King's Order of Excellence - Aildreda
Process photos for King's Order of Excellence for Aildreda.
QUEM terra, pontus, aethera / colunt, adorant, praedicant. "You whom land, sea, air, worship, laud, and praise." With these Matins, a gentle Lady of England welcomes every dawn. As day dawns in Carolingia on the feast day of Saint Elfleda and Saint Cuthmann, A.S. XLVIII, Their Majesties Kenric II and Avelina II are pleased to laud a Lady of England, an ornament to our court, whose dress and comportment please our eye, whose works and wisdom improve our Kingdom, and by whose quiet grace and quick wit our people flourish.
For her manifold skills and learnings, as well as in recognition of the noble and gracious manner in which she maintains herself and her house, and of the high standard which she keeps and presents, do we, with right pageantry and celebration, raise up the worthy Aildreda de Tamwurthe and create of her a Companion of the King’s Order of Excellence.
Text by Lucien de Pontivy, with words from a hymn written by Venantius Fortunatus (530-609), the Bishop of Portiers
Calligraphy by Eleanor Catlyng
Illumination by Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova
There are some small bits of period paint used in this piece. I used cinnabar and lapis lazuli. I also used Holbein colors which were blended to color match. The scroll is based on a Bible, with the Interpretation of Hebrew names (The 'Bible of William of Devon'). It is English, from the 3rd quarter of the 13th century. the original language is in Latin.
The beginning has kept that original latin, plus initials spelling out “Aildreda Optima Maxima” which means, “Aildreda the best and greatest”. The original is associated with a group of manuscripts “the William of Devon group”, and the artist is believed to be William of Devon.
Things I would have done differently: Made sure that I had more time. This was a difficult project because I was experimenting with period pigments. A friend gave me a gift of Lapis Lazuli and Cinnabar. I tried it out. I knew that the recipient would revel in the idea of having actual period pigments on her scroll. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to do the trials that I would have to see how much gum arabic to add. The first trial showed the paint dry up fairly quickly as I painted, but it seemed to dry out okay on the test pieces. I did not count on larger areas.
As soon as I painted somewhat larger areas, because as you can see on this example, the larger areas are still pretty small, things just didn't work. The areas did dry fast and then dried out and flaked off in places. Grump. I suspect that it was that I did not add enough gum arabic, or water. Not sure. I will be going back to Cennini to see if I am missing something, and experimenting when I am not on a crazy four week deadline.
So I had to scrape off the lapis lazuli except for a very small part that didn't dry out, and then start painting with the Holbein modern paints. I was able to get the cinnabar just right and it had a very tiny area as her dress and that worked. So two steps forward, one step back.
Action points for me: more experimentation on period pigments so I have a better ability to know what it does and how it works.