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

Monday, February 04, 2013

30 day (gilding) challenge continues

From this past weekend's investiture - Richard and Lena's viscounty scroll.

Design notes: Richard and Lena favour early-ish personas, so I chose an exemplar from as early as I could find, in a hand I was confident in. I wanted something that featured both calligraphy, and (a limited amount of) gilding.

Cue the Byzantines! or rather, an Ottonian bible from Trier (Holy Roman Empire in Germany stealing Byzantine style and fire), from 10th/11th century. I was thrilled to find this work. It combines many of my favourite elements: white space, less-is-more emphasis on text, gold and red together.

For a text, I asked Lyonet and Arianrhod if one of them would be willing to consider writing a 'viking-like' text, one of those early alliterative things (poetry is not my strong point!) and Arianrhod replied with a text fully-formed the next day. Hurrah for a poet's productive insomnia.


Hwaet! Now virtuous Vitus   unlocks the word-hoard;
white-limbed Isabel   holds out her hand.
Sing, scop, of mighty times   when high was built mead-hall,
Richard the Rampant   dealt out rings,
riches at feasts.   Lena Peaceweaver
loaned honour to the hall   high and horn-gabled,
every day   heard noise of revelry
loud in the hall;   there was harmony of the harp,
the sweet song of the poet;   learned lords and ladies
travelled the whale-road   to win her wisdom.
Then was there   peace and prosperity
in the Principality:   Richard with mighty thews
held hard the boundaries   from Iceland to Wight,
proved with his prowess   his right to rule.
White-thighed Lena   held hospitality.
Generosity of heart   showed they both;
their war-bands were wise   in ways of court as well.
Now come they before Vitus   just successor
and Isabel sweet-voiced   who pronounce these patents:
that those who serve enthroned   in war and peace
should receive viscounty rank   and rights of arms.
Rise, Viscount Richard.   Viscountess Lena, rise.
Take right to rank   and coronet from crowned Vitus
to use and bear without let   at hard-won leisure.
Done in Deepdene   shining shire
Anno societatis seven and forty   on February’s second day.

The artwork did not follow the formatting perfectly: I made one artistic decision (starting a line with N, because I couldn't find an H that I liked)...and one mistake, resulting in a jogged line.

I also had to sacrifice matching the spacing exactly - my page wasn't quite big enough for the number of lines + the line height I wanted. My next effort from this work will be better spaced.

There are no red dots in the original - these are another artistic decision, to emphasise the form of the poetry and hint at how to read it.

Source image: from Rylands Medieval Collection Collection   MS 98, University of Manchester. (requires decent connection, very image and navigation-heavy).

Sample page:

This makes day 22 of my 30 day challenge.


Merlyn said...

These updates from your challenge have been a real pleasure to watch and the results are wonderful.


Ari said...

Gorgeous initial! Is this with your gesso, then? With doubled sugar?

Genevieve la flechiere said...

Sadly no, no double-sugar-hold-the-cream gesso yet.

Should have mentioned: this was miniatum from Kohlner (my favourite modern size so far) and transfer gold.

Gold application was a bit wrinkkly but happy with the freehand initial.