In a previous post, I shared a scroll that I collaborated on with Lord Nicol. In fact, he has written words for all my scroll assignments up to that point. He also has written words for many, many other scrolls in the last year. On top of being my scribal partner in crime, I consider him a pretty close friend.
So, I when I heard that he was getting his Silver Brooch I practically begged for it (and I am very lucky to have a accommodating Tyger Clerk of the Signet). When I received the official assignment I suddenly realized who will I get to do his words? Nicol is a wordsmith so they’d have to be pretty special. There were options out there, we do have a lot of phenomenal wordsmiths locally but I felt that I had a lot to consider. As I was talking this over with my partner, who is also Nicol’s squire brother he asked if he could do the words. Of course, I thought this was a brilliant idea.
My partner has never done words before but is quite talented with a flair for the dramatic. I wasn’t worried about the quality of the words but I was worried about the timeline. I had a bit over a month from when my last scroll went out until this one was due and I couldn’t start the illumination until I got my words!
We talked through some ideas and we had a few. One, Nicol had done a live online video on writing words– that was very specific to his persona. Two, one the ridiculous drive to drop of my last scroll, we talked with him a lot about the ridiculous things that belong in a future Nicol scroll. So, I left him to write and eventually, he just spit all the words beautifully in a fit of inspiration, leaving me with plenty of time to illuminate.
For my illumination, I was challenged to include some bar and ivy and diapering. I wanted to scroll to fit his personality and his persona. The first idea I had was basing the design off of a famous french poet, Guillaume de Machaut. I liked the pieces but in the end it didn’t fit with what I needed for a variety of reasons. I also looked for the manuscript that Nicol mentioned in his video as perfect for his persona but apparently, it has not made its way into the virtual world yet.
Finally, I stumbled upon the Roman de la Rose, which was a gorgeous French manuscript that was copied over 300 times during the height of its popularity. This manuscript seemed to fit because it was visually stunning, gave me a lot of options for design (including bar and ivy and diapering), and was a romance.
I decided that I wanted to encompass all the parts of Nicol I know because he is a very complex man. To do this, I took the idea of having multiple scenes on one page, which was a popular design element in the original, to show Nicol on the battlefield writing about the glorious scenes he has witnessed, him in the privacy of his home wordsmithing, and him barding, reading or singing out loud. In the top scene I was able to poke fun at his wordiness by making parchment that was forever long and I was able to include his dog, not once but twice!
I am still working on the skill of painting actual people but, I believe this was an improvement in that area. For my calligraphy, I was able to modify a hand I had used on a scroll in the past, the rotunda script. I definitely feel like I’m becoming more comfortable with calligraphy.
So, the piece was done on pergemenata which I’m honestly not sure I was prepared for. Perg is difficult to get the right consistancy of paint so too much paint, it gets splotchy and the paper curls, and if you have too little paint, you can see right through it! The miniatum and gold went on easier than I expected but still not as easily as if I were to use bristol board. I used gouache, gilding, walnut ink, calli red ink, on pergemenata. I am generally happy with the results. 🙂
Our warrior gazes upon the field
An ocean of grass made red with blood
He removes his helm, sets down his shield
And finds his rest near rust and wood
Words by Lord Mathew MacGyver
So, this post was much longer than I intended. Thank you for sticking around and reading the whole post! I would always love to hear your comments and or critiques! Have a wonderful weekend,