Thursday, February 27, 2014

Phillip the Reed - Serjeanty - a.s. xxxxviii


Project: Serjeanty for Master Phillip Reed the Facetious.
Words: His Majesty, Kenric aet Essex.
Paper: Natural Heavy Weight Pergamenata.
Pen: Hiro Rond #5. Minim height is 4 nib widths with a 1:3 ratio for minim:interlinear space.
Ink: Walnut Crystal.
Size: 9.5" wide by 7.5" tall, including space for signatures.

I was asked if I was up for a calligraphy only scroll. The recipient's persona is from Southern England and just after the year 1200. The Magna Carta seemed like the perfect choice as an inspiration.


See my article on learning a hand from a period source for more details about how I copied this hand. Below you can see the original I used as inspiration.



Here's a detail shot of with the pencil guidelines I used still intact.



I really like the original's...
  • lowercase 'a' - It sticks up above the normal height of the minims. I'm finding more and more examples of period scribes doing interesting things with this letter.
  • lowercase 'd' - The ascender at its 45° angle and heavier weight really stands out in the original. 
  • uppercase letters - Especially on the first line. Uppercase letters are frequently tough for SCA scribes, as modern text often has many more uppercase letters than period text. In this case, I had ample examples, and they are quite interesting.
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.
  • the overall style and feel of the document.
I could have done better with...
  • line weight - The ascender on the lowercase d in the original really stood out on the page. It doesn't stand out as much on my version. Part of this on the original appears to be due to how much the ink faded on the lighter strokes in comparison to the heavier stroke on the d. It's possible that the original looked more like mine when it was finished. I do have a heavy hand, so the strokes that make up the body of my letters are fairly dark.

Other thoughts

The original contains a lot of abbreviations and language-specific flourishes that I just don't know enough about to feel comfortable incorporating. For example, you can see a lot of horizontal strokes floating above the letters. The fact that my version lacks those strokes changes the feel. Hopefully I can learn about this enough in the future that I feel comfortable incorporating such features into my piece.