I was given a commission to produce a Calon Cross scroll for Master Eadweard Boisewright, who is my “venerable elder brother”.  He was apprenticed to my laurel, Master Alan of Darkdale.  He is a woodworker, has a camel on his device, numerous apprentices, and not a terribly “set” persona time period.  Which left me wandering in the fields of manuscripts, searching for inspiration.

Psalm 103; a watermill - Luttrell Psalter (c.1325-1335), f.181 - BL Add MS 42130The scroll text included the phrase “We Grant unto you use of Our rivers power to drive a watermill that you may use it to further your craft.”  So I set out to find an image of a watermill.  I used the British Library images online site, because searching in English is easier than French or German, neither of which I speak.
I found one in the Luttrell Psalter, folio 181   (Nice that the British Library has uploaded some images to Flickr)

Next the scroll mentioned “Also we grant one Hide of forest land that you might harvest timber thereof, ever mindful of the proper stewardship.”

So I found several images of wood cutting, but they were a few centuries earlier than the Luttrell Psalter.

Cutting and loading wood,[Miniature] Calendar page for July.Three men cutting down trees with axes; another loads a log on to a cart. On right, two oxen Image taken from Anglo-Saxon Calendar. Originally published/produced in England [Winchester?]; second quarter of 11th century.
Anglo-Saxon Calendar, folio 6. Produced in Winchester?, 11th C
However, the image in the Anglo-Saxon Calendar, folio 6 and the Julius Calendar, folio 5v were produced at roughly the same time, in two different places, but are very similar.

Cotton Julius A. VI f.5v
Julius Calendar, folio 5v. Produced in Canterbury?, 11th C

This suggests that a common model book was used, or one is the model for the other.  Perhaps the same collection of elements became a “traditional” depiction of wood cutters, and continued in later years.

Add. 42130 f.162
Luttrell Psalter, folio 162. Produced in East Anglia; circa 1325-1335.

I looked for a wagon from the Luttrell, and found one in folio 162.  The basic style of the cart had not changed.

 

 

To finish it off, I wanted an example of period representations of a Laurel tree.While the manuscript is about a century after the Luttrell, the Collected Works of Christine de Pisan, folio 134v, fits the bill.

Harley 4431 f.134v
Daphne has turned into a laurel tree. Produced in Paris; 1410-1411.

Lastly, I found a grotesque with a camel’s head in the Luttrell Psalter, folio 151

So overall, I blended elements from a 400 year time span.  I used the calligraphy style about in the middle, slightly earlier than the Luttrell, but used the border treatment of the Luttrell.  I did not include the fill-in details that finish out the lines to make the text blocks more square. However, I would still call the overall look of this scroll early 14th C.

The 3 woodcutters are 3 of Eadweard’s apprentices, represented in the scroll by something particular I knew about them.  Bonus points to those who can guess which 3 apprentices.

Sketched out with initial lines
Written, sketched out and initial ink lines.


Painted


Re-outlined.  2hrs of work for just a bit of change, but really helps the look.

Finished in February 2009, some of which while my 18yo child drove through (and waited for) the traffic jams caused by the terrible blizzard that covered Missouri on the day of Calontir’s Jubilee celebration.

Done on Arches Aquarelle Hot Press, 140# paper, with gouache and ink.

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