A place for Drachenwald's scribes to hang out, learn, discuss and critique each others work.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Making of Baron Marcus' Stormarn Court Barony and Mistress Bridget's Sigilum Coronae

Hello fellow scribes,

For Double Wars XXVII I had the honor and worry to do two scrolls for two people very dear to my heart! Mistress Bridget's Sigilum Coronae and Baron Marucs Court Barony.

It was quite challenging to do both of them for different reasons. you can read and see more of the making of on my blog http://kunst-stueckchen-kalligrafie.blogspot.de/.

Please feel free to chritique either here or on my blog!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A new year

I would like to remind all scribes that as of May1st we are welcoming in a new Anno Societatis year. It is now AS 49 or XLIX.

Happy New AS Year!

Monday, April 28, 2014


Because it's always good to be reminded of just how much whitework improves a piece:

pre post

You can read more about this scroll here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Books for free from the Getty

Getty Publications Virtual Library

Free digital backlist titles from the Getty Publications Archives


Lots of titles can be downloaded as pdf files for free. Have fun!

Margaret de Mey's Pelican scroll.

Margaret de Mey is one of Drachenwald's treasures. This past weekend she was elevated to the Order of the pelican. this was the scroll. If you wish to see a WHOLE lot more pictures and read up about the making of then hop on over to my other blog and check it out but be warned it's super image intensive.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Early medieval faux marble

Spending some time browsing the British Library catalogue, I came across this 11th c work, that I hadn't seen before.

What caught my eye this time was the colour of the columns in the canon tables (pages I usually skip over). It's the attempt to show the beautiful colours of marble that was so nifty. Look at the glorious purples, periwinkles, reds, greens!

This book isn't that large - about 7x9", close to the size of a trade paperback now. But just a joy.

Egerton 608: Four gospels
Possibly painted in what is now Luxemburg

f 8 - large version

Canon table

f 9v - large version

Canon table

f 15 - large version


Tuesday, March 04, 2014

On the subject of assignments.


So it has come to my attention that there has been some unhappiness about the lack of work being assigned. This is due purely to the small amount of awards being given out and not anything else. Since Coronation there have been a total of 20 assignments done by a total of 16 scribes. Some scribes including myself have had multiple scrolls to do because of time crunches or because one scribe did the illumination and one scribe did the calligraphy.

The main reason for the small number of awards is the lack of recommendations being received by the Crown and that fact that we now have 2 principalities that also award AoAs for their own people by their own royals so that on a Kingdom level there are fewer entry level awards being assigned.

If people have issues with the Signet office (me) or questions about how things are being run then please email and ask because it is easier to address issues or explain the situation if I actually know there are problems.

I try really hard to spread the work around so that ALL active scribes get a chance to show off their work and sometimes that means that people might have to wait their turn again. Currently on the roster I have close to 60 or so active ( in varying degrees) scribes so as you can imagine sometimes that means not everyone gets to do work all the time. Also if I get an award request from the King and Queen and it comes with a suggested scribe then, unless there are other circumstances, that scribe will be asked first if they wish to do the scroll, whenever it is possible.

I would also encourage people to take this opportunity of quiet time to finish their backlog assignments as there are many still open-assigned scrolls on the current OP and it would be nice to see them get cleared up and the recipients receive their scroll. If you are unsure if you have a backlog assigned to you then encourage everyone to go and look at the online OP as now all assigned backlogged scrolls will have the scribe's name publicly listed.


So as soon as more work becomes available I will let you know and if you know people who you think are deserving of an award then please send the King and Queen a recommendation through the proper channels.


Mistress Bridget Greywolf OL

Monday, March 03, 2014

Materials sharing at Oxford Scriptor3um

With the Oxford Scriptor3um coming soon, I'm re-issuing my invitation to swap materials from last year. I have more of these items than I can use in a lifetime of gilding, mixing and gesso-ing.

If you're attending, save yourself expense and storage and get only the quantity of esoteric materials you really need!

Sadly this does require attendance in person - Royal Mail frowns on shipping even small containers of white powders.

Also: if you want any pergamenata to practice with or use for scrolls, please contact me with a postal address. I have lots, and can ship scroll-sized pieces easily.

Please get in touch via the blog or contact me at signet@insulaedraconis.org.

