Even though I wasn’t able to go to Lilies War this year for varying reasons, I still had scrolls that made it to Lilies.
The first scroll was assigned from Calontir Battle Scribes. Calontir Battle Scribes allows people to ask for scrolls for prizes at events, allowing people to attempt original pieces with regard to text and illumination. The text was written by Joan Myssenden. This particular scroll was the prize for the Unranked Steel Tournament, was based a mashup of a couple of pages of this particular exemplar. I’ve used this exemplar before – the trompe-l’œil effects of a scroll resting on top of a patterned background is one of my favourites, and it uses quite a bit of purple paint, which meant that I felt I could justify my own use of purple paint.
Of note with this scroll: while I’ve not completely stopped doing TinyScrolls™, I’ve started heading towards scrolls with some real estate. This one, though, totally counts as a TinyScroll™, even if it’s technically an 8.5″ x 11″ scroll – the scroll part, where all the text is, was not, measuring about 4 inches tall. I used a 3/4mm Brause nib to do the calligraphy, with the ink made by Private Reserve (Black Velvet). I use fountain pen inks to preserve my nibs (I’m a cheap artist who wants to preserve their stuff as long as possible), as both walnut and iron gall inks are incredibly acidic and can dissolve nibs.
The scroll itself is a mashup of two different pages – I used the fleurs from this page, and the rest of the scroll layout came from this page. I used most of my handmade paint palettes, with the except of the gold, which was made by Finetec. Of note, the green on the side illumination in the scroll was made by combining indigo and Italian golden ochre on my palette, which created this lovely leaf green. Cennini, in Il Libro dell’ Arte, talks of making a similar green from indigo and orpiment, but as orpiment is arsenic sulfide and will kill you dead if used improperly (he even says so!), I used a safer alternative. (of note, orpiment is also a much more of a school bus yellow, whereas Italian golden ochre is a bit more brown. I may attempt to make this combination using a safer alternative to orpiment, like a cadmium yellow pigment or with Stil de Grain, which is a lake pigment made from buckthorn, which was known in period per Theophilus in On Divers Arts.)
Not only did I have this scroll, but I also had a scroll assignment from Their Majesties to also have completed. I was assigned Olivia Scarritt’s Boga Hus, with scroll text written by Da’ud ibn al-Kabsh al-Ma’iz al-Garnati, called Ma’az. I wasn’t given too many guidelines; Olivia doesn’t really have much of a persona, and the suggestion I was given was to create a scroll with the text and an arrow and the medallion with the badge of the order.
It is me, however, so I went through a couple of manuscripts and kept coming back to the Rothschild Prayerbook for inspiration. The Rothschild Prayerbook is a manuscript done in either Bruges or Ghent in the early part of the 1500s (c.1505-1510). Unlike the Rothschild Prayerbook, I did oversize this scroll to get in the detail I wanted. (The extant is about 8″x6″, Olivia’s scroll is 17″x11″.) I also replaced the European flora and fauna with North American flora and fauna, specifically found in parts near the Lilies site in Smithville, Missouri. I again used my Brause nib and Private Reserve (Black Velvet) ink for the calligraphy to fit everything in.
While I ended up using most of my handmade paints on this (the Italian golden ochre is a fabulous background for this), I did have to resort to using quite a few modern paints because I didn’t have the right paint mixed up in my period paint kit. (I’m still looking for a safer alternative to realgar, which is also arsenic sulfide and will also kill you about as dead as it would for orpiment if used improperly. It is also a gorgeous orange and would have been perfect for the monarch butterfly.)
That said, I’m most pleased with the Iris versicolor (Blue flag iris), especially with the veining. This was done with a 20/0 Velvetouch Mini Monogram Liner with handmade indigo paint over the handmade purple (2:1 mixture of manganese violet and ultramarine pigments in binder), titanium white, and cadmium yellow paints. The shadow was done with diluted burnt umber paint, taking care to make sure that the shadow was darker closer to the object and lighter further away.
While I’m a little sad that I couldn’t make Lilies work this year, I am glad to see that people were able to be recognized and I’m glad I could be a part of that. (A huge thanks to Ayisha, Violet, and Their Majesties for letting me play.)