Monday, 14 June 2010


I need to start working on my own backlog! I have 3 scrolls on the backburner and a fourth newly commissioned, but without a fixed deadline. I need to knuckle down! Once I get those out of the way, then I can concentrate on the Book of Hours. My conscience will not let me do otherwise! Thankfully I have the designs lined up for all four, unfortunately none of them are simple! I am a masochist!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Some old favourites

I was leafing through my portfolio of images and came across this one which remains among my favourites. At the time I did it, I was quite apprehensive. It is taken from a 15th century German illuminator's manual.

Friday, 4 June 2010


I have been given a wonderful gift! A large collection of hand-ground pigments to play with! Granted it included cadmium yellow rather than orpiment, but I am grateful that the giver obviously did not desire to poison me! I can now work on my Book of Hours project using proper pigments instead of gouche. This has brought its projected completion date forwards quite considerably. I was planning to have to save up to buy most of the pigments, which would have taken time and a lot of savings (Cornelissen not being a cheap purveyor of authentic pigments!). If I really concentrate hard, I could potentially have it ready by the end of the year or even earlier!

Parchment – check! (all cut and pounced)
Text – check! (just needs to be scored and scribed)
Pigments – check! (squee!)
Real Gold Leaf – check!
Gesso to raise the leaf – check!
Gum Ammoniac for flat-leaf gilding – check!
Quills cut for calligraphy – check!
Oak-gall ink – check!
Leather for binding – check!
Parchment strips for binding – check!

Still to prepare:
Designs for illumination
Hammered brass decoration for book cover
Thin boards for hard-binding

Now I just need to actually start making it!!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

I dream therefore I do!

My Book of Hours project!

The text is a poem that my husband and I collaborated on called the Lay of Marcus. It is the tale of a mighty feat of Prowess and Honour undertaken by my Lord’s Knight – Sir Marcus Eisenwald, which he accomplished during his second reign as King of Drachenwald.

It tells the tale of how midway through his reign, Sir Marcus is reminded by some great ladies of a promise he made many years previous when he was just a young squire and had newly won the title of May Count for that year, and of how he failed in the May Count’s main duty of ensuring fair weather to the Principality of Nordmark during his tenure. The foul weather so offended the populace that he was called to book for his failures and he took an oath to fight a bout for every month ruined by inclement storms, and furthermore, to do so for every Lady who felt herself offended by his shortcomings. This undertaking was supposed to take a year, but alas circumstances were such that after a few such tournaments, the promise fell by the wayside and was forgotten. Now the ladies recalled his oath to Sir Marcus who stood forth and removed his Crown and chain of fealty and declared that he would not wear them again until he had fulfilled the vow he made so long ago. With his faithful squires documenting all comers, Sir Marcus undertook to face every fighter on the field for 12 bouts each, and every fencer for the same. For the entire day, with barely a pause for food and water, Sir Marcus battled on until with the coming of the evening, the Ladies declared that honour had been satisfied. Then it was calculated that the King had fought in excess of 200 bouts in one day. To great acclaim, Sir Marcus once again put on the accoutrements of rank and honour and was lauded and proclaimed by the populace.

There will be around 8 full-page miniatures, 6 versals, 4 small miniatures and sundry marginalia. The book itself will be around 4”x5” total measurement for one page. I think it should be around 20 pages in total. The style I intend to use is broadly international gothic in the early 15th century style.

*takes a deep breath….*

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Today I made a list of all the styles that I want to do, but have yet to try:

Ottoman Islamic-style Scroll
Book of Kells Carpet-style page
Dyed parchment style
Oriental –style calligraphy/painting

So far, in no particular order, my favourites remain:
Bar & Ivy style borders
Romanesque of any kind
Grisaille or monochrome work of any period

This is one of my favourites to make - in a 16th century style, done for a friend at Double Wars last year.

I must get up to date with posting about my work. This is the most recent work that I have done. It is based on early 16th century woodcuts by Burgkmair.