, 23 tweets, 11 min read
My Authors
Read all threads
It’s time for more #medievalstuffwithcats! I made this zodiac illumination. If you want to know a bit more about the process, read on… ImageImage
The zodiac roundels come from the calendar in British Library, Royal MS 1 D X bl.uk/manuscripts/Vi… (note that some of the roundels are not exactly round) ImageImage
I decided to do this illumination because I want to start working on larger pieces of parchment. I used 8” x 10” (a bit smaller than A4). This feels like a decent size for a folio, although if we were working in a scriptorium this would be double the size and folded in the centre Image
I know this is the hair side of the parchment, mainly because the nice people at William Cowley have marked it with a tick. But it also has these little brown dots which are hair follicles. Here’s a magnified image of them ImageImage
The hair side is always better to work on as it has a bit more friction on the surface, whereas the skin side is waxier and a bit more resistant to ink and paint. Some people can tell by the colour and texture what side it is, but I don’t have enough faith in my abilities ImageImage
The parchment on the right is goat, which is clearly a different texture to the vellum. That’s about as far as I’m prepared to go on parchment identification Image
Even though I was using the roundels from BL, Royal MS 1 D X, I still needed to plan out the layout. This took ages - making sure the roundels were in the centre of each cell and that the writing was spaced evenly. It really hurt my head Image
But with the parchment costing about £30 a sheet, I couldn’t afford to make any stupid mistakes (although of course I did). Once I had the layout planned on paper, I used a light box to trace the image Image
I’ll keep the plan to use as a template. I’d like to do one for the labours of the months as well ImageImageImageImage
Then I prepared the vellum, using pounce to soak up any excess grease, and gum sandarac on the areas where I was going to write. Chloe checks it out the quality Image
I did the script first, using my iron gall ink and a quill, on a slanted writing surface. I used a dip pen for the red and blue coloured ink, because I used a much thicker nib for the capital letters ImageImageImage
Then I applied the gesso and left to dry overnight (caveat - I am not a calligrapher or an artist. I just do this because I want to research manuscript production) Image
Next up, the gold was adhered to the gesso Image
For a quick look at how to apply gold leaf, here's a video
Then the painting. At this point I realised I’d started off alternating with the wrong colour backgrounds – I started with the pinky colour, then blue. Probably doesn’t matter, I thought. But it did, because the whole colour scheme of the main images complemented the background Image
Medievals – 1
Book Historians – 0
It wasn’t a massive problem, it just meant I had to scrape off all the paint and start again – so it was a waste of time and materials, and wouldn’t have impressed the head scriptrix. Ten Hail Marys for me
And then Leoba needed to test the quality of the water
I decided to erase the grid lines from this, but I could have left them – you still see them in many medieval manuscripts Image
These chaps are my favourites. Btw, if anyone has an issue with the taxonomy of the crab and the scorpion, I would invite them to peruse any medieval bestiary. And also the hashtag #notalion Image
I put the finishing touches on this morning. It's so nice at this time of year to have some natural sunlight to work in! Image
Leoba thoroughly enjoyed ‘helping’ me. At one point she managed to dip her ridiculous Basil Brush tail in some yellow paint and smear it all over Libra, Virgo and Aquarius. How I used to laugh when I saw medieval cat foot prints in manuscripts. Twitter, I do not laugh now.
And so that’s it, really. I think the planning was the hardest bit, so as usual, doing this has shown me again how practised and skilled medieval illuminators were, and how 21st century book historians are not fit to hold their quills 😆 Image
Sorry for the long thread! But if you are interested in making #irongallink and #gesso, I also have these threads

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh.

Enjoying this thread?

Keep Current with Sara Charles

Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!