the Baronial Colors to Solveig Melrakki and Ivarr fotviss. They also gave Ivarr the Barony's Order of Gallantry.

Ivarr and Solveig in court with Baroness Rowan.

Next HL Tamar bat Avraham was welcomed into court through Isis temple pillars. She was challenged and lauded at each ceremonial step.

Tamar was challenged and approved.

M. Conna vouching for Tamar.

Several AoA level awards were presented. And you saw a few Grant awards too. Eight first time attendees also received mugs. 

A large number of people came forward and were recognized for forming the new Shire of Moonstone. Lord Oswyn of Moonstone, its Senechal, received a Torse for accomplishing the required oxcart load of paperwork to form the shire.

In the pink dress, you see Teresa Rose fillia Quiteria
receiving a Queen's Chalice award.

You heard other announcements too, such as 654 people attended this huge one-day event. But my favorite was learning HL Augustin le Blinde and his wife Lady Aleit de la Thomme will become the Barony of the Lonely Tower's next Baronage at our coming 12th Night event. Hazzah!

I might be wrong, but I think this is Sir Snorri Bjornsson
belatedly becoming a member of the 

Order of the Silver Hammer.

And the fourth peerage ceremony for the day was HL Lillian Bowyer being welcomed into the Order of the Laurel. Here are the few pictures I took of her elevation.

Lillian kneeling before Their Majesties,
still dressed in the white vigil tabard

Lillian receiving a present from her peer.

Lillian kneeling again, wearing a Renaissance-style coat.

And the grand finale...  Their Graces Hirsch and Magdalena called into court. 

Hirsch and Magda kneel before Their Majesties.

Listening to over 30 speakers tell
"what they learned" from Hirsch and Magda.


Their Majesties Damien and Issabell presented them with marks of favor for their abundant teaching and caring of the many people in Calontir. Hirsch Ross Eichmann and Magdalena van der Meere were each presented an Augmentation of Arms.  Now you see their new banners have a cross of Calatrava enhancing their heraldic arms.

M. Rhianwen waiting to bring in a new banner.
Receiving their new banners.

I missed Kris Kinder last year so I am jolly glad and thankful I could attend this year. I'm grateful I arrived safe and early enough to get Giraude's scroll here before the morning court so Their Majesties could calmly sign it. 

I enjoyed the event as I always do. And hope you enjoy the photos too. 

External Related Web Page:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Size Matters: Giraude Benet's Laurel Scroll

Project Title:
Giraude Benet's Laurel Scroll
Project Date:
December 9, 2017
Text by:
Malachi von Uri
Inspiration for Text:

Translation by:

Jehanne Bening
Jehanne Bening
16 x 20 inches 
Pergamenata heavyweight natural 
Notable Techniques:
Gilding and interlinear lining.
Early/Proto- Gothic
Mitchell 1 mm dip nib and Hunt 512 pointed dip nib
Zig Cartoonist Sumi Ink and dilute Artist Loft (gouache for filigree).
Inspiring Manuscripts:

Walters Ms. W.82, Psalter-Hours created ca. 1315-25 in the region of Ghent, slightly later than M. Giraude's persona, but pretty.

Other notes:
Largest scroll I've done, first time I used Tresser's gilding size adhesive, multiple size letters, fine line dip nib and interlinear lining. Gold was a pain, started with Instacoll and removed it before trying Tresser's, which was better. Natural perg doesn't show in photo.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Hybrid Scroll Layout

My large grid and
the computer text example
If you have a large peerage scroll to do what do you use for a grid that's larger than printer paper? What about if you have two scrolls to do?

You could make your own oversized grid. You could use 11x17" Bristol board and make your own. That's what I did.

The good news is the same grid works for both scrolls. Their "owners" have similar personas. French, 13-14th centuries. Their manuscript styles will be similar and could use one grid for both. 

To begin I printed out the text on my computer in two columns. That was my plan for the first scroll's layout. I played with the font size until it approximated the scroll's letter height. Having similar spaced writing to follow reduces dropped words and is easier to follow than long typed sentences. 

I experimented with my pen nib, making horizontal ladders to find the size that worked best. Then on the Bristol board, I measured out the horizontal spaces with a ruler and pencil. The interlinear space would be twice that of the letters. Placing several typing-paper sheets over the grid I taped them together to make the proper scroll size and lettered a draft. 

I wasn't happy with the arrangement. Compared to 13th or 14th-century French manuscripts there was too much space between the rows of letters. 

So I lined another Bristol board page. This one has the same size letter base as the prior grid, but the interlinear space is shorter, only 1 1/2 times the letter's base. I'll need to be careful or the letter's ascenders and descenders may collide in the space between lines. 

These proportions seemed to work well together. Lettering another practice page, I found two text lines that ran over the column's planned width. I reduced the column spacing on my computer and printed it out again. 

Calligraphed pergamenata over
 my handmade grid and light pad.

Using my second lined grid and the text printout, I figured how many lines the two columns of text would take. I measured the allowed text area, including space for a decorated versal. This area "subtracted"  visually from the overall scroll's size gave me the amount of space I had for illumination. 

Were the large grids worth the effort?

While it took some time to measure and ink the two large grids, I now have two new tools to use for future scrolls with a similarly sized script. They'll be good for working up the spacing and practicing calligraphy. They'll also save time if I have to redo a whole page because I wrote a word or several incorrectly.

Related Prior Post:  
How To Draw Calligraphy Guidelines With A Pencil And Ruler