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Story of an AoA

We often show and tell about our personal masterpieces, like Peerage scrolls, but this time I’d like to tell you story about one little and simple AoA scroll, because… yes story itself behind the said scroll.
The story starts last summer at Cudgel war, where a fine young maiden named Anneke won an archery competition, or one part of it and received a small scroll for it. It is just a simple rectangle divided in three parts, one of them with the text, one with the initial and one of them is empty. Anneke asked me at St Dies Anna if I could paint a picture of something archery-related to the empty square (as I had made the scroll) and I said yes of course, just give it to me at some event.

Forward to January about a month ago. Anneke is besides a good archer one of those people who does unwanted and often unnoticed duties at events, like kitchen cleaning, helps where needed without fussing about it and in general has really become one of Aarnimetsians and Scadians in those about three years she has been a member of the society. So when someone asked if they would make a recommendation of Award of Arms for her, could they propose me as a scribe I very gladly agreed. So when I got to know she would indeed get the AoA, I started the normal pondering of the scroll and thought it would be nice to have something about archery in its illumination.

Then I almost got a heart attack! Anneke contacted me and said she had found nice picture of Medieval lady with a bow and an arrow. I thought who the h*** had told her she would get an AoA! And I almost asked it from her, but fortunately I then remembered the older scroll and my by then half forgotten promise and realized she was talking about it. So I asked about the picture, said thanks – and used it as an inspiration for her AoA scroll.

It was so fun to be a lady-in-waiting of our Baron and Baroness at the court of Midwinter Feast last weekend and see quite closely when King and Queen gave her the scroll and she realized what I had done! Talk about fighters, being a scribe can also be quite exiting sometimes.

Monday, February 10, 2014

sealing the deal

One of the cool things about scrolls is sometimes getting to add seals to them. As signet Clerk I get to use one of the Kingdom seals for this purpose.Here are two examples of scrolls which were designed to have a seal attached. The first one if a Court Barony for Gottfried Killianus the scroll is done by Lady Arianhrod.

The second piece is work by Mistress Genevieve for Marcus von Stormarn and it is a Grant of Arms.

The seals were done in steps. First I make a beeswax cup using an old glass jar lid as a mould. Once the wax has hardened and is removed from the mould it is a nice smooth disc. I then use a potter's tool to carve away the wax from the center out to form a cup. The next step is to cut away the wax to make a small channel for the strip or the small weave that will hold the seal to the scroll.  Once this is done I can then melt more bees wax, add a tiny amount of dry red pigment to the mix. I then pour this into the cup and wait until the wax forms a skin, once it is semi hardened I then use the seal and apply a light pressure as too much will make wax squirt out and / or break the whole thing. Then I let everything dry and harden in a cool place away from the sunlight.

Friday, January 10, 2014

a girly scroll

One of the things I really enjoy about doing scrolls is when one gets to actually discuss with the person who will receive it what they want. In discussion with Countess soon to be Duchess Siobhan what she wanted she sent me this image:

King's 322 f.1

This is 15th C Italian, love sonnets with some fun bits and pieces. She told me that she felt the rain on the heart symbolized, for her, the love of the populace she always felt. We had discussed at great length about her Duchy scroll and I knew that she wanted something very colourful with bling, in her words, something girly.So here are some images of the finished scroll with some closeups of the gold and the fun stuff.

The gilding is done with a ground made from Gum Arabic, sugar and distilled water. This recipe never fails me and I get the best shine from it. I also lay the paper on an old mouse pad when I burnish it seems to make it easier.

She was very happy which was great! I didn't think I would enjoy doing this piece because it's not something I'd ever pick for myself but it was what she wanted. In the end it was a fun piece to use and work from.
It's done on pergamenata, with gouache and water-colours, oak-gall ink, 23kt double ducat gold and it took around two seasons of a tv show which is what I tend to have on in the background when I work.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Kingdom artisan writ for 12th night

I've posted a description and photos of the writ I did for HE Aryanhwy as kingdom artisan to my LJ. The photos are hers, and make this little piece look better than I remember it.

Robert did the impressions of the seals, and I made the seal bag.

While I can always do some individual steps better, I'm pretty pleased with the overall effect.

Monday, January 06, 2014

gild ALL the things!

