Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dragon's Pride for Edith of London


The exemplar is BL MS Harley 3049, fol. 30v:

BL MS Harley 3049

I'd started working on this on Feb. 15, for the Gulf Wars gift basket, and eventually decided to not include it, but instead do it with gold leaf and save it for a Drachenwald scroll. I saw Edith's amazing embroidery a few weeks later and decided then to write a recommendation for her and ask to do the scroll. Unfortunately, I then found out she wasn't going to be at the event originally planned, and TRM decided to give it out at an earlier one -- 10 days way. Due to other commitments the next evening, I didn't get this started until Mar. 28, one week before the event. I got the borders partly sketched and then drew most of the text lines, and then realized that I needed to test the text.

Because English is the recipient's third (I think) language, I wanted to go with a language she was more comfortable with, which would be German. The German text was written for me by Herrin Margaretha von Rückingen, and I paired it with a Latin intro, so that the entire thing reads:

Incipit verbis Prothelai et Cecilie, regum Drachenwaldenses.

Sie hat sich mit großem Interesse, Hingabe und Eifer in dem Bereich der Kunst und Wissenschaft unseres König reiches gewidmet. Ihre Geduld und ihre Durchhaltevermögen erfüllt uns mit Stolz. Deswegen möchten wir, Prothall und Cecilia, König und Königin von Drachenwald, voller Stolz unser Mitglied Edith of London in den Orden des Dragon's Pride aufnehmen, auf das sie das Abzeichen des Ordens immer tragen kann.

Ausgehändigt am v April im Jahre 48 in Polderslot während Crown Tourney.

But because I didn't write the text I didn't really have a sense of how much space it would take, and I had the suspicion that my base design was too big. I sketched out the text, something I very rarely do any more, and realized I was right. So I took in the left-hand margin, so I'd have space for more fancy flourishes, and resketched the initial. At that point, it was then bed time. Mar. 29 I sat down as soon as Gwen went down for a nap and managed to get all the text calligraphed, since I had to do that before the illumination (not my usual order), so I could know how much to shift up the lower margin if necessary (Some, but not too much). Then the very careful erasing of the text lines, followed by painting the blue of the initial and the blue, red, and purple decorations in the text. And then Gwen woke. On Mar. 30, I painted the blue in the border, and on Mar. 31 I lay down the size for the gilding of the inner most border.

Apr. 1, I gilded all that I had put down size for the night before, albeit in a rather messy fashion. I've decided I don't like the gold leaf I got in München as much as I like the gold leaf I got from Ari Mala, which sticks to the waxed paper better. But, it at least all gilded, all I needed to do was clean up lots of floater bits, which always makes me feel wasteful, but, hey, someday I'll have a completely gilded desk as a result. I still need to put down the size for the other bits of gilding, and then gild it, and then do all the penwork decorating, so the chances of this being done by Thursday night are low, but it'll be done enough to have something shiny to show off, and I'll take it home and finish it and then will be able to enter it in the next baronial A&S competition at Arts in April. :) Apr. 2, I try to clean up the gilding that I'd done the previous night. It did not go as well as desired, so I was reluctant to put down any more size.

There was then a long gap, as I pondered how best to continue. Finally, on Aug. 22, I sketched out in pencil where the remainder of the size should go, and then put down the size, along with some more size over the bits that hadn't taken well the first time. On Aug. 24 during Gwen's nap I put down the gold, and then cleaned up the edges, making it clear the places where I'd need to go back and put down another coat. Still, it mostly worked, better than I would've expected. The next night I touched up the last bits of the gold, and began doing the exterior rubrication. I completed the external decorations on Aug. 26. I'm still finding that I'm not as good at translating these sorts of designs from image to page as I think I will be; nevertheless, divorced from the exemplar, this is quite lovely, I think, even if I had a bugger of a time with the paint beading in some places -- a problem I rarely have.

© 2014, Sara L. Uckelman.