Inks, papers, calligraphic styles

НазваниеInks, papers, calligraphic styles
Дата конвертации13.05.2013
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calligraphy-msg - 2/5/08

Inks, papers, calligraphic styles.

NOTE: See also the files: callig-suppl-msg, inks-msg, parchment-msg, paper-msg, quills-msg, sealing-wax-msg, alphabets-msg, early-books-msg, wax-tablets-msg.



This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at:

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

Thank you,

Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous

Stefan at



Date: 17 Nov 89 05:06:00 GMT

Organization: Society for Creative Anachronism

Greetings once again from Sarra Graeham, who evidently finds posting to

the Rialto *much* more fun than working on scrolls . . . (sigh)

Most of the books recommended so far are lovely picture books that give

many good ideas about what to do, but say very little about how to do

it. If I were to get someone started on calligraphy with books, these

would be my choices:

Drogin, Marc. _Medieval Calligraphy: Its History and Technique_, Allanheld

and Schram, Montclair, 1980.

Available in most major university libraries, and still in print, this is

the *best* book for our purposes in existence. Gives step-by-step instruc-

tions for each hand so simple a rank novice can follow it, and is chock full

of pictures of actual manuscripts. Accept no substitutes.

Bain, George. _Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction_, Dover Publications

Inc., New York, 19??.

Gives wonderfully clear instructions about how knotwork and all the other

goodies in Celtic art is done. Ignore his instructions on how to do Celtic

calligraphy, though, and use Drogin instead.

Angel, Marie. _Painting for Calligraphers_, ?? (Sorry, don't own the book)

Although this is a modern book, it has some good instructions about painting

technique, tools, media, etc., all with the needs of a calligrapher in mind.

Thompson, Daniel V. _The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting_,

Dover Publications Inc., New York, 1956. ISBN 0-486-20327-1

Not a book for the rank beginner, but an excellent research work on how

exactly the medievals went about painting. The author has done a lot of

research on the actual chemistry of medieval art.

Hope this helps.

Sarra Graeham, Ealdormere Signet | Heather Fraser

Canton of Greyfells, Midrealm | Kingston, Ontario, CANADA

From: joshua at (Joshua Mittleman)

Date: 17 Nov 89 18:02:06 GMT

Organization: Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, N.J.

hello there! Long time no post. Some new info on scribe sources for


1) George Braziller publishers has moved. I'll post the new address

on monday. They are now on Madison Ave. in NY city.

2) Marc Drogin's book _Medieval Calligraphy..._ is out of print, but

is due BACK IN PRINT as of November 17 by Dover books in paperback.

Your local bookstore should be able to order it in 1 week. I'll post

their address (they have SUPER catalogs) monday as well.

From: norteman at ("My brain is hanging upside-down.")

Date: 22 Nov 89 14:45:18 GMT

Organization: Society for Creative Anachronism


Greetings, all, from Ariel.

Thanks to Fionnghuala (and Rayah) for the excellent list of sources for


I plan to send for everything that I don't already get!

Here's the address of another bookshop I often visit. Their main business is

in books about books and collectors' editions of certain authors, but their

interests have branched out into bookbinding, calligraphy and illumination,

and the making of books before printing.

The Colophon Bookshop

(Robert and Christine Liska, props.)

117 Water Street

Exeter, NH 03833

Write for their book lists, which come out bimonthly (or more often,


Most of what they sell won't be of interest to the mediaeval scribe, but I've

found some real treasures through them.

William: Thanks for the description of the half-hour scroll. My "quickies"

usually take two hours or more, but I still want to make sure that even those

will survive the ravages of time. I never use marker for anything -- I've seen

ten-year-old scrolls done with markers (or signed in marker) in which the ink

has all but disappeared.

The best SCA publication I've ever seen on scribal stuff is Crossed Quills,

More [Y,n]?

the Midrealm calligraphers' newsletter. Does anyone from the Midrealm


have Beryl de Folo's address handy and can post it to this forum? Anyway, I

recommend this newsletter VERY highly for the wealth of useful information

it contains: facsimiles of historical hands, sample layouts in different

styles, illumination techniques and samples... scribes everywhere should find

it fascinating. Best of all, you can barter photocopies or slides of your

work for issues!

Enough from this ink-stained wretch.

--Ariel of Caer Myrddin (Karen J. Norteman)

Shire of Malagentia (Portland, Maine)

East Kingdom

The most recent address I have for FoLump Enterprises is: 805 East Green #1,

Urbana IL 61801. It's about six years old, so it may or may not work.

From: norteman at (Casting runes on the rooftops)

Date: 16 Jan 90 20:04:31 GMT

Organization: Society for Creative Anachronism

Greetings, all, from Ariel.

Marc Drogin's book Mediaeval Calligraphy: Its History and Technique has just

hit the bookshelves again, after a long absence. This time it's been


by Dover Books.

You can order it by mail if it's not at your friendly local bookstore. Price

is $10.95, order number 0-486-26142-5. The publisher is:

Dover Publications, Inc.

31 East 2nd Street

Mineola, NY 11501

Yo Carolingians! Barilleri Books, the new bookstore in Harvard Square, has a

whole bunch of copies. They're 10% off, too.

For those of you not familiar with Drogin's book, this is a must-have. Drogin

discusses the history of mediaeval calligraphy from AD 400 till the end of

the 15th century, "after which that instrument of the Devil, the printing


was invented and changed the course of calligraphic history" (quote his).