When I was given a scroll assignment with two month's lead time, I knew immediately that I wanted to push the boat out, to do something that stretched my limits in terms of composition, decoration, calligraphy, and gilding. The scroll was for Lady Efridis who has served as Sven and Siobhan's personal herald for two reigns -- doing an excellent job -- and I wanted it to be something of a personal thank you too, one herald to another.

I ended up using every bit of my two months, completing it New Year's Day. You can read about the step-by-step making of the scroll elsewhere, but here I'll settle for lots and lots of pictures. :)

Because I knew this would be elaborate, I took photos after each stage. It's fun to look back on some of the middle steps -- the garish "blocks of solid color" stage -- and see just how much proper whitework can really deepen and strengthen a scroll.

The gilding on this went so much better than last time. This can be attributed to a number of things: I put down a very thick coat of size, and then let it cure overnight, not beginning the gilding until the next morning. I rehydrated very small portions at a time, and likewise only gilded small portions at a time, overlapping while working on the large blocks, e.g., of the initial. There were some places where it didn't stick as well as I would've liked (such as on the initial), so whenever I had a leftover bit, I'd apply it again to the initial, with the result that eventually all of the holes filled. If you look closely, you can see that there are rough and uneven spots -- but most people won't be looking closely, because they'll be blinded by the shine!

And now for some close-ups:

Close-up of the initial.

Bottom left-hand corner with Albion's head.

Upper right-hand corner with some of the in-text initials.

Floral border

Bottom border with Queen's edelweiss and Albion's head

scrolls for Coronation

Sigillum Coronae Queen for Mistress Katheryn Hebenstreitz

                    Queen's Order of Courtesy for Ingrid Audardotter

Duchy scroll for Siobhan

Gilliam Blackhorn's LONG overdue Knighting scroll.

Monday, December 16, 2013

For future reference

I recently came across these citations which likely have useful material for cribbing for scroll texts. Since I don't have time to track them down yet, and others may also find them interesting, I'm posting them here:

  • A Collection of Miscellaneous Grants, Crests, Confirmations, Augmentations, and Exemplifications of Arms, part 2, ed. W. A. Littledale, Hrl. Soc. 77 (1926). (and probably also part 1!)
  • J. Nicholl, Some Account of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers (1851), which includes the text of their grant.
  • The Annals of the Barber-Surgeons of London, ed. S. Young (1890), which also includes the text of their grant.

Monday, December 02, 2013

scribal boot camp: Juneborg in Nordmark

Scribes of Drachenwald, unite! Let’s meet for a weekend of scribal boot camp where we can leave our stuff lying around while we drool over each other’s books! Hopefully we can provide classes for both beginners and experts. We would like to invite everyone to a content rich scriptorium event in the beautiful shire of Juneborg in Nordmark, Drachenwald. Whether you are curious about how to make your first scroll, or have plenty of experience, or if you just want to meet other scribes, this is the event for you. The idea behind the event is to collect all scribes in Drachenwald, for a weekend focusing on scroll manufacturing. There will be lectures and workshops, and some focus on the backlog. More information will come on: http://juneborg.nordmark.org/evenemang/scriptorium-event

Thursday, November 28, 2013

more backloggery

While as a rule I don't like to use this  place as a signet clerk announcement board in this case ( or cases) I'm busting my rule because the backlog has been a long festering source of frustration for many people, especially those who are patiently waiting for their scrolls so...

... the backlog listings are as up to date as I can get them. Please take a look and see if there are any corrections that need to be made. If you are a scribe and you have an assigned backlog then you need to let me know the status by the end of the year. If I have not heard anything then I will be reassigning the scrolls to active scribes who wish to do the work.

Bridget - Kingdom Signet Clerk 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

admin stuff

Hiyas all you awesome scribes ...it's that time again so some admin stuff.

1: the dragon scribes wiki has been removed. No one was really using it so it because a host for spammers. We've taken it off our domain. Thanks to everyone who did participate it seemed like a good idea at the time.

2: If you are new to the blog and the world of Dragon Scribes and want to be a scribe for the kingdom you must first get in touch with the Signet Clerk(s).  There are 6 signet clerks in drachenwald, 1 Kingdom Signet, 2 Principality signets and 3Baronial signets. Everyone is welcome to do work for the kingdom but we do have a certain standard for the scrolls we give out so if you are a 1st time scribe please send a short bio and some images of your work to  signet@drachenwald.sca.org . 

