Inks, papers, calligraphic styles

НазваниеInks, papers, calligraphic styles
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unnecessary. I can only assume that the pen is being used in a completely

different way, with small amounts of ink on the tip being spread across

the paper, rather than the ink being very gradually fed by the slit to

the tip of the pen. By the first method I could only get a few letters

without redipping, whereas with slitted pens you get ten to twenty or more

words from a drop of ink loaded into the pen by a paintbrush. This seems

practical evidence that they did use pens with slits (I'm certain they

didn't write a few letters at a time) but there is also instructions for

making a slit in the pen in several medieval artists handbooks (sorry,

refs not handy, but could be acquired) and illuminations of scribes that

clearly show pens with slits in them.

The problem I had with the slit was that putting pressure on the pen for

writing would make the two sections of the tip part slightly, opening

the slit and stopping the flow of ink (it works by osmosis). Using the

pen upside down over came this but wasn't a satisfactory solution - you

don't get such nice writing (although it's still better than lots of

calligraphy fountain pens). The solution of this problem was three-fold

1. The use of a stiffer quill (see above) which doesn't open under


2. The use of a very fine blade (see above) to get a very fine and even


3. Cutting the slit shorter and the nib into a more square shape

than the shape of modern steel nibs, which also counteracts the tendency

of the sides to part.

As I mention above, having this sort of pen work requires a very

straight edge, because the ink is drawn onto the width of the tip of the

nib by osmosis when the tip is flat against the paper, so any

irregularites will disturb the flow of ink (yes you do need smooth sorts

of paper but I assume that's what you use). It can be a frustrating

buisness try to trim a nib into shape (and once you've used it a while

it needs retrimming) but the results are WONDERFUL as anyone who has

tried a good nib will know.

I hope these observations will be useful to other scribes: and I would

certainly be interested in hearing how others have fared in their

experiments with quill pens. And I would advise any calligraphers to try

it some time - there are calligraphic strokes in medieval scripts that

you just _can't do_ with a modern pen, but they flow beautifully from a

quill! I'm just sorry this medium doesn't permit me to demonstrate :-)

In service,

Caitlin de Courcy.

23 Jan 92

PTH 1:109/401.0 at FidoNet

From: henwe at (Henric Weyde)


Organization: Scandinavian System Support AB



Greetings unto the good people on the Rialto,

My humble suggestion:

The Gutenberg printing was introduced in the 15th century. i know for

certain that by 1470 absolution letters were preprinted forms where

only the place, date, time, name and price was left out to be filled in

by hand.

(What a pity this invention was made for every administration in this

world to follow without any restain).

So, make or find an appropriate original, get hold of an old type handmade

paper and use a modern type of photocopier.

If you want a paper to achieve the appearance of a parchement, oil it with

raw linessed oil and turpentine (50/50).

If you want to add a seal use a jute string and a porcelaineclay that will

harden in an oven.

My facsimile absolution letter, original from 1485 found in the Swedish

national archives is considered good enough to appear at a medieaval

exhibition at the local museum.

Depending on the occasion this might be something to consider?

/Your humble servant

Bartolomeo di Camerino

alias Henric Weyde

Date: 31 Jan 92

From: ddfr at (david director friedman)


Organization: University of Chicago Computing Organizations

"Perhaps our scribes could improve their visibility in some way."


This suggests an interesting way of combining visibility with

appreciation. I believe that period scribes in at least some period

cultures had pen cases--things they wore that held pens, perhaps ink,

etc. I have not checked any details, but I am pretty sure I remember

a pen case as one of the charges described in "Mamluk Heraldry," and

I think there are similar things in Christian Europe. How about a

kingdom project (by the non-scribes) to research what pen cases

looked like, make a lot of recognizably similar ones, and, over time,

present one to every scribe who does award scrolls. That would both

be a thankyou and make it easier to recognize scribes who did award



31 Jan 92

From: branwen at (Karen Williams)


Organization: Amdahl Corporation, Sunnyvale CA

In article <9201301851.AA27232 at> nathan at (Nathan Kronenfeld) writes:

>Official scrolls are far from the only possible place to use one's

>calligraphic skill.

Before I assign scrolls to people, I need to see an example of their

calligraphy and illumination. For new people, this is difficult, since

they haven't done anything yet. I have been having them just do a scroll,

but in the few cases were the scroll isn't acceptable but they think it's

just lovely, I have a problem. So recently I've decided that for new

people, as a warrant piece I'll have them illuminate a period poem. That

way, they can take home their work, and if I can't use their first effort,

they still can.

Branwen ferch Emrys

The Mists, the West


Karen Williams

branwen at

Re: Scribal visibility

3 Feb 92

From: habura at (Andrea Marie Habura)


Organization: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY

Cariadoc asks for information on European pen holders. Ther is one that I

became aware of through heraldry (what else? Boy, I'm in a rut. Someone talk

about embroidery, quick!).

The Worshipful Company of Scriveners of the City of London, a period guild,

have in their arms an eagle holding in the beak an object called a "penner

and inkhorn". It consists of a scabbard-shaped object with a cap, which seems

to be a pen holder, and a squat container (probably an ink bottle), connected

by two lengths of cord. Pathetic ASCII art follows. Bear with me.

X*****---------/ /------------------*****X

****************** *********

****************** pen holder #*********

****************** bottle #*********

****************** #*********

****************** *********

X*****--------/ /-------------------*****X

The X's are knots in the cord. The cord is run through little tubes on the

sides of the containers and knotted. The pen holder is longer than it

looks, and is pointed at the bottom.