Drogin also talks about the alphabets, the materials used, the scribes them-

selves, and even the patron demon of calligraphy, Titivullus. There are lots

of writing samples, actual bits of documents to look at, and (of course) a

heavy dose of Drogin's humour.

Go out and get this book, or get the acquisitions librarian or your local

Guild head to order it. Trust me -- this is well worth having.

--Ariel of Caer Myrddin (Karen J. Norteman)

Shire of Malagentia (Portland, Maine)

East Kingdom

From: aiden at NCoast.ORG (Steven Otlowski)

Date: 9 Apr 91 23:35:14 GMT

Organization: North Coast Public Access Un*x (ncoast)

Problems with ink bleeding can also be helped by using Gum Sandarac. It

can be mail ordered from a number of calligraphy shops. It is a tree gum

resin. If finely powdered and dusted onto the paper it helps prevent

bleeding. It is also particularly usefull if you have made a correction

and injured the original "sizing" on the paper.

Aiden Elfeadur -

From: amanda at (Amanda Walker)

Date: 23 Jul 91 15:06:09 GMT

Organization: Visix Software Inc., Reston, VA

DICKSNR at ("Ross M. Dickson") writes:

>I hope m'lady will find this a

>happy addition rather than an offensive contradiction,

Just so, m'lord :).

>Goose quills were used, and I don't believe any of the treatments you

>describe were performed -- in particular the heat treatment. The quill

>was carefully cut into the appropriate shape using an Exacto knife.

If the quill is fairly large (and thus has relatively thick walls), the

heat treatment is less necessary. It's mainly a way of improving the

likely results for many quills.

>Her observation was that the flexibility of the quill and the smoothness

>of the parchment made the quality of the lines obtained *immensely*

>superior to anything she could do with a steel nib on paper.

Indeed. Writing with a quill on vellum or parchment is nothing at all

like writing with a steel pen on paper. Utter bliss...

>She would be delighted to hear of other sources dealing with quill-cutting.

I believe that Johnston covered it in "Writing, Illuminating, and Lettering."

I taught myself from The Calligrapher's Handbook (put out by the the

Society of Scribes & Illuminators in England, and I believe out of print).

>Sarra, however, found no advantage whatsoever to cutting a slit in the

>goose quill pen, and indeed it was just a good way to ruin the tip.

The slit is *very* tricky to get right, but it can help a lot in evening

out the ink flow. This is where heat treating helps, as it makes the

quill less likely to splinter when a slit is cut.

>She suspects that the slit-cutting was not described simply because it

>wasn't done.

My sources are at home, but I believe that it was done, albeit not


I am, however, happy to defer to greater expertise--the first way I tried

worked fine, so I've stuck with it. I know Master Aiden has done quite

a bit with quills (and found a source for quill knives), and might be

able to contribute some experience as well.



Scribe at Small

From: cat at fgssu1.sinet.slb.COM (Insignificant Pondscum)

Date: 24 Jul 91 17:07:23 GMT

To quote Amanda:

"I taught myself from The Calligrapher's Handbook (put out by the Society

of Scribes and Illuminators in England, and I believe out of print)."

If you were referring to the blue covered Calligrapher's Handbook which

is editted by Heather Child, then it is still in print. If you can't

find it, you can mail order it from Amsterdam Art on University in

Berkeley CA - they always have it in stock. If someone out there is

doing scribal stuff, I recommend this book highly. It's got really good

stuff in it, like recipes for gum ammoniac, gesso sotile, parchement and

vellum prep, pigments-to-paints, and other gems. In my not so humble

opinion, it's a must-have for anyone of scribal pretensions. (For people

who I have taught scribal stuff to, I usually give them a copy if they

look at all serious about doing scrolls). The mythical Mistress Aldith

Anharad St. George says: "buy this book!"



* Meisterin Therasia von Tux, OP * "Imitation is the surest *

* cat at * indication of butt sucking" *

* * - the mythical Mistress Aldith *

* * Anharad St. George *


From: bhw at (Barbara H. Webb (Phd 89))

Date: 24 Jul 91 13:38:49 GMT

Organization: Dept AI, Edinburgh University, Scotland

I'm afraid I missed the first posting (Arwen's) about quills (if someone

would mail me a copy I would be grateful). But the second post didn't

tally at all with my experience with quills so I thought I would add

some comments. I assume the basic shaping methods have been covered


I have been cutting and using quills for about two years now and I find

the vast superiority of the resulting calligraphy makes them well worth

the effort. Unfortunately I still can't cut a perfect quill every time,

but the average is improving.

I use goose feathers, and I find only the larger ones are stiff enough

to be useful. I treat them by soaking in vinegar overnight and then

heating them by putting them in hot sand (heated in the oven) and this

definitely helps by making them stiffer (a quick method that gives

reasonably results is to hold them carefully over a flame for a few

moments, but this sometime results in a smell of burning feathers!).

Turkey feathers seem to be okay as well (treat same way).

I use a curved scalpel blade (easy to get at art shops) to cut the nib

shape, and the blade from a safety razor to cut the slit, then the

scalpel blade to do the essential final shaping - a diagonal shaving of

the top of the tip (gives incredibly fine lines) and a sharp very

straight cut across the top (this is one I haven't yet mastered to my

satisfaction, but it must be a perfectly straight edge for the pen to

behave well, especially using paper (I wish I could afford vellum!)).

I found the critical part in getting working pens was the slit and it

leaves me in some amazement that someone would find the slit
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