All Kingdom level scrolls are assigned through the office of the Signet clerk only and this includes backlogs. If you see a backlog scroll you'd like to do then please contact the signet at the above email address.

For people interested in doing only Principality or baronial work please contact your local signet.

3: As many of you may know, thanks to our wonderful Posthorn, Garsiyya, we now
have the ability to add and show the assigned scroll's scribe's name on
the backlog list online.

This will hopefully help the years of messy backlog records and make it
easier for people to see who has the assignment and also for the scribes
to remember what assignments they have taken on ( we do forget it's a
hazard that happens)

I am trying to clean the list up and get it as accurate and up to date as
I can so it would be great if everyone could check the op and see if they
have assigned scrolls on their to do list and get back to me if there are
any problems or inaccuracies.

Here are the following names of scribes I do not know who have assignments
and scrolls that have been assigned but I don't know who the scribe is.
Please get back to me with your full SCA name, your current email address
and the status of the scroll you have been assigned.**This is important:
Please clearly mark your email with the word *Backlog scrolls 2013* in the
subject line. 


There are also a bunch of scrolls listed as waiting for signature. At the
current moment I have no up to date info on these but am working on it.

*IMPORTANT* If I have not heard from people about the scroll assignments
in question by January 1st 2014 I will be putting them back on the waiting
to be assigned list.  Some of the scribes are unknown to me and I have no
contact information for them or there have been no replies to my queries
about the  assignments and the scrolls have been assigned for at least 3

Earnferth of Streansalch    
Award of Arms    
Elffin and Vanna    
Assigned     Stephanie ( no last name no contact info)

Helen of Northumbria    
Award of Arms    
Matthew and Anna    
Assigned     Rhianwen ( no last name no contact info)

Duarte Goncalves de Montel    
Dragon´s Steel    
Vitus and Eleanora    
Assigned     Ysabella-Maria Vasquez de Granada ( no reply to email)

Ivana zhena Nataliia    
Matthew and Anna    
Assigned     Margarite  ( no last name no contact info)

Katharina von der Waldwiese    
Sigillum Principessa    
Assigned     Giovanna Lisabetta Ferri  (Ferri Sweanson??) No contact info

Award of Arms    
Michael and Moira    
Assigned     unknown (no name no contact info)

Stefan von der Heide    
Panache     1994-06-18    
Wlfric and Eira    
Assigned     Ferri Svensson  (could also be Giovanna Lisabetta Ferri no
contact information)

Please forward this email to anyone you think might be interested.

Thank you
Bridget - Signet Clerk.

Monday, November 04, 2013

The nitty-gritty details of writing texts

I just found two of the neatest sources when it comes to English patents and charters: Rotuli litterarum patentium in Turri Londinensi asservati and Rotuli Chartarum in Turri Londinensi asservati (if you can't get free PDFs from these links, try replacing ".de" with your country's domain).

The introduction of the first contains, starting on p. iv, "forms of letters patent in the reign of King John", giving examples of the following:

  • safe conduct
  • credence
  • protection
  • pardon
  • grace
  • acquittance
  • remission
  • favor
  • armistice
  • presentation
  • commisimus
  • concessimus
  • rogamus
  • volumus
  • de rato
  • de passu
  • de intendendo
  • quamdiu
  • licence
  • summons
  • warranty
  • prohibition
  • of homage
  • obligatory
  • preceptive

and "miscellaneous", perfect for giving models of salutations and verbiage related to both praise and blame. (The summonses would be wonderful for letters of writ for peerages).

The second also has a tremendous introduction that works you through a formulary of the English charter, introducing each section that is included, what it's purpose was, and providing textual examples. Most useful for SCA text writing purposes are sections 7-9, starting on p. xxx. Section 7 is in "data per manum cancellari" and "data per manum nostrum", that is, whether the charters were issued by the hand of the king or his chancellor. As with patents of arms later in period, many recognitions didn't actually come from the king though they were granted with his approval and permission or at his request. This is something that doesn't often get reflected in SCA texts, where everything is written as coming directly from the granting rulers. I was lucky enough recently that TRM Sven and Siobhan were happy to deviate from this practice and allowed me to write a grant of arms text which came from the Principal Herald rather than the K&Q. Nevertheless, before writing a text like that, I would caution approving the idea with the granting rulers first.

