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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

hit list of early Celtic-ish MSS with simple capitals for inspiration

x-posted to dragon scribes
One scribe in Insulae Draconis mentioned enjoying Insular and Uncial calligraphy, but was not as confident of doing illumination to match, so I went on a hunt for options for her. After a very productive trawl through the early manuscript pages from Oxford University I have some suggestions, that may help narrow the search for inspiration.

Most cyber scribes have probably looked through this site long before, but I hadn't realised how many early-period Irish books they had. This is in part because there's no index by date, author, subject etc - rather the books are grouped by which college owns them. So you have to scan the lot to find the gems. Argh.

On the plus side, the images are all 600dpi, and stand up well to being enlarged until your screen bleeds.

These are mostly Irish and Old English books, 9-12th c, and cross over between insular hands and early gothic (one of my favourites).

I am not a Celtic art specialist, so I don't know the finer distinctions between Irish, English and Anglo-Norman styles - YMMV.

I did find some simple but elegant large capitals, and some monochrome or 'tinted' paintwork, that might suit 'calligraphy-preferred' scribes like myself.

Early Manuscripts at Oxford University - landing page

Corpus Christi College - list of MSS
MS 282 Irish Missal
MS. 122 'The Corpus Irish Gospels', 12th century.

Bodleian Library list of book collection

MS. Rawl. B. 502
Miscellany of texts in Irish and Latin in two main parts
fols. 19-89, with decorative initials, small and relatively simple

MS. Fr. d. 16
Two fragments from Thomas's Tristan, in Anglo-Norman verse, fols. 4r-10v (lines 54-941 in 1998 edn. by S. Gregory) and 11r-17r (lines 2316-3143).
Some occasional decorated initials, relatively simple.

MS. Junius 11
'The Cædmon Manuscript': parts of Genesis, Exodus and Daniel in Old English verse, illustrated with Anglo-Saxon drawings, c. A.D. 1000.
Large illustrations and occasional twisty-beast initials, line-drawn only, no colour. Nice examples p.5, 8, 14, 18, 21...

MS Bodl 579, Leofric Missal, 9-11th centuries
Occasional nice simple intials and caps, lovely early hand. Long book, lots to flip through.

MS. Auct. F. 4. 329-11th c
Occasional fluid celtic-y intials in line-drawn and tinted colours, lovely early spiky hand.
Ex f22r, f22v, f37r...
Nice examples of glossed text (where you've got some smaller text squeezed in the margins/between the lines).

MS. Auct. F. 2.13
Terence's Comedies, in Latin, with Romanesque drawings St. Albans Abbey, mid 12th century. Beatiful spare calligraphy with numerous line drawings. Capitals are lean and simple, single colour. See f.50v.

MS. Auct. D. 2. 16
Latin Gospels, Brittany, late 9th or early 10th century, given by Bishop Leofric, d.1072 to Exeter Cathedral.
Mostly text, w/ occasional spare intials - most capitals are smallish, in their own column.
See f16r, f17v for nice very simple caps, line drawing only.

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