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

Monday, January 10, 2011

two firsts

I combined two firsts into one scroll for Ulfr and Caoimhe's final court. (1) I'd always wanted to do a music-score based scroll since the HMM Library has so many music MSs, and (2) I finally, after nearly 15 years in the SCA, got around to entering something into an A&S competition. Here's the scroll and below it is my documentation:


The recipient was being recognized for his skill in music, so I went with a music-score theme. Here's my documentation:

Documentation for scroll based on 13th C music manuscript

The scroll is modeled after two pages from Cod. S 384 (Universitätsbibliothek Bonn), f. 14r and f. 13v. This is a Latin manuscript dating to the 13th C. It is a gradual (a hymn in the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist), by Johannes von Valkenburg. My access to these two pages was via the Vivarium website, specifically http://cdm.csbsju.edu/u?/HMMLClrMicr,20446 and http://cdm.csbsju.edu/u?/HMMLClrMicr,20447. The two pages are reproduced above. [[Ed.: In the actual documentation. Here I just put the hyperlinks.]] These are the full sized images from the website. Because I could not zoom in to see sufficient detail, I thus had to extrapolate the penwork details.

The scroll was done on 230g pergamenata; I used yellow rather than white because that was all that I had available. The score, the initials, and the left-hand border were painted using talens gouache vermillion and ultramarine light, and a 310-000 red sable paint brush. The calligraphy was done with a dip pen with a 3 1/2 metal nib (for the calligraphy) and C4 metal nib (for the musical notes), and Winsor & Newton calligraphy ink. The entire piece took two days; on the first day I drew out the margins, border, and score; calligraphed the text; painted and decorated the initials; and painted the score. The second day I added the musical notes and did the side border.

The calligraphy is my best attempt at copying the Gothic hand in the manuscript.

As can be seen, many of the capitals in my text do not appear in either of these pages (nor elsewhere in the MS), and thus I had to extrapolate. I focused on having straight, perpendicular lines on the insides of curves, and narrow centers of rounded letters (e.g., P, O, D). There was no way of telling what type of penwork filler was used in the original MS, given the lack of ability to zoom in, so I decided to fill large central areas with curliques, small central areas with dots, and then outline the entire initial in a solid line decorated with invections, with squiggles to fill in the spaces to the corners, so that each initial was roughly rectangular when finished.

The music is copied directly from f. 14v, with the exception that the music above "er of the Panache..." is taken from f. 13r. This is because when copying the music from f. 14v, I accidentally skipped over that line, and thus had to fill it in after the fact. I do not read music, medievally or modernly, so I have no idea if it makes any sense, but I wanted to stay as close to the original as possible rather than try to extrapolate, even though the result may look somewhat unbalanced to the modern eye.

Because of the available space, I was not able to write a period-style text, since these are generally extremely long and verbose. Instead, I stuck with something as simple as possible and with a large number of varied capitals to add extra interest to the design. Euterpe, the muse of music, was known to the medievals; she is mentioned in John Lydgate's Exposition of the Pater Noster (Cambridge, Jesus College 56 (Q.G.8); London, British Library, Harley 2255; Oxford, Bodleian Library, Laud Misc. 683), dated to the 2nd or 3rd quarter of the 15th C.

1 comment:

Melisende Fitzwalter said...

That is lovely. I was drooling over some huge Renaissance choral books at the Cathedral museum in Malta, so they are very fresh in my mind!

Nattfari got his Panache? yay!