Section 8 covers the datal clause, which discusses when anno domini dates were used, and when regnal dates were used, how months were referred to, whether the place was mentioned, etc., from the Anglo-Saxon charters down to the present time.

Section 9 is about the sealing clause, discussing the different ways that "sigillum" was used (it didn't always indicate a wax seal), how the Anglo-Saxon kings ratified their charters, what types of non-signature marks were used, whether the ratification came before or after the dates, etc.

The actual texts of both books is nothing more than charter after charter, patent after patent -- all in heavily abbreviated Latin, so it would take some work to uncompressed the information, but, still, wow. I'm sure I'm not the only one who will have fun with these!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hedgepig day (ETA: new photos)

Lord Nicholas, who suggested this work, has posted lovely clear photos.

This was not a conventional commission but was graciously agreed to by his Majesty, to have his announcement protecting hedgepigs from traps, or from being roasted in clay, put into writing.

(Lady Delia of Ely was looking after a baby hedgepig in the course of her work, and brought her to Battle of Brothers in July. Wee Horatia became the star attraction of the event, prompting His Majesty's merciful ruling, and Lady Delia will keep the scroll.)

The illumination, done first, is by Lady Agatha of Norwich.

Note that the prince of Insulae Draconis is looking after a pleased-looking lamb, ensuring its safety, while an unnamed knight from Nordmark is being carried off on his shield by two industrious sheep. Meanwhile Lady Delia is walking the hedgepigs in her care, with Horatia is safely tucked into her scrip.

My calligraphy is based on Bodley MS 264, a 14th c copy of Roman de la Rose, in French. It is what I'd call a 'high Gothic' copy, full of illuminations in the margins, with red, blue and gold borders, similar to the style Agatha had chosen for the decoration. It is definitely a quadrata hand, but without the crisp angles of some - there's still a smoothness in its curves which I really like. A nice example of one page to examine closely. The ampersand (the & symbol) for this MS is shaped like a modern numeral 7.

After a very informative class on quill cutting with Mistress Caitlin at 20 year in June, I'm resolved to do all the scrolls I can with quills, and this one is part of that resolution. Caitlin helped me correct my biggest mistakes and I can now get some good quills cut, but getting them the same nib width consistently will take more work.I still don't have the extremely thin strokes that quills can produce, but it's a very consistent result.

Before setting hand to the illuminated page, I blocked out the text on a test page, (copying the amount of space I'd have between the borders) and tested a couple of different line heights, before settling on my old friend 5mm, with extra 3mm? 4mm? space between the lines. Eventually I hope to be able to write between the lines, as the medieval scribes did, but I'm not there yet.

The text was drafted by Lord Nicholas, Rockall herald, with edits from Master Robert, Caversham herald to fit the space given.


Let the Will of His Majesty, Sven of Drachenwald, be heard heeded and obeyed across these lands.
It is His Majesty's desire that the humble hedgepig be given let and leave to live free unmolested and without fear of the trap and the clay.
And furthermore, it is the Will of the said Sven, King of Drachenwald, that the anniversary of the said Battle of Brothers, the thirteenth day of July, be henceforth remembered revered and celebrated as Hedgepig Day wheresoever his writ and rule may extend
And the said Sven doth encourage hope and desire all present and future Monarchs of this realm and their subject Princes, Viceroys, Barons and Lords, as undoubtedly they shall joyously faithfully and devoutly wish, to mark and observe Hedgepig Day its feast and holiday for ever hereafter, as long as man hath membrance.
And further should any subject be they lord or commoner err by disregarding this the Word of their Most Lawful Just and Merciful Sovereign King and in so doing harm any Hedgepig then by intercession of St Horatia and St Henry, may the feet of them and theirs be forever impaled on quills, their grapes rot upon the vine and their cropes be blighted by all manner Slugges and Snayles.
By His Word on the eve of Battle of Brothers in Depedene under Wychwood.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Update to album (belated as usual)

I am always very slack about this, but have finally remembered to update my online album (access down the right of this page) with my more recent work, including Viscountess Ursula's Pelican scroll and Countess Tofa's County.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Two illuminations done in the field (Dragon's Tears)

The first one had a lot of gold on it.  When laying gold in the field, I recommend doing it well away from the fire, as the invisible particulates mate with the glue and make your size less sticky!

