Wednesday, 8 October 2008

And just when I thought I learnt to say No.....

....I end up saying yes!! but this time, they are simple ones and I managed to do all of them over one weekend without totally killing myself.

Friday, 19 September 2008

The hardest day

Raglan came I spent most of 1 day scribing my hose off in our new pavilion. I managed to finish 2 before the event, but the second two just had to be done there and then. I will not be offering to do so much again in such a little time. But it was nice to know that people will be getting scrolls at the same time as their award!

Friday, 1 August 2008


And thank goodness my collection of images of scrolls I have created, is once more complete! I forget the name of the wonderful person from Nordmark who took this photo, but I am so thankful that they did otherwise I would not have had a record of it. It is particularly important to me as it is (and probably will remain) the only A&S item I have ever won a prize for - in the Blank Scroll competition at Double Wars!

Friday, 6 June 2008


I got some wonderful presents for my birthday! My thoughtful family decided to club together and get me the following:

1 pre-cut square of Sheep parchment
1 pot of powdered Sandarac
1 pot of powdered Lapis Lazuli pigment
1 pot of powdered Vermillion pigment
I packet Gesso di Bologna
I packet Rabbit Hide Glue

I would love to paint a miniature on parchment, using real crushed Lapis, Malachite, Vermilion and Red Ochre with raised gilding using real gold on period recipe Gesso and gum ammoniac size and scribed with Oak Gall Ink!!!

And now I have all the ingredients!!

I feel a project for an A&S competition coming on!!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Scroll with a difference

I had great pleasure in being asked to do a Panache Scroll for my good friend Jahanarabanu. She has a 7th century Sassanian Persian persona which made it a challenge.

In the 2 or so weeks I had at my disposal, the only research I could do was online, so I trawled the net for anything and everything. On manuscripts or any similar scribal stuff I drew a complete blank, although I did manage to find a couple of guides to the Pahlavi script and language.

What I did find was an article written by an Oxford Professor on the Gutenberg website which included sketches and renderings of extant architectural decorations and reliefs from the 1930s (presumably the last time anyone was able to study the remains) and some pictures of objets d’art held in various different museums. I therefore was given no option but to lift motifs and design elements from what I had available in order to create the scroll.

I did not want to make anything that resembled European manuscript design from the same period as the cultural influences were totally different. Some of the pictures of column capitals and reliefs had a distinctly Indian flavour so I decided to err more in that direction. I also rendered the design without shading, but with many small details to break up the block colours.

Another thing I had to make a (hopefully) educated guess on, was whether to use loose leaf gilding or not. I could find nothing that referred to the Sassanian culture using it or not. However in Byzantium it had been in use since the 5th century, and the Sassanian Empire bordered Byzantium. I figured that something as distinct and awe-inspiring as gilding would have crossed a border, especially travelling to an empire that was obsessed with decoration and the use of precious stones and metals, so I used a little, but only in the fine detail.

Finally I needed to decide on colours. The recipient is also known as the Purple Lotus, so that took care of one colour. I thought that the best for contrast (and the fact that she wears a lot of it) would be green. The majority of the design would be in those colours and as a tertiary I used yellow. Small elements of other colours were used in the flowers and leaves.

Due to the complexity of the design I took a photo at almost every stage of its construction. I have assembled these in a slideshow on youtube for anyone who may be interested.

I don’t know if this is the proper way to go about constructing a scroll without an original to base the design on, but it’s the best way I could think of with the time and skills I had at my disposal. All in all, I think I could have done better if I had had more time to think about it, but its not too bad. If anyone has better knowledge of the period and what I should have done, I will welcome the advice.

The link is here:

Monday, 21 April 2008

Latest Scroll

This is my latest scroll based on a 12th century Passionale in the British library. I am really pleased with how its turned out. The paint is flat rather than lumpy (and believe me when it started it some of it had me worried), and the gold is 100%.

It will be delivered next week and I now have to figure out a way to transport it safely as it is only slightly smaller than A3 size!

Monday, 7 April 2008


Not a scroll, but a giftbox I painted for Lord Matthew Baker as a thank you for the Rope bed he made for us for which he still has not demanded remuneration. It is painted in Acrylics as Oils took too long to dry. The interior has been varnished too. The main picture is a hunting scene based on a woodcut from the 1480s.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

New Box


I am the proud buyer of a wooden Easel box off of ebay! My lurid red plastic one gave up the ghost a while ago and cannot be moved without falling apart. I was given a lovely one at Christmas which stores my paints. But I was specifically looking for one whose lid turns into a slanted Drawing Board as well as carrying paints, brushes and pallets - it means that when I have to travel and intend to paint, just one container will carry everything and I don't have to worry about carting along my A3 size board.

What made the deal (£12.39 incl p&p) more appetising was that the ebay box comes with paints (acrylic and watercolour), several brushes and a couple of canvases!!! Sweet! Can't wait to receive it now. It will be excellent for Sweden!

Monday, 31 March 2008

This is my latest Scroll - a Sigillum Coronae for a good friend - The Honourable Lady Genevieve de la Flechiere. It is based on the Codex Manesse, but still an original composition. It is a first for several reasons - firstly because I screwed up my courage enough to tackle human figures, secondly because I tested out a more watery (and therefore smoother) consistancy of gouache, thirdly because its my first attempt at using Pergamenata paper and finally because I also decided to make a serious attempt at proper shading. I am not happy with the Calligraphy I think I used the wrong nib. But overall I am satisfied with the attempt.

Another couple of Scrolls I did - both AoA Scrolls. These were last-minute jobs. I was contacted by the Clerk Signet the Monday before a weekend event and was asked if I could do them. I only had available 3 weekday evenings before they had to be posted in order to arrive on time, so I knew they couldn't be something too complicated. I did them on A5 size smooth Watercolour paper and in view of the speed with which they had to be completed and posted, and I am modestly pleased with the results. It was especially my first attempt at intricate penwork and I really enjoyed it.

Here is a pic of my second Scroll - a linguistringe for Lord Acarin Saint-Cyr. I will think twice before I do something as paint-heavy as this. I was not using Pergamenata at this point and the paper started to warp. However labour-intensive it was, it was also fun to do as I did not feel as out of depth as I do when painting figures.

This is a picture of my first ever Scroll. It is an AoA Scroll for Lord Maredudd ap Gwylim using a fussy Gothic hand that I am rather fond of. I agonised over the historiated Versal and settled for this final image. It was also my first attempt at gilding and it nearly went very wrong. All in all I am not too upset that it, as it is my first effort, but I can now see so much that could have been done better!