Scribal Arts

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

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.

[ATL] Bright Hills Scribal Schola

Are you interested in the scribal arts, perhaps need a refresher in a certain area? Are there books you want but do not have the budget? Then this may just be the place for you!

11th century Jewish documents found in Afghan fox den

Two years ago, the chance discovery of a collection of documents in a cave in Afghanistan gave experts a first ever glimpse of 11th century "religious, cultural and commercial life of the Jewish community in a central location on the trade route between China and the West."

Hope for the ancient manuscripts of Timbuktu

Last week news outlets reported that militant Islamic rebels fleeing Timbuktu in Mali had torched a new library, destroying many of the city's famed ancient books. Preservationists and the Mali government are now reporting that many of the manuscripts were hidden in a safe house before the attack.

[MID] Middle Kingdom's Herald's Pointe and Scribal Collegium

The Herald's Pointe is to provide an opportunity to meet with heralds without the distractions of other events. No need to rush between tournament bouts, etc. - just the heralds and you.

Medieval graffiti in Norfolk churches

In the Middle Ages, some church members had what, in modern life, would be considered an odd way to express an idea or offer a prayer: they wrote on the church wall. Now the Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey hopes to record pre-Reformation graffiti in area churches.

St Chad and Gospels and Wycliffe New Testament now available online

The Lichfield Cathedral and the University of Kentucky have joined forces to create a website presenting online versions of the St Chad Gospels (also known as the Llandeilo Fawr Gospels) and the Wycliffe New Testament, both in scanned images and searchable transciptions.

[MER] Jour d'Amour

The Shire of Drakenmere cordially invites the people of Meridies to our eighth annual Jour d'Amour. Based on King Henry V's ghostwritten St. Valentine's Day poem to his French princess (while he was conquering France), our 2013 theme is The Flower of Courtesy. Valentines and warriors - what's not to like?

[DRA] Scrip2rium/30th Anniversary Celebration

Come one, come all, to the one-day revel in ancient Oxford!  Arianrhod o Gymru, Insulae Draconis Signet, and her fellows of West Dragonshire invite you to their second annual scriptorium, in the upstairs (sadly, no lift) of the Mitre pub, a period room in a Jacobean hostel, now a Beefeater pub.  The Mitre is located on the corner of Turl Street and the High, in the very centre of Oxford.  The address is 17, High Street.

Concert based on Hawick Missal presented in Scotland

For the first time in nearly five centuries, the people of Scotland will listen to the music of 12th-century century monks from the recently discovered fragment of a missal for Holy Week. The performance will kick off a two-year music and arts project celebrating the creativity of Scotland. (photo)

Cards fit for a king - or princess

A complete set of silver playng cards, created in Germany in 1616, was acquired through auction in 2010 by entrepreneur Selim Zilkha. Legend tells that the set was owned by a Portuguese princess who fled Napoleon in 1807. (photos)

Star Wars illuminated

Fandom meets fantastic when artist Chey Chao used medieval illumination techniques to tell the story of Star Wars. The illuminations were created for a school project.