Saturday, November 28, 2015

Women's hands in medieval MSs

This tweet caught my attention, since most of the women in medieval MSs that I remember seeing (a) show their hands and (b) aren't necessarily praying. A very quick search of the Manesse Codex and the British Library turned up a number of examples of women holding swords, playing chess, dancing, being courted, holding books, hitting men, handing out tournament wreaths, etc. (in addition to a few praying). So I decided a rather more systematic account was necessary. In this post (which I will return to and edit as time allows), I'm going to give a classification of women's names in medieval manuscripts (starting with British Library ones, because they're easily accessible).

A few notes: I am omitting angels, since their gender is often difficult to determine (or absent), but I am including grotesques that have clearly identifiable female heads. I am going through the BL MSs via place of origin. I have completed indexing through "A".

So far, I have found only two identifiable women whose hands are not visible. The first is BL Royal 20 A XVII f. 33v; the woman appears in a tower, and we only see her upper half. The second is BL Harley 3687 f. 112v, a portion of a genealogy of the kings of France. The kings are depicted in full figure, but only the head of the queen is shown.

Woman not otherwise categorized

2 or 3q11thCAugsburgHarley 2908 f. 15v
2 or 3q11thCAugsburgHarley 2908 f. 64v
c1172ArnsteinHarley 2799 f. 57vWisdom, Prudence, Justice, and Fortitude
3q12thCAngersHarley 2833 f. 131vRuth
c1260ArrasYates Thompson 22 f. 149v
1310ArrasAdditional 38117 f. 161v
1q14thCAmiensSloane 1977 f. 50(1st, right; 3rd, left; 4th, mid)
1q14thCArrasRoyal 20 D IV f. 102v
1q14thCArrasRoyal 20 D IV f. 207
1q14thCArrasRoyal 20 D IV f. 237v
1q14thCArrasRoyal 20 D IV f. 260(right)
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 3v(left)
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 4
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 4v
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 6
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 7
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 7v
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 26
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 29
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 32v
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 33v
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 83
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 86
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 86v
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 119
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 120v
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 121
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 168
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 170v
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 171
c1390xc1400AvignonHarley 2979 f. 11
1409x1420Alzey/AltzeyArundel 117 f. 138v(right-hand)
c1430SalzburgEgerton 1121 f. 38
c1450AngersHarley 5370 f. 161v
2h15thCGermany or AustriaSloane 2560 f. 5
3q15thCAmiens or Hesdin or S. NLRoyal 17 F IV f. 65v(blue dress)

Woman praying

1229x1244Jerusalem/Acre?Egerton 2902 f. 14vMary
1q14thCAmiensSloane 1977 f. 9v(upper mid, right)
1q14thCArrasRoyal 20 D IV f. 168v
1q14thCArrasRoyal 20 D IV f. 187
1q14thCArrasRoyal 20 D IV f. 260(left)
c1390xc1400AvignonHarley 2979 f. 87v
c1450AmiensHarley 4418 f. 43v
c1450AmiensHarley 4418 f. 214v
c1450AngersHarley 5370 f. 68Mary at nativity
c1450AngersHarley 5370 f. 167
3q15thCAmiens or Hesdin or S. NLRoyal 17 F IV f. 232(uncertain)
c1500Angoulême or CognacKing's 7 f. 7Mary
c1500Angoulême or CognacKing's 7 f. 26

The annunciation (Mary)

1q14thCAmiensSloane 1977 f. 2
c1450AngersHarley 5370 f. 33

The visitation (Mary & Elizabeth)

1q14thCAmiensSloane 1977 f. 2

Woman at Crucifixion (not praying)

4q12thCAustria or GermanyHirsch III.934 f. 40v
3q13thCAcre or FranceEgerton 3153 f. 83
c1390xc1400AvignonHarley 2979 f. 83v

Woman carrying linens/cloth

1q14thCAmiensSloane 1977 f. 7v

Woman at Jesus's tomb

2 or 3q11thCAugsburgHarley 2908 f. 53v
1q14thCAmiensSloane 1977 f. 8

Mary's assumption/coronation

2 or 3q11thCAugsburgHarley 2908 f. 123v
1q14thCAmiensSloane 1977 f. 9v(upper mid)

