Category Archives: Scribal Arts

Scroll: The Prayer Book of Michelino da Besozzo Folio 5

Folio 5 of the 1410 Italian Manuscript: The Prayer Book of Michelino da Besozzo

Baronial Level Scroll, Barony of Sacred Stone in Atlantia
Award: Defenders of The Sacred Stone
Recipient: Jenna Fairhaven
Completed: 23 Sept 2017

Scroll wording, design, calligraphy, penciling, inking, and painting all completed by Lady Prudence the Curious.

Materials Used
Paper – Winsor & Newton Artists’ Water Colour Paper HOT PRESS – 12 x 9 inch, 140 pound

Pen – Manuscript fountain calligraphy pen filled with Dr. Ph. Martin’s Black Star waterproof India Ink. Nib was B2 or B3.

Paint – Winsor & Newton Designers Gouche colors of Olive Green and Winsor Green for the leaves and vines (with highlights in Imitation Gold); Brilliant Violet and Light Purple (lightened a breath with Premium White) for the flowers, initial “J”, and scroll work around the initial and the “We” (with highlights in Premium White). Raised goldwork created with Liquitex Basic Acrylic Gesso tinged with red paint, and then covered in Winsor & Newton Calligraphy Ink – Gold. Some outlining – especially of the initial – done with Micron as well as Artist Loft illustration pens in the 0.1 to 0.5 range.

Pencil lines removed include scribal lines to write on, the outline for the initial, and the freeform of the vinework to figure out where the gold leaves needed to go.

Tools – Paint brushes, mechanical pencils, Westcott white eraser, Ames lettering guide, and T-square ruler. Water cups, eye drops, and small paint pallet were used to mix and store paints.

Challenges: In this case I took on the assignment when I shouldn’t. I have too many commitments, as always, but I so wanted to paint something, anything I took on five assignments with plenty of time – or so I thought. Pennsic troll just killed me. I ended up starting this two days before the event, which is good because the baronage move their court up a day to Friday evening. Otherwise the date on the scroll would have been wrong. I completed it early Saturday morning and brought it to the event to be given out.

I am very pleased with the scroll work around the opening letter and around the initial. This is something I had just started to work on before I packed up all my paints to move.

The flowers surprised me with the little bit of gold in the middle of each flower, and the leaves have a light hatchwork of gold for highlighting. I needed to add a breath of white to the Light Purple; WN Light Purple is very dark, but it was the best match to the other purple for the flower, so adding a little permanent white brought the color out a bit more for the eye to see – but also means the color will be impossible to match in the future.

What I would like to improve – the leaves and the flowers are not quite right for matching the original manuscript. The leaves were more rounded than pointed, except for the gold leaves. Some of the flowers are close in appearance and others are a little off.

I fought the fountain calligraphy pen the entire time. In my hiatus, Micheal’s art supply switched from two fairly good fountain pens (Panche and Os…something) to the much poorer quality product of Manuscript. I’m going to have to figure out how to use a dip pen because this is unacceptable. On the plus side the scrollwork around letters will only get better, as will the whitework and goldwork highlights. Still a whole new skillset to master will take years, worth it, but years.

Click on for full size version

Scroll Wording as meant to be read in court:
We are Marc Baron and Alianor Baroness. Know ye the Sacred Stone Baronial Birthday, on September twenty-second in the year of the Lord two thousand and seventeen and anno societas being fifty-two, we invited

Jenna Fairhaven

into Our Defenders of the Sacred Stone for her exemplary service as Baking Champion.

NOTE: “by our hands” was added as the calligraphy was being worked on because, well I didn’t have enough text on the final line to look balanced.


Poem: For Scribes To Give Birth

For Scribes To Give Birth

Take crude animal skins and soak in lye,
Then scrape the hair and sand the leather smooth.
Gently part it with a sharp knife lengthwise.
Each piece of parchment by maker approve.

Gemstones should be crushed with stone harsh and cruel.
An alchemist’s dream, alone dust remains.
Carbon black need be gathered; wax the fuel.
The ink to rival night is drawn from flame.

Next cut goose feathers at precise angles;
Pick horse-haired brushes for their perfect points.
Matchless ingredients do assemble,
And prayerfully with love of letters join.

A tome of beauty full of divine worth,
From pen and skill of hands the scribes give birth.



Lady Prudence the Curious

Written February 9, 1999; Published in the March 1999 Ironmonger


 A&S Competitions & Other Uses

Entered in Several A&S competitions and displays. Never won. For documentation, usually combined with the article: The Architecture of a Sonnet.