Scroll 55: 15th Century Psalter

This scroll assignment came to me in early December. I decided it was time to push myself a little harder and try the red and blue illumination style I’d seen on Psalter pages started on the scroll. And then I was gifted an actual extant page from a 15th century Psalter. That high pitched squee you heard on Xmas morning might have been me.

I originally thought that all those squiggles were random but, after talking to another scribal artist who has spent more time studying this style, I learned that the same squiggle patterns were re-used all the time. Also, the appearance of randomness is a lot harder than it looks. For the squiggles around the black letters, I decided to finally try a crow quill and now I finally understand what all the fuss is about with it. I love how crisp and thin those lines turned out.

Overall though, this scroll was a struggle on three fronts: one, trying to do pleasingly random-like squiggle patterns, two, trying to get the white work to not look pink, and then finally dealing with a calligraphy pen that chose that day to fight me. I do rather like how the W turned out and the squiggle joining the K and N, but I can see that I need more practice in this style.

Materials: 8″x10″ pergamenata, ruler, Ames lettering guide, pencil, eraser, pigments from Eva’s collection, Finetec gold paint, Princeton heritage 2/0 round paint brush, Winsor & Newton Crimson calligraphy ink, crow quill, Speedball Super Black ink, dip pen