Woman serving/holding dish

c1390xc1400AvignonHarley 2979 f. 13
1409x1420Alzey/AltzeyArundel 117 f. 138v(left-hand)
c1468xc1480Amiens or Hesdin or BrugesRoyal 15 D IV f. 112grotesque

Woman eating

1q14thCArrasRoyal 20 D IV f. 1

Woman getting married/embracing a man

c1450AmiensHarley 4418 f. 36
2h15thCGermany or AustriaSloane 2560 f. 6
2h15thCGermany or AustriaSloane 2560 f. 7
3q15thCAmiens or Hesdin or S. NLRoyal 17 F IV f. 65v(red dress)

Woman carrying child

c1172ArnsteinHarley 2799 f. 40Mary with Jesus
c1390xc1400AvignonHarley 2979 f. 51Mary with Jesus
c1390xc1400AvignonHarley 2979 f. 54Mary with Jesus
c1390xc1400AvignonHarley 2979 f. 176vMary with Jesus
c1450AngersHarley 5370 f. 104vMary with Jesus
c1500Angoulême or CognacKing's 7 f. 34Mary with Jesus
1516Antwerp?Royal 11 E XI f. 10vMary with Jesus

Woman holding clothing

1310ArrasAdditional 38117 f. 224

Woman holding a book

c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 5v

Woman holding a staff or sceptre (including pilgrims)

c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 5
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 100
2h15thCGermany or AustriaSloane 2560 f. 14

Woman holding a mirror

c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 104v

Woman holding a chaplet/wreath

c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 104v

Woman holding a wheel

1q15thCAvignonRoyal 20 C VIII f. 2v

Woman holding a shield/coat of arms

1h16thCAugsburgHarley 2953 f. 21

Woman holding weapon

3q15thCAmiens or Hesdin or S. NLRoyal 17 F IV f. 211

Woman holding unidentified objects

c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 3v(right)

Woman playing musical instrument

c1468xc1480Amiens or Hesdin or BrugesRoyal 15 D IV f. 50cithara

Woman dancing

c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 9

Woman bathing

3q15thCAmiens or Hesdin or S. NLRoyal 17 F IV f. 297
c1500Angoulême or CognacKing's 7 f. 54Bathsheba

Woman lying in bed

3q12thCAngersHarley 2833 f. 131vRuth

Woman visiting the doctor

1q14thCAmiensSloane 1977 f. 7v
1q14thCAmiensSloane 1977 f. 51v(3rd, right)

© 2015, Sara L. Uckelman. Last updated 29Nov15.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Laurel scroll text for Wencenedl of Rokesburg

Early fall I learned that a good friend was going to be laureled for her 12th C research, and I was honored to be asked by her laurel to contribute to the ceremony. Knowing I couldn't make it to the event, I volunteered my assistance coming up with a 12th C text. I took my primary inspiration from the Gelnhausen charter of 1180, a favorite of mine, though the opening and closing were heavily informed by the huge amounts of 12th C charters from all over Europe I've been working through lately. It reads:

In the presence of all gathered here as witnesses. Quilliam and Domhnail, by favour of might and inspiration, noble rules of the Ealdormereans. Since human memory is short and does not suffice for a crowd of things, the authority of those who preceded our age, noble princes and kings, has decreed that those things were to be written down which the progress of fleeting time generally removes from the knowledge of men.

Wherefore let the generality of the present as well as the future subjects of our empire know, that We by the common counsel of upright men do in accordance with all ancient, honorable, and noble laws and customs and regulations of our realm as established by our progenitors, on account of the urgent entreaties and desires of the peers and of very many others nobles, hereby call into our presence Baroness Wencenedl of Rokesburg who has by many marks and deeds set herself apart from others in our lands by distinction of her learned skill and knowledge the reports of which we have received from many witnesses of worthy report. We, therefore, after deliberating with the peers and by their common counsel, and through consideration of the merits through which our beloved Baroness Wencenedl has deserved the privilege of admittance into the rank of the peers of the real by promoting and upholding the honour of the crown, fearing neither expense nor personal danger, have lawfully conferred on her the right and rank of membership in the ancient and honorable Order of the Laurel and with that every right and responsibility, that pertain to said status. Having asked an opinion from the peers as to whether this should be done, when an affirmative one was been given and approved by the common consent of the whole court, we did solemnly invest, through royal custom and standard, the aforesaid Baroness Wencendel with all appurtenances appropriate thereto.