The eagle in the Scriveners' arms holds this object by the cord, with the

two containers dangling down on either side. It appears that this object

would do nicely on a belt (with the inkhorn empty, or with a very good stopper). It has the advantage of being distinctive, easy to carry prominently, and

easy and cheap to make in its simplest form.

Sounding off as usual,

Alison MacDermot

Contacting John the Artificer (period pigments, etc.)

4 Feb 92

From: Marion.Kee at


Greeting to the Rialto from Marian Greenleaf:

[Master] John the Artificer, O.L., may be contacted as:

John Rose

250 Emerson St.

Pittsburgh, PA 15206

(412) 362-0421

You might want to put an "Attention: ordering pigments" line, or some

such, on the envelope. Or just call him and find out what to send him.

If you write for information, I recommend sending an SASE.

John also is a source for woad seeds, information on ferret breeding,

and a number of other interesting items both material and intellectual.

He speaks barter, although cash has a lot of appeal. If you're really

interested in learning something from him, let him know; he really

likes teaching interested people, although he can be abrupt at times.


18 May 92

From: jtn at (Terry Nutter)


Unto the good gentles of the Rialto does Lord Hossein Ali Qomi send greetings

and prayers for the blessings of Allah.

Lord Jeremy de Merstone recently posted a perceptive comment on "official"

calligraphy in the SCA:

>The main problem with award scrolls is that their period counterparts

>(when anybody bothered to set them down on a special piece of parchment/

>paper/vellum/whatever in the first place, as opposed to just recording

>them on a list in a ledger someplace during a visitation) were simply

>not very decorative. They weren't meant to be. The important part was

>*what* the thing said ("So-and-so and his progeny have the right to do

>such-and-such, signed, The King"), and not how they *looked*. [As with

>anything, there were occasional exceptions to this general statement,

>but this held pretty well true until after the SCA's period.]

Lord Jeremy is by and large quite right about the general lack of decoration

in official documents -- letters patent, charters, writs, etc. -- in the

medieval period. However, his example -- "So-and-so and his progeny have

the right to do such-and-such, signed The King" -- isn't quite so correct.

The formularies in official documents varied widely by time and place and,

indeed, a substantial branch of the paleographic science, diplomatics, is

given to the analysis of such formularies.

I have found that most calligraphers in the SCA tend toward the kinds of

book hands and illumination which were not characteristic of medieval

official documents for two reasons. First, book calligraphy and illumination

is more aesthetically pleasing to many; it's very pretty and it catches the

eye right readily. The problem is that medieval official documents weren't

designed to catch the eye. Second, book calligraphy and illumination are

far more commonly available as exemplars than medieval official document

texts -- coffeetable books of illuminated manuscripts, while expensive, are

usually available in any good bookstore; facsimiles of official documents

are generally not.

I do _only_ official document recreations. The reasons are simple. I'm

the lousiest artist in the SCA and most book hands and fancy illumination

are simply beyond my capacity. I use Latin paleography and diplomatics in

my mundane research and am familiar with the abbreviation systems and

court/secretarial hands, particularly those used in English and Imperial

chanceries. Finally, I think authenticity is more important than aesthetics --

harried clerks and scribes in royal chanceries weren't that concerned with

beauty, they had mountains of parchment-work to sort through daily.

I've had the advantage of formal training in paleography and acquaintance

with a wide range of paleographic and diplomatic studies and have collected

a bibliography of useful texts and facsimiles of official documents suitable

for exemplars for analogous SCA scrolls. I have edited the bibliography

down to things which most university libraries will probably have; there are

roughly another hundred rarer facsimile collections which one is likely to

find only in major research libraries at institutions which grant Ph.D.s

in medieval history (if anyone is _truly_ interested, I'd be happy to email

that list as well, when I shan't be needing my hands for anything after

all that typing).

The following is a lengthy, but partial, bibliography of sources for texts

and/or facsimiles of period diplomata:

_Album paleographique ou Recueil de documents importants relatifs a

l'histoire et a la litterature nationales_ (Paris, 1887).

C. Bemont, _Chartes des libertes anglaises_ (Paris, 1902).

T.A.M.Bishop and P. Chaplais, _Facsimiles of English Royal Writs to A.D.

1100)_ (Oxford, 1957).

T.A.M. Bishop, _Scriptores Regis: Facsimiles to Identify and Illustrate the

Hands of Royal Scribes in Original Carters of Henry I, Stephen, and

Henry II_ (Oxford, 1955).

A. de Bouard, _Manuel de diplomatique francaise et pontificale_ (Paris,


B. de Broussillon, _Cartulaire de l'abbaye de Saint-Aubin d'Angers_

(Paris, 1903).

P. Chevreux and J. Vernier, _Les Archives de Normandie et de la Seine-

Inferieure: recueil de facsimiles_ (Rouen, 1911).

H.W.C. Davies, _Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum_ (Oxford, 1913).

L.Delisle and E. Berger, _Recueil des Actes de Henry II concernant les

provinces francaises et les affaires de France_ (Paris, 1909-27).

N. Denholm-Young, _Handwriting in England and Wales_ (Cardiff, 1954).

D.C. Douglas, _Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds_

(London, 1932).

Sir G.F. Duckett, _Charters and Records Among the Archives of the

Ancient Abbey of Cluny_ (Lewes, 1888).

_Facsimiles of Ancient Charters in the British Museum_ (London, 1876-


_Facsimiles of Early Charters in Northamptonshire Collections_

(Northampton, 1930).

E. Falconi, _L'edizione diplomatica del documento e del manoscritto_

(Parma, 1969).

W. Farrer, _Early Yorkshire Charters_ (Edinburgh, 1914-16).

H. Fichtenau, _Das Urkundenwesen in Oesterreich vom 8. bis zum

fruehen 13. Jahrhundert_ (Vienna, 1971).
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