So then I decided to do one without gold.  The intent was to finish both Tears at Raglan, but then I hit both mental and physical exhaustion.  So I did the border (quite quickly), and later started the calligraphy.  I got as far as "Sven" and realised it wasn't going to happen.  Thus, Sven was written a couple of weeks before the rest, and is correspondingly darker (iron gall ink).

I always, always forget that Caroline comes out looking much bigger than any other hand at my default 3mm/5mm spacing, and the lettering was a bit too big.  Which is a shame, as I think the border is very pleasing, for all it was done in the field.

A fox for the duchessa

Their highnesses Duncan and Eibhilin invested Duchessa Alessandre Melusine into their Order of the Fox this weekend, in recognition of the many years she has supported the arts of war as minister of the lists, enabling fighters to train and compete without worrying about who was looking after the tournament list.

I used a blank recommended by Lady Arianhwy Wen from the signet's selection, by her hand, that had figures on it fighting in the bas de page, very suitable for a Fox recipient.

I calligraphed this and the hedgepig scroll back to back, so the hand is effectively the same: Bodley MS 264.

The text is adapted by Master Robert, Caversham herald. It's apt because West Dragon'shire is the only shire in the kingdom that has a justice of the peace, Earl Paul de Gorey, so her Grace has someone to 'set herself under' as instructed.


Unto our fathful servant Alessandre Melusine do Duncan & Eibhilin prince and princess of Insulae Draconis greet you well in grace & peace.
Know ye that whereas the defence of our lands & keeping of ye peace is foremost in our concerns and being mindful of our coronation oaths We Duncan and Eibhilin aforementioned prince & princess hereby increase our Order of the Fox by addition of Alessandre Melusine to their number charging her Grace to continue in her support of our host under arms in tournaments an, on the field of honour and in the lists. We further charge her to set herself under any justice of the peace of her shire in such matters as are lawful just and necessary.
Done by our hand this V day of October anno sociotatis [48] at Crown tourney beneath ye walls of Caerphilli.

Grant of arms, from the summer

This scroll was for Marcus von Stormarn, given in July.

I did the calligraphy in a summer evening, and painted in the escutcheon the next morning. The weather was warm, and my gouache was drying faster than I could paint, but I was pleased with the outcome. I used gold gouache because I was keen to finish and put the work in the mail.

This long and tall batarde hand is one of my favourites. Once I start doing lowercase Gs and Hs with the long descender, I find it hard to do these letters any other way for awhile.

The text (with advice from my lord Robert Caversham) with its references to Old Republics and Emperors, reflects one of Marcus' other hobbies in SF fandom.

The date refers to a saint, Duke Henry, patron of the Franks, because Marcus has served Frankmark a long time, and also because HRM Sven is a duke himself.

We Sven and Siobhan king and queen of Drachenwald Lord and Lady of Frankmark sole sovereigns of all the lands known to the Old Republic and the Empire of the Romans, to all to whom these letters may come greeting,
Know ye that of our mere motion and especial grace so also in recognition of the faithful services that the bearer of these presents  Marcus von Stormarn our well beloved servant heretofore hath given and that he yet may give us and our heirs and lawful successors in this kingdom
Now therefore we have given and granted and do by these letters give and grant unto him a Grant of Arms together with all the rights and privileges thereto appertaining including but not limited to this coat of arms that is to say
Azure, a chevron cotised argent between two roundels and a lymphad Or
And so let none prevent the aforementioned Marcus von Stormarn our well beloved servant from lawful enjoyment of the same or in any other manner break against these our letters under pain of our royal vengeance and wrath.
Done this day of St Henry, Duke of Bavaria & defender of the Franks, from our thrones in Knight's Crossing AS 48.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Knight vs Snail, the battle continues

I know I've mentioned it before - the British Library Medieval Manuscripts blog. But it's because they keep putting together super posts about their collection.

This week, it's knight vs snail - the motif that appears so often in 'high' medieval manuscripts.

