Tag: calligraphy

The Apprentice’s Manuscript

So things kept happening to get in the way of my properly apprenticing to Ollam Lanea (rainstorms, commitments, a pandemic), so when we finally were able to set a firm date, I lost my mind a little and decided to make her a gift for The Occasion. I decided to make her a book. Not any book — a book that contained two of her pieces, two of mine, and some other important items. Since I chose poems that incorporated our languages, I decided they had to be properly glossed. This is literally my third piece of calligraphy ever, my second with a proper pen, and I learned to bookbind over the summer by half-watching a dozen random YouTube videos. And because I knew Lanea would get a kick out of it, instead of documentation, I wrote a library catalog entry. I told you I lost my mind.

The Book

The Catalog Entry

Teach Folcadáin Bó Caitlin MS Ripton A.i

Date Inconsistently dated to both ~800 and 2021 (?)
Title The Apprentice’s Manuscript
Content The present volume contains 4 poems and some additional back matter (a short verse and a single sentence). Two poems, On Kings (ff. 2r-8v) and Song of Amergin (ff. 24r-29v) have been glossed by the original scribe. The glossing of On Kings indicates that the scribe was familiar with the language and attempted to keep a poetic translation in the gloss. However, they also excluded words that were the same in both texts, making it difficult to reconstruct the gloss’s original form. Inaccuracies in the glossing of Song of Amergin indicate that the scribe was not familiar with the language; E. Meredith (2021) has suggested that the scribe was attempting to combine two texts with only the vaguest understanding of Celtic languages.

Contents:
ff. 2r-8v: On Kings
ff. 9r-15r: On Returning Home
ff. 18r-22v: You Call Yourselves Bards?
ff. 24r-29v: Song of Amergin
f. 31r: Gawain and the Green Knight (?) excerpt
f. 32v: Back matter

Decoration: 5 illuminations, of a horse between three lozenges (f. 1r), a bird (f. 16r), a raven on a pall between three Brigid’s crosses (f. 17r), a great black dog (f. 23r), and a golden winged shoe (f. 30r). There are additional small decorations throughout, most significantly a decorated O on f. 18v.

Languages English, Modern
English, Old
Irish, Old (?)
Physical Description Materials: Pergamenata, Noodler’s Eel Black, Koh-I-Noor watercolor, FineTec gold and silver.

Dimensions: approximately 90 x 70 mm. No indication of trimming.

Foliation: ff. 32. There is one modern foliation sequence in the manuscript in pencil.

Layout: written in one column of four or eight lines to a page. All four-line pages contain glosses in a different language.

Script: Half-uncial. While the hand has similarities to the Book of Kells, as do some of the illuminations, the number of errors and uneven lines indicate an inexperienced scribe deeply in over their head.

Binding: Rebound in the first quarter of the 21st century by an enthusiastic amateur using green silk thread, cardboard, linen, leather, and PVA glue.

Origin, provenance Unknown; bears indicators of both 8th/9th-century Hiberno-Saxon traditions (especially Northumbrian) and 21st-century Nacirema techniques from Piscataway Nation territory.

Progress Pictures

Calligraphy in progress: printed text above with a page drying, ductus and practice below, and perg placed on top of the lined practice sheet.
Finished pages kept in order, with other pages drying and the text I was working from to the right.
Punching holes for binding into the folios with a guide. This page also has one of my favorite corrections.
Finished binding, with the first folio visible.
Binding glamour shot.

First Calligraphy

Layout and practice

I was so excited to do calligraphy for the first time! I calligraphed a beautiful scroll blank by Adelaide Halfpint inspired by the Ormesby Psalter (1250-1330).
While I had practiced a similar script (Batarde), I practiced the script from the Ormesby Psalter for this scroll, meaning that I learned a new hand for my first calligraphy! I used standard scroll text, as I didn’t want to hyperfocus on my own words the first time I calligraphed something.

 

Scroll being presented in court. Photograph by Kolfinna Valravn.