Scribal Arts

Calligraphy, illumination, paper making, bookbinding, printing, and related sciences and arts

KWHSS 2013 Proceedings online

Cainder ingen hui Chatharnaig, Trillium Principal Herald for the Kingdom of Ealdormere, reports that the proceedings for the Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium (KWHSS), which took place the weekend of 28-30 June 2013 in the Kingdom of Ansteorra, are now available online.

The tug-of-war over the Lindisfarne Gospels

The Lindisfarne Gospels are a British national treasure and should be part of the national collection, says the British Library. The Lindisfarne Gospels were written in the North and dedicated to St Cuthbert. They belong in Durham, says the Northumbrian Association. Who will win?

The comics of Stephen Harding

Comic books are often scorned as inferior forms of literature, originating in 1930s American pulp culture, but Damien Kempf on Tumblr traces the art form back to the 12th century with the manuscript the Bible of Stephen Harding.

Lost Welsh artifact found in stream

A chance stroll through a Welsh woods has led to the discovery of a long-lost medieval artifact. A rare 9th or 10th century inscribed stone was spotted by archaeologists Nikki Vousden and Roderick Bale in a stream near St Sulien’s Church in Silian, Wales. (photo)

Oldest Torah scroll discovered in university library

In 1889, a librarian at the University of Bologna in Italy made a terrible mistake. He dated and labeled a scroll to the 17th century, but recent tests have placed the document in the 12th century, making it "the oldest complete text of the Torah known to exist." (photo)

Young scholars learn the alphabet in 17th century England

Throughout time, children have struggled to learn to write the alphabet. On its blog Collation, the Folger Library presents examples of not only 16th and 17th century writing manuals, but actual copy books of English children. One can almost see the clenched teeth of concentration in their work.

Union Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts in German Collections set to be completed in 2022

In 1957, when it was proposed, cataloging the thousands of “oriental” manuscripts scattered throughout Germany seemed an almost impossible feat, but the mammoth project may come to a successful end in 2022 if all goes well.

X-ray technology can read the unreadable

Researchers have long been distressed by the illegibility of fragile ancient parchments, but new techniques developed by scientists at Cardiff University may help read the unreadable.

The Godwine Charter returns to Canterbury

Somewhere between 1013 and 1018, Godwine sold his swine pasture in Kent, England to Leofwine the Red for 40 pence and two pounds rent and an allowance of corn. How do we know this? The sale was recorded in the Godwine Charter, an "exceptionally rare" document which recently made its way home to the Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

Lost Cortés letter found

A letter from Charles V to Hernán Cortés, proclaiming him Governor of Mexico, has been found in the State Archive in Naples. The letter is one of the oldest sent to the New World.

Lindisfarne Gospels on display in Durham

Until September 30, 2013, the Lindisfarne Gospels book will be on display in Durham University's Palace Green Library as the centerpiece of  an exhibition of artifacts from Anglo-Saxon England. In conjunction with the exhibit will be performances and family activities.

The mind of the medieval reader

Who knows what people in the 14th century reador thought? MIT professor Arthur Bahr thinks he does.

Digitization of Vatican Library faces challenges

A year after the project's announcement, the firist digitized volumes of the Vatican Library are now available online. Experts began with the library's "most delicate" volumes, including "the Vatican’s 8,900 incunabula (books printed before 1501): the Sifra, a Hebrew manuscript written a millennia ago, a 4th century manuscript of the Greek Bible and the De Europa of Pope Pius II, printed around 1491."

"Dear Edward, Leave the Scots alone!"

A copy of a previously unknown letter from Robert the Bruce to King Edward II has been discovered at the British Library. The letter, written in 1310 during the build-up to the Battle of Bannockburn, requests that Edward recognise Scottish independence and end persecution of its people. (video)

Making ink with Ian the Green

On the SCA Newcomers list, THLord Ian the Green offered information on the making of period ink by way of his blog Scribescribbling. He also offers documentation on recent ink-making experiences.

14th century Expositiones Vocabulorum Biblie comes home

A 14th century, hand-written copy of the Expositiones Vocabulorum Biblie has returned to its place of origin after surviving the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII in the 1530s. The parchment manuscript, which was created to help the nuns of Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire study and understand the Bible, is now on display at the abbey thanks to the National Trust which purchased the document at auction. (photos)

Little footprints on the pages of history

Somewhere in 14th century Croatia, a scribe must have had a few choice words for his pet cat after kitty left his little paw marks on the pages of the scholar's book. The discovery was made by Ph.D student Emir O. Filipović in the Dubrovnik State Archives. (photo)

Richard III letter auctioned for UK£35,000

A rare document bearing the signature of Richard III before he was king was auctioned recently, bringing nearly UK£35,000. The document signed "R. Gloucestre" was written when the duke was in his twenties and involves a "land dispute between Ralph Neville, 2nd Earl of Westmorland, and some of his tenants."

Livres de perchage chronicle Guernsey properties

For years, Guernsey resident Hugh Lenfestey spent time collecting detailed local manorial records and creating a map of the island's fiefs. After his death, his family has donated his records, dating from the 15th century, to the Island Archive. (photos)

"Manuscripts Online" brings medieval Britain to life

The University of Sheffield’s Humanities Research Institute has created Manuscripts Online which "brings to life early printed primary sources of medieval Britain, giving online access to written materials from the year 1000 to 1500 and allowing users to contribute to the collective body of knowledge on the subject for the first time."

History of Reading Abbey on display for first time

A manuscript chronicling the history of Reading Abbey is on display for the first time at the Berkshire Records Office in Reading, England. The manuscript, consisting of parchment folios bound into a book, was created in the 1340s, and was purchased from a private owner for UK£36,000.

Book of Kells now online

The Trinity College Library in Dublib, Ireland has announced that the Book of Kells is now available to view, thanks to the library's Digital Resources and Imaging Services. An iPad app of the book is also available.

Caid Kingdom 12th Night scrolls online

Aliskye, Scribe Armarius in the Kingdom of Caid, reports that photos of scrolls awarded at the 2013 Kingdom 12th Night are now available to view online. The photos are posted on the 12th Night website.

Macclesfield Alphabet Book showcases 16th century design

The recent discovery of the Macclesfield Alphabet Book brought smiles to the lips of experts at the British Library. The 16th century 'model' or 'pattern' book was designed to display the skills of the illuminator for potential clients. (photos)

East Kingdom largesse scrolls showcased

The East kingdom Gazette has published a story showcasing scrolls given by the East Kingdom at the Estrella War to be used by other kingdoms as largesse. Photos of 13 stunning scrolls are included with the article.

More than 200,000 manuscripts saved from destruction in Timbuktu

World scholars are breathing a sigh of relief as news reached them that more than 80 percent of the precious manuscripts from Timbuktu were smuggled to safety. Many were driven by car and truck to the Malian capital of Bamako.

Getty Center to host medieval manuscript exhibit

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, in Los Angeles, California is playing host to an exhibit celebrating the "eventful lives" of medieval manuscripts with Untold Stories: Collecting and Transforming Medieval Manuscripts from February 26–May 12, 2013.

From Carolingial to Gothic: how scribal hands changed in the Middle Ages

Erik Kwakkel, a medieval book historian at Leiden University and master tweeter on the subject of paleography and codicology, offers a 4-minute instroduction on how medieval script changed throughout the Middle Ages.

[ANS] Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium

The Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium will take place June 28-30, 2013 in the Barony of Bjornsborg, San Antonio, Texas.

Beowulf manuscript online

Ever tried to read Beowulf in the original language? Now you can, thanks to the British Library.