Monday, 13 April 2015

Illuminated Scroll Blank featuring Spring Flowers found in the Kingdom

Rohais de Guildeford
Entry for the Kingdom of Ealdormere A&S Faire
April 2015 SA XLIX

Illuminated Scroll Blank featuring Spring Flowers found in the Kingdom.

I became intrigued by this style of illumination, that seems to lift the objects, mostly items found in nature, off the page by the use of shadows. I searched the British Library’s Online Illuminated manuscripts and found the following manuscript pages to study.

These images are identified by The British Library, as being free of known copyright restrictions

Description: Miniature of the Visitation, with a scatter border of red roses, moths, a fly, and a deer, at the beginning of Lauds in the Hours of the Virgin. 

Origin: Netherlands, S. (Bruges) 

Title: Book of Hours, Use of Rome

Date: c. 1500

Language: Latin

Script: Gothic cursive

Artists: Attributed to the Master of the Dresden Prayer Book (ff. 1-11) and a close collaborator (ff. 12-228) who worked with the Dresden Prayer Book Master in another book of hours (Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, MS 78.B.14) (see Brinkmann 1991 and 1997).

Title: Eleven miniatures cut from a Book of Hours, with verses to the Virgin Mary (imperfect) and later additions.

Origin: Netherlands, S.

Date: Late 1500s.

Artist: Alexander Bening (Master of the First Prayer Book of Maximilian)? 

Design Elements

I decided to use elements from nature that are found in the Kingdom of Ealdormere.  I also decided that I would do a rectangular border to allow maximum space for Calligraphy.

I went online and found photographs to use as reference material for my subjects. I made the following sketches and then scanned them into my computer so that I could scale them to fit my design.

In period times they would have worked from cuttings and may have used a pantograph to scale objects. I found this image at the site below which shows the use of the instrument.

This instrument was invented late in our period and I present it here as an interesting fact. Although the invention was claimed by various people, according to The Grove Encyclopedia of Materials and Techniques in Art it was so wide spread by the early 1600s that no one person can claim authorship. The first manuals for the Pantograph were written at that time and the instrument is still in use today.

These are my sketches that a used for this piece:

Crocus left & Ram’s Head Orchid right

Woodland Lily above Bluebells below

Meadowhawk Dragonfly above

Silvery Checkerspot Butterfly below

Honey Bee below (I ended up reversing this image in the final design.)

And of coarse the Trillium on the left and Floriferous Hepatica below.

My final design after much playing around with the elements looked like this and scaled to fit a 9”x12” scroll with at 1” white space border around the outside.

The next step was to print the design and transfer it to the hot pressed natural watercolour paper that I would be using. I started to paint the background as you can see in the image below. As this will be an exercise in shadows I placed an eraser on the corner so that I can think about what the shadows look like as I progress through the work. I will leave the shadows until last, but I want to be sure of what I plan to do when I get there.

Here is the piece with some the shadows on the left in progress. My reference photos are scattered around. I am having trouble with the shadows and any advice in this area would be greatly appreciated. 

Above is the finished piece. I think I will try this style using gouache paint the next time I try it.


Gerald W. R. Ward ed., The Grove Encyclopedia of Materials and Techniques in Art.  Oxford University Press, Oxford 2008

Drawing and illustrating in the pre-digital time .

British Library, Online Illuminated manuscripts.

Carter, Patricia The Art of Illumination. Great Britain: Search Press, 2009.

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