We do confirm, therefore, this lawful act and investiture of our noble cousin to the Order of the Laurel before all present and to all their successors. And wishing this to remain valid unto all posterity, we forbid by royal edict that any one, with rash daring, infringe it or in any way attempt to violate the said Wencendel's new status and rank; and we validly corroborate this our decree by the present patent. Facta est ergo XIV Novembris anno quinquaginta Quillelmo et Douenalla regibus regnantibus in Ealdormere. Signum [] rege. Signum [] regina. Signum [] principe. Signum [] principissa. Signum [] barone. Signum [] barone. Signum [] baronissa. Signum [] cellaria.

I really hoped the king and queen would be willing to have other witnesses beyond themselves to sign, and provided a text that would allow for not only them but also the prince and princess, Wencenedl's husband, who is a baron, the baron and baroness of the group hosting the event, as well as the event steward. (I also planned to have Wencenedl's laurel sign it...except that she already would have been in her guise as princess!

The scroll was calligraphed and illuminated by Dame Asa Gormsdottir, and she has given me permission to share these images:

Wencenedl Wencenedl

© 2014, Sara L. Uckelman.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ffraid for Antonio di Rienzo Ruspoli





The initials are taken from the Macclesfield Alphabet.

The text was composed Oct. 14 as a commentary on Bernardo Davanzati's Discourse Upon Coins and reads:

Incipit verbis Alexandri et Eularie principum Insulenses, liber commentarii de tractato super pecunia Bernardi Davanzati.

The Sun and Internal Heat do Separate, as it were by Distilla tion, the best juices in the Bowels of the Earth percolated and there congeal'd & ripen'd & made into Metals: the most rare and perfect of which are Gold and Silver

Service rendered freely and humbly is like the sun, for like the sun labors rendered unto princes and populace do separate out the dross of men from the precious metals whose measure of worth is beyond nature.

Now, Gold and Silver contribute very little in their own nature to our Lives, yet Men have agreed to make those Metals the Price and Measure of all. We may therefore call them the second Causes of a happy Life. These are likewise the reasons why many have made them their Gods, seeing them perform almost impossibilities. The known Fable of Jupiter's descending into Danae's Lap in a shower of Gold signifies nothing else, but the Miracles which Gold can work.

But our lives are built upon that which contributes all of itself by its own nature, and thus is more precious than either gold or silver. We may therefore call service the first cause of a happy life, and by such measure no man is more happy than our beloved cousin Baron Antonio di Rienzo Ruspoli, whose performance is more than impossible, liken'd unto the miracles worked by Jupiter:

Mighty loins & longsword carried high,

Preening proud & serving strong for hours,

Leaning with his leanly muscled thigh,

A prodigious younger Jove in bosky bowers.

We discourse on these matters not for your entertainment but for your instruction, & since example is the finest teacher, we set before all so that they may see the splendor of his deeds which outshines gold our worthful & golden cousin Antonio, whom we gild further as a member of our order of Ffraid on this day.



The couplet is a quote from one of the most inestimable poets of our land, Madame Lyonet de Covenham.

I mostly finished the initial and the incipit on Oct. 16; on Oct. 18, I did the first two paragraphs of text and commentary, including initials, and did the shading on the main capital. I finished all but the final paragraph of text on Oct. 19. Finished the calligraphy on Oct. 21. Final finishes on Oct. 22.

© 2015, Sara L. Uckelman.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

AoA for Marx Rosenberg


Combat scroll for Marx Rosenberg. With the advent of a new Prince and Princess of ID, there were a few awards that needed scrolls on the day. I volunteered to help out Ari Mala, and she brought her big folder of blanks around for me to dig through. Lo and behold, what did I find? One I'd done myself. I figured it was appropriate to end up doing the calligraphy on it!

It's been nearly a year since I've done any scribing, which means I didn't get quite the right combination of nib size and line size, meaning I had much less space for writing than expected. I would've loved to have put the full blazon in, since Marx had arms registered already, but instead decided to paint in his arms and then refer to them. Drawing the arms was a bit of a revelation, in that I did it entirely freehand (albeit with the image up on my phone so I had something to look at while drawing.) Years ago, I would never have believed anyone who told me someday I'd be able to draw freehand. I'm quite happy with how the arms came out.

