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

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A couple of questions regarding my next project

I've started to copy a page from the Macdurnan gospels - you can see my scan of the original here. (the image is 370 kb)
Now I have two questions and I would love to get your help.
1) Do you think the pink areas were pink originally, or is that tinted gesso, so I should use gold on those parts?
2) What font should I use? I don't think I can copy the font used in the original. The manuscript is from late ninth century Ireland, so is Uncial an acceptable compromise?


Bridget said...

I found this...

which leads me to think that the pink really is a sort of pink colour and not a gesso...but I am not 100% sure either...

Lia de Thornegge said...

I would say that it is indeed pink rather than gesso. The major reason for that is that there are other yellow areas, painted in yellow. And the areas that are pink in your scan do not seem to be picked out for special attention (and gilded on that account), rather they are just painted another colour (pink).

Supporting that is that all of the pink areas are uniformly pink, there is not a scrap of gold left anywhere that I can see, and on the pink squares top right and bottom left are three white dots for deocration. I say it's pink.

As for question number 2: it looks a great deal like an uncial with a bit of a slant and the nib turned much more than normal. I'm sure you could produce it if you tried. But uncial sounds a good compromise if not.

Bridget said...

I went through Drogin's calligraphy book and I have to say that the hand in the manuscript bears a great resemblance to insular miniscule ( C 800) but I don't see what you can't use uncial either or insular majiscule. Here is a site that lists the hands by date and timeline. maybe that will help a bit?

callig hands

Maeva said...

Good morning !

I have to agree with Bridget on the hand, that looks very much like a insular minuscule to my eyes with just a few individul twists to the script like you always find them with individual scribes *S* You can easilly combine insular minuscule with Uncial. Period examples often show the 'original text' in uncial with a slightly later translation in insular minuscule between the lines. Drogin has an example on page 43 and page 100.
Insular Minuscule looks more complicated than it is :o)

The pink is a pink, not a gesso. You won't find much goldleafing in this time and style of manuscript and just like Lia pointed out it's uniform and there are no remains of gold, not even flakes, anywhere to be seen. It might have been a brighter color, maybe even reddisher in nature that has faded over time. reds from Kermes for example were in use during that time Paint with this pigment is not stable and will seriously fade.


Camele0pard said...

Thanks so much for your help. I agree with you on the pink, I just wanted a second opinion to make sure.
I've never tried the Insular miniscule, and it's not in my calligraphy book (yes, I only have one)... What do you think, is it time for me to go shopping? Any suggestions on good books to buy?

Bridget said...

the three books that I use the most are as follows
David Harris - the art of Calligraphy
and The Calligrapher's Bible: 100 Complete Alphabets and How to Draw Them (Spiral-bound)
calligrapher's bible
the art of Calligraphy

Marc Drogin-Medieval Calligraphy: Its History and Technique
medieval calligraphy