Thursday, December 3, 2015

Ffraid for Margaret de Mey

Margaret Margaret Margaret Margaret

There may indeed have been some whooping and shouting when this assignment came in. I knew immediately I wanted something small, delicate, floral, and incorporating heraldic display. A search through my saved MS links for 'heraldry' gave me BL MS Harley 7026 f. 9, which was basically exactly what I was looking for. I also wanted to make it extra special for a dear friend, and knew I wanted to use my vellum for it.

It turns out that I have one large piece of vellum (which I didn't want to cut in to) and one small side piece, from which I could only get a rectangle 9.3cm x 8cm. So that cut down the potential size!

I did this over the course of four evenings (~1.5-2 hours the first three, and 3 the final one). First evening was cutting down the parchment and blocking and sketching. The next I inked the design in; the third, I painted the base coats and put down the size. The last night, I did the white work and guilded, and then composed and calligraphed the text, which reads:

Per hanc chartulam Margaret de Mey fecit sociam ordonis Brigidae. Alexander et Eularia faciunt hoc, datum apud Flintheath .v. December .l. Signum princibus.

In translation it reads: "By this little charter Margaret de Mey has been made a companion of the order of Ffraid. Alexander and Eularia do this. Dated at Flintheath the 5th of December (a.s.) 50. Signed by the princes." The benefit of writing a text which uses a lot of period-style formulations is that I could find abbreviations for basically everything (except Flintheath and Eularia) in Cappelli. I am stinkin' pleased with how this came out.

© 2015, Sara L. Uckelman.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Fox for Joel Ben Stuart


The exemplar is BL MS Harley 647 f. 13. As soon as I received the assignment, I knew I wanted to do something in this style, so I set about looking for words in the same of dogs. Because what makes a fox a fox? The fact that it is colored red. I did up a complete version on Nov. 27, and at the end did what I've rarely done: Decided there were enough mistakes that I was going to scrap it and completely start over. I would have had to scrape too many words, and I realized I'd missed one altogether, and the spacing on one of the legs wasn't quite right. I could do better. The recipient deserved better. And the first version took about an hour, so I knew the second one could be done better at least as quickly. I calligraphed the second version Nov. 29, and did the painting Nov. 30. This version was much better!

The text reads:

Alexander et Eularia divina providente clementia principes Insulenses Ioelo Beno Stuarto dilecti serventi et bellatori valenti. Swift as a fox and fully as wily your renown precedes you throughout the kingdom and yet it is in our dragon isles that you provide your constant shield and support. By these words we mark you as a true fox of our lands, as brave and as bold. Done six December A.S. fifty by our hands.

The Latin opening translates: Alexandre and Eularia by divine providing clemency insular princes to Joel Ben Stuart beloved servant and valient warrior. The "divina providente clementia [title]" bit comes from a charter of Rudolf III of Burgundy dating to 1014.

© 2015, Sara L. Uckelman.

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 four cases of 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. The third is BL Additional 14761 f. 28v, of a family at a seder table; only the hands of the head of the family are visible. The fourth is BL Additional 27210 f. 4v, where a woman stands with her hands tucked into her sleeves.

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)
2q14thCBarcelona?Additional 27210 f. 2vEve (upper left); Noah's wife (lower left)
2q14thCBarcelona?Additional 27210 f. 3(lower left)
2q14thCBarcelona?Additional 27210 f. 4v(upper right)
2q14thCBarcelona?Additional 27210 f. 9
2 or 3q14thCBarcelonaOriental 2884 f. 2v
2 or 3q14thCBarcelonaOriental 2884 f. 4v
2 or 3q14thCBarcelonaOriental 2884 f. 11v
2 or 3q14thCBarcelonaOriental 2884 f. 12v
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
1455BarcelonaEgerton 1150 f. 21vLot's wife (upper right)
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
2 or 3q14thCBarcelonaOriental 2884 f. 16
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

2 or 3q14thCBarcelonaOriental 2884 f. 16v
c1340Artois or PicardyRoyal 20 A XVII f. 9

Woman bathing

2q14thCBarcelona?Additional 27210 f. 9
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 01Dec15.

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.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Silver Martlet for Katherine of Great Chesterford


I received the assignment 19 August, and picked out an examplar the same day. Two days later, I changed my mind, having seen a British Library blog post featuring Harley MS 7026, f. 13r with the most fantastic little dragon and dragonfly combination. I knew I had to do it!

The sketching, inking, painting, and gilding took about 15 hours over the course of the next three weeks (slightly hampered by attending a conference during one of them; I brought my paints, brushes, and the scroll along thinking I might work on the white-work, but yeah, that didn't happen. So this left me last night with all the calligraphy and all the gilding (the actual putting down of the gold; I'd put the size on the night before) to do. Two hours for the gilding, two hours for the calligraphy made for a late night, but I'm really pleased with the outcome.

The text reads:

Omnibus fidelibus ad quos presentium noticia pervenerit, Alexander et Eularia, principes Insulsenses, in domino salutem.

In ancient days of old our noble ancestors of blessed memory did establish a company of artisans and scientists skilled in all manner of kenning and craft, to which it is our royal right and prerogative to add and augment with all such of our land who have distinguished themselves in like fashion, and one such whose talents with pen and brush brings her reknown throughout the land is Katherine of Great Chesterford. For the advancement of her and the glory of our lands we the aforesaid princes by these presents to create the said Katherine a member of the Order of the Silver Martlet. Actum apud Thamesreach, anno societatis l, datum per manum Arianhwie dicte Bone, xii Septembris ad festum beate nomine. Hic testamur.

The Latin phrases read in translation: "Alexander and Eularia, Insular princes, to all the faithful whose notice may come to these presents, greetings in the lord" and "Acted at Thamesreach, in the year of the society 50, dated by the hand of Aryanhwy called Good, the 12th of September on the feast of the blessed name. Here we witness.

For the last year or so I have been working extensively with Latin charters, in which I have found it is extremely common for the scribe who wrote the charter to be named explicitly, especially in royal or papal charters. I think this is something that we should actively promote in the SCA.

The recipient ended up leaving the event before court due to illness, so the award was pushed off for a later event. I amended the date to reflect this, by adding "confirmamus ix ian", nicely abbreviated.

Here are a variety of images during the process (click for larger versions):

Katherine Katherine Katherine Katherine Katherine Katherine Katherine Katherine Katherine Katherine Katherine

© 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.