The text reads:

We, Alexandre and Eularia, prince and princess of Insula Draconis, to our right-trusty and well-beloved servant Marx Rosenberg, greetings. Know that in consequence of the many good reports we have received, we by our royal right do award you full rights to the arms depicted plainly below. Dat. viij aug. a.s. xxxxx.

© 2015, Sara L. Uckelman.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Panache for Paul O Briain


This was a long-overdue backlog scroll. During our stepping down court, Paul and I wanted to make a real Renaissance man -- brewer, fletcher, illuminator, archer, fencer, and more -- a member of the Order of Panache. I wanted an especially neat scroll for him, in recognition of this, so I asked Herrin Appollonia Grunenzweig if she could do a Catherine of Cleves-style archery-themed blank for me.

Unfortunately, the blank didn't reach me before the event, and it has then sat and mouldered through two international moves, two new jobs, and not enough free time, until I finally said this is it, I'm going to finish the scroll up in time for Crown Tourney -- which happened to be Crown Tourney 3 years after the one that we won, at the same site.

I only got the one picture, and I composed the text on the fly so I don't have a transcription of it (yet); I will hopefully have time to sit down some time and reconstruct one.

© 2015, Sara L. Uckelman.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Lindquistringes for Arianhwy Wen


I have been waiting to do this scroll for ages, and had the exemplar picked out for nearly as long (the exemplar is Oxford Bodleian MS Auct. D.4.6., fol. 91r). When I got the assignment Nov. 3, I had to get work right away -- sketched out the initial and put in the words. :) Nov. 14 (I think?) I painted in the frame of the letter and the green flourishes on the left. Nov. 17 I finished painting the inside flourishes. Then, the fun of drawing out the lines, which I did Nov. 18.

I composed the text that evening, and it reads:

Domina Arianuia Alba quae dicitur Gemina Mala, scriptrix, sag ittaria, callida doctaque, serviens Drachenwaldensis est autem hinc ordonis anuli lindquisti. Fit manibus Leifi regis et Morriganae reginae xxix novembris xlix.

In translation, this is:

Lady Arianhwy Wen who is called the Evil Twin, scribe, archer, cunning and learned, servant of Drachenwald is moreover henceforth of the Order of the Lindquistringe. Done by the hands of Leif king and Morrigan queen, 29 November 49.

I left it at that as I wasn't sure what to write for the subtext yet; I didn't want to merely translate. I wrote the subtext on Nov. 21, and was extremely pleased with the end result. I hope she likes it, for it was made with lots of love and affection.

Here's a close-up of the initial:


© 2014, Sara L. Uckelman.

AoA for Thora Greylock


I chose the initial, Codex Gottwicensis 30 (2), f. 206v, on Nov. 1. The design was influenced by other folios in the same codex, specifically f. 204v, f. 235v, and f. 85v. I started sketching things out the same day, and finished the lining on the next.

I waited awhile uncertain what color to do the silver/grey bits in -- silver leaf? (don't have any.) cerulean? (don't have any; and what I found on line just didn't look right). ultramarine? (it would work as a color combo with gold and vermillion, but wouldn't really match the exemplar). And then Nov. 4 I found this grey/blue that I'd mixed for another scroll, and decided it was a good choice, and painted in the "N". After finding my gold size (hurrah!) on Nov. 8, I put down the first layer on Nov. 9. The next few days were busy with birthday celebrations for one important now-3-year-old, but on Nov. 12 I got out the gold. Shiny! Even more shinier Nov. 13, after I cleaned up the gilding and painted in the red. Nov. 20 I did the calligraphy. I think I picked the wrong nib. There was not enoug white space.

The text was composed while writing, and reads:

Nasr and Eleanor prince and princess of insula draconis to all those seeing, reading, or hearing these words shall likewise know our will. Thora greylock has, for all her contributions as archer, scientist, and artisan, for all her enthusiasm and inspiration, made our lands better. We for our part better her by awarding her all rights to her arms. Witness ourselves at coronet tournament xxix november xlix.

Nov. 21 was finish-up day: I did the red punctuation and the two smaller initials.

© 2014, Sara L. Uckelman.