I'm fond of snails in manuscripts - I even painted a couple at the foot of our pavilion - and this is a nice review of the motif, and what it might 'mean'.

Other treasures now online include the Luttrell Psalter. Now everyone can see the range of just plain weird hybrids that occur through the book, particularly in the second half.

One way I'm getting a 'dose' of medieval most days is through the British Library Medieval Twitter @BLMedieval. You don't have to contribute to read it, and there's clearly plenty of people out there who enjoy the beauty, the silliness, the puzzle and the charm of manuscripts as absorbing as I do. Example:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

For scribes owned by cats...

An example of what happens when cats keep you company as you work.

Cat paw prints on a medieval manuscript

The story is not new first posted in April, but it was new to me. There are closeups in the historian's Flickr account. The text is in Croatian, but at first glance, the hand is not so different from other 15th c business hands I've seen. It's in a collection of business letters, rather than a book w/ a single topic.

Since they are in a bound book of letters, rather than on a single page, it suggests to me that the cat was walking across the book when it was open, not the individual page as it was being produced...but perhaps the book was open on a reading desk? was being copied or referenced in a library?

Monday, September 09, 2013

Scrolls for Investiture in Aarnimetsä

I have not written here earlier I guess, so let me introduce myself – and this post will be long… I am Magdalen Yrjänäntytär from the Barony of Aarnimetsä and I have been making scrolls about two years now. Especially the illumination has been quite easy and natural for me, as I have drawn all my life.
There was an Investiture last weekend in Aarnimetsä and King Sven and Queen Siobhan gave Court Barony for Baron Vilhelm and Baroness Agata, who stepped down. As Baroness Agata’s persona in from Renaissance, I wanted to make them scrolls in a later style and chose Vespaniano’s humanist manuscript as an inspiration. An exact page can be found from A History of Illuminated Manuscripts by Christopher de Hamel, page 249. I had not used humanist hand before, but it was quite easy to get a hang of it, as it is so close to modern text. In Finnish the text is in archaic form of late 16th century. It is modified by Fearghas Mac Ebhearard from letters of Kings Gustav I Eriksson and Johan III to their Finnish subjects. In English it goes like this (translated by Fearghas): We Sven and Siobhan, gracious King and Queen of Drachenwald. We make this known to all. We, all with that power that We can muster, make and proclaim Our Realms beloved subject, loyal and just baron Vilhelm/baroness Agata in Our court, with all the rights and good counsel that is pertainning to that rank. And with this Our mandate, be the only to carry arms ratified. As there is no good translation for Grant of Arms, I painted letters GoA to the space whre the initial would have been and actually it turned out well, as I wanted to make the scrolls as mirror pages and then I had no problem how to match the initial to the text in Agata’s scroll.

I had another very special project for the Investiture. I think most of you know Mistress Johanna aff Hucka, who is one special lady and Pelican and have got many well deserved recognitions from both Kingdom and Baronial level, but never one single Marshlight/Virvaliekki, which are very basic awards of Aarnimetsä and usually people get one, if they are any active in society and events. They usually come with no scroll, but a token. Why, even I have a couple of them. Now Baron Vilhelm and Baroness Agata had decided to give all eight to her in a same court and I got the great honour and joy to make a scroll for her. This time I got the idea to do it after Irish knot work and paint the knots with all the colours of the different marshlights and I used a page of the Book of Durrow (folio 191v) as an inspiration to both the illumination and the calligraphy. Text is again by Fearghas and I hope you can read it from the scroll, as it is quite long.

Larger files of pictures you can find from here, here and here.

Last weekend was quite crazy for me as a scribe. It seems I have came long way in a two short year, as when we had our last Investiture, I were asked by then ruling Baroness Eva to make a local scroll and took it to Investiture where she and Baron UlfR gave it away. It was my first or second scroll and unfortunately I do not have a picture of it. Now I made these three shown here and calligraphed four scrolls, two Dragon’s Jewels, one Laurel and one Pelican.  And I got a very beautiful scroll at Baron Vilhelm’s and Baroness Agata’s last court. It was made by Maaria Taaventytär, who is signet of Aarnimetsän and funnily enough; it was made after the Book of Durrow too.
Reason I am telling this all to you is that I have thought it earlier, but now I am even surer that I&C is my niche in SCA and I want to concentrate even more to it.