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

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Silver Guard for Alexandre d'Avignon

The joy of scribing in a relatively small kingdom is that you can tailor a commission to the recipient.

The recipient has handled original manuscripts through his studies, and is familiar with the many shortcuts, abbreviations, acronyms and contractions that historic scribes used to fit text to the space given.

So this piece compresses a longish and wordy text (based on a late 15th c example in English) into the smallest space available - about A5 or half a sheet of standard printer paper - using short forms, symbols and Latin equivalents that are current in early modern English.

For most Society scrolls, you wouldn't dream of shortening the name of the king, the recipient, and the award itself. In this writ I did all these things.

Click to embiggen.

Silver Guard for Alexandre d'Avignon

Text only, within its borders.

Silver Guard for Master Alexandre: text only

Text, in regular English:

Vitus, by the grace of might, King of Drachenwald, and Isabel our queen, at the Glen Rathlin Flaming Arrow on the vigil of SS Philip and James the Just AS50, in the first year of our reign the forty-sixth after the foundation.

To the pleasure of our Crown, the surety of this realm and defense of our kingdom, to the singular comfort of all our subjects of the same and in avoiding of all ambiguities and questions,

it is ordained, established and enacted by authority of these witnesses that Alexandre d'Avignon with all the permanence and dignity to the same pertaining be, rest, remain and abide as companion of the Silver Guard, perpetually with the grace of God so to endure and in none other.

Done by our signs manual.


Writ by Genevieve rougemaunche; parchment w/ oakgall ink
Text taken from:  Recognition of the Title of Henry VII (1485)
1485. 1 Henry VII. c. 1. 2 S. R. 499.) (Adams & Stephens)
Formatting advice: Arianhwy Wen, called Mala

I consulted HE Arianhwy Wen, who studied early modern English, on these short forms and abbreviations. She wrote out the text by hand and posted it to me. Most keyboards don't have Latin abbreviation symbols on them!

(A few years ago Ari wrote up and taught a class on early modern English and its spellings, posted to Master Robert's Forsooth wiki - you'll see a few of those spellings in this text.)

Thanks to a generous gift from Lady Victoria Alcon de Castile, I now have an ample supply of small pieces of parchment, and get both the joy of using parchment with the challenge of very fine calligraphy.

On parchment, I use a pointed tool (piece of hard wire stuck in the end of a broken arrow shaft, since you ask) rather than a pencil, for marking lines. Many lines you see marked in medieval manuscripts are like this - indentations, rather than surface ones.

To get the text small enough I used a pointed nib rather than a 'round hand' one (which has a flat nib end). After testing several nibs, and a couple of practice runs, I found one that gave 'thicks and thins' in the lines through pressure on the nib, rather than nib angle. I'm really pleased with this find.

The finished piece looks a bit lopsided in the first photo - partly camera angle, partly because the edges of the parchment piece aren't cut straight. I've marked out lines where a framer can trim to finish the piece.


Alexandre said...

It is beautiful and I very much appreciate the style. Thank you so very much.

Ari said...