Friday, October 4, 2013

Baronial Investiture for Sylvia & Ane du Vey - Sept 28, A.S. XLVIII

Project: Endewearde's Baronial Investiture scroll, given to Ane & Sylvia du Vey on Sept 28, A.S. XLVIII
Words: by Aneleda Falconbridge
Paper: Strathmore 300 series Bristol Board, Vellum Finish
Pens: #5 Mitchell Rexel Round Hand nib for the letters & a fine point dip nib for the flourishes.
Ink: Walnut Crystal Ink

Above is the finished calligraphy & flourishes prior to erasing the pencil lines and sending the scroll off to Christiana Crane for gold & paint.

The inspiration is from the "Metrical lives of Saints Edmund and Fremund", which was created in the 1430s. Christiana sent me the link, and asked only that I leave enough border space around the text for her gold and paint. I asked Aneleda if she could provide text in metered verse such that the final piece would have three "paragraphs" of 6-8 lines of similar length to match the original, which she graciously did.

A closer look at both...

I really like the original's...
  • lowercase 'a' - Notice how it sticks up above the normal height of the minims. It also has a fairly unique shape compared to other lowercase a's I have encountered.
  • lowercase 'd' - Again, it stands out to me, the thick stroke on the bottom at an "odd" angle.
  • looseness of hand - It appears to me that the original scribe was relaxed and quick with his quill.
  • flourishes - the doodles between paragraphs are also relaxed and fun.
I'm happy with...
  • my letter forms - overall I'm very happy with how my letters match the original in shape, height and weight.
  • my spacing within the lines between the letters and words - I could probably be picky and make the spaces between words just a bit smaller...
  • the pen flourishes I added - Other than one at the top, I didn't sketch any of them first, just grabbed my fine point and played... Those who know me well may understand how big a step it is for me to just doodle like that...
  • my looseness of hand - I've been called "a machine" as a compliment on a few occasions in reference to the fact that I am often very very consistent. So it takes a bit of work to loosen up, let go and speed up on a piece like this. There's a fine line between "messy" calligraphy and a hand that shows that it was scribed by a person due to the subtle variations. I think I was able to relax and show some of that with this project.
I could have done better with...
  • my line spacing - I left a little bit too much space between lines, and it doesn't look right to me. It looks even worse to my eye once the pencil lines are removed.
  • the angle & weight of the downstrokes on my f's and long s's - I'm so used to them having an extreme angle in many of the secretary hands I've copied that I seem to have automatically done the same here.
Other rambling thoughts...

From my experience, most artists can nitpick their own work to death if given even half a chance. I'm certainly no different. Part of this process is helpful, we can't improve our art unless we can see what to improve upon. I feel like I'm getting better at relaxing about the small things that don't matter, while still being able to focus on areas to improve.

I plan on making a lesson page on the subject of the intended audience/recipient of a piece, but want to talk a little about it as it pertains to this project... I felt completely comfortable using the period long s, and experimenting being a bit "loose" with the calligraphy on this piece. I personally know the recipients and believe that they could and would appreciate something done in a very medieval style. That's not always the case, sometimes as a calligrapher I have to focus on making the text easier to read.


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