Words: Baroness Aneleda Falconbridge with translation assistance from Baron Pellandres dit le Frere.
Illumination: Lady Ro Honig von Sommerfeldt
Inspiration: The Salzburg Missal
Paper: 11 x 14" Strathmore Series 300 Bristol Board, Vellum Finish
Pen: Brausse 0.5mm.
Size: The calligraphy all fits within a 5" diameter circle, including space for signatures. AMES guide 1:1 scale at a setting of 4, with minim:interlinear height spacing of 1:2. (In other words, tiny!)
Honig asked me to assist with the calligraphy on this project, and forwarded a link to the inspiration. She asked me to replace the center image with the text.
The text hadn't been written yet, and I was asked to provide input. I estimated I could probably fit 250-300 words into the center circle if I kept my calligraphy about the same relative size as the banner text in the original. Given the shape of the space, I suggested to Aneleda that a solid block of prose would be preferred to fill the circle evenly.
Aneleda took up the challenge and came back with just over 250 words of medieval French. This was my first time working on a piece in a foreign language.
Honig requested I finish the calligraphy as quickly as possible as she had limited time to work on the extensive gold and paint for this project. I was happy to oblige.
First, I copied some of the original text to test the line height and get a feel for the script.
Then I made myself a reference alphabet.
Finally, I did a test run of the first few lines to make sure the text would fill the circle as I planned. The computer mockup was made in Pages for the Mac, and is part of my process for making sure the text will fit in the planned space.
Happy with my test results, I prepared the final page. The circles were drawn with a compass, the outer circle has a diameter of 5", the inner circle is 4.75" so I have an eighth of an inch buffer. The guidelines were pencilled in, and I treated the surface with gum sandarac "pounce" before starting on the calligraphy. Here's another shot of the finished calligraphy with a pointed nib held under it to give a sense of scale.
Gold, paint & the stunning final result:
Then it was Honig's turn...
For more details on the words, their inspiration and the process she used, see Aneleda's blog post.
A tous nobles oyant ces dires issant de l'humble serviteur de leurs majestés Kenric et Avelina y voit grande joie.
Chanson m’estuet chanteir de la meilleur qui onques fust ne qui jaimais sera. Huimais ne dot mie que n’aie boen jour car sa grant dosour n’est nuns qui vois die. Mout a en li cortoizie et valour bien et bontei et charitei I a.
Qui est cette dame? Car celle l’ot fait, qui bien euvre de fil de soie et de fil d’or, c’est Cateline la Broderesse belle au chief noir.
Bele Cateline, a la fenestre au jor, sor ses genolz tient paile de color, a un fil I fet coustres beles, cost un fil d’or, l’autre de soie.
D’un boen samiz une robe cosoit; a son ami tramettre la ami, en sospirant, ceste chançon chantoit: “Sainte Clare, tant es douz li nons d’amors! Ja n’en cuidai sentir joie!” Tard la nuit travaille,. Telle la lune dans le ciel, un croissant d'argent.
Et Deus il voile merir toz les biens k’elle m’anvoie. Car se je mualz estoie ce diroie ju ensi, “dame, grant merci.”
Car temps est dores en avant de recorder des bons le bein, por animer celi qui a present sont adonnez a toute arte et service, tout bien et honneur.
Pour que soient reconnues ses nombreuses heures de service, qu'elle puisse joindre, telle broderie au tissu, l'ordre du Croissant d'Argent.
Mandé de par Kenric et Avelina, suzerains des Terres de l'Est, en l'occasion de la Fête des Rois dans leur fief d'Anglespur ce sixiesme jour du Janvier, anno sociatatis xxxxviij.
(assistance from Baron Pellandres dit le Frere)
To all a nobles who will take my recommendation as herald of Their Majesties Kenric and Avelina, I give joyous tidings.
I must sing a song about the best woman who ever was or will ever be. Henceforth I am not afraid of not having a good day, for her great sweetness, is greater than anyone can say. She is filled with courteousness and virtue, with goodness and kindness and charity.
Who is this lady? She who worked well in gold and silver thread and made it, beautiful dark haired Cateline la Broderesse.
Lovely Cateline, at the window in the light, has on her knees a cloth of bright color which she stitched beautifully with thread. She sews with one golden thread, another of silk.
She was sewing a robe of fine silk. She meant to send it to her friend, sighing all the while she was singing this song: "St. Clare, how sweet is the name of love! I never thought it would bring me such joy!” She works through the night. The moon shines down, a silver crescent in the sky.
May it please God to reward her for all the good things she sends me. For even if I were mute I would say this, “Many thanks my lady”
For now it is time to recall the good qualities of a worthy woman in order to inspire those who are presently devoted to art and service, goodness and honor.
To reward her long hours of service she is joined as silver threads to cloth to the Order of the Silver Crescent.
At the command of King Kenric and Queen Avenlina, Monarchs of the Eastern Realm, at the celebration of Feast of the Three Magi on Twelfth Night, in the Shire of Anglespur this Sixth Day of January, anno sociatatis xxxxviij.