Orlando and I have been friends for a very long time. He was made an OGR shortly after I was, and it made me very happy to get his assignment.
I dove into Orlando's time period by looking at his East Kingdom Wikipage and speaking to his lovely lady over the internet to get some preferences. I was able to pull his arms off the wiki and also find some pictures of him. My research needed to focus on Italy, mid15th century to mid 16th century. I also could do something fencing related with manuals, because Orlando is known for his By the Book Tournament at Pennsic, and his research in period rapier manuals. I started the research wide at first and then narrowed it down to some specific examples that would work.
I was able to find the following:
Italian Renaissance Manuscript collection in the Claremont Colleges Digital Library: ccdl.libraries.claremont.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/irm
The Sforza hours which is housed in the British Library and accessible at Turning the Pages
Visconti Book of Hours
The Bible of Borso d'Este
I decided that I liked the Bible of Borso d'Este the best. The Bible was commissioned by Borso d’Este (1413–71), the first duke of Ferrara. The manuscript was completed between 1455 and 1461. The original is here: https://www.wdl.org/en/item/9910/view/1/56/.
The page that I chose to use as an exemplar for the scroll here: www.wdl.org/en/item/9910/view/1/56/
READY TO START
Here is what research looks like for me. I tape every single idea/source/example on my mirror, along with a picture of the recipient.
We start with the finished product. Words by Alys MacIntosich.
Materials used: Opaline velum, #6 Mitchell Round hand Square Nib (super tiny), Princeton Art Monogram 20/0 paintbrush, a Vienna 0 paintbrush and an American Painter 1 paintbrush. I used Holbein Cadmium Red Purple, Holbein Dark Green, Windsor Newton Ultramarine, Windsor Newton Permanent White, Windsor Newton Payne's Grey, Mosaic Gold for the achievement, and Gold Leaf and a dog's tooth burnisher.
I started the gold leaf on a humid day. I did not expect that, and in the future will a) plan around the weather better, or b) put the AC on while I do the gold leaf. This was the first piece, for me, that had this much gold leaf. Even though it did give me some trouble, I bent it to my will and prevailed. I wasn't as happy about the inking around the gold leaf, and I would have liked to make that cleaner. I also have some ideas on how to do the gold leaf even better the next time. Practice, practice, practice.
I also would put more of the inking up front. I was worried about messing up the gold leaf, which led me to hold back on the inking which I am far more accomplished at. This led to having to work around the gold leaf, and then when I had to erase all the pencil marks. The erasing was laborious as I did not want to erase over the gold, as that would dull it and ruin it. It took me over an hour and a half to ink the architectural/floral elements and two hours to erase.
I am very happy with this particular piece. The amount of detail that I was able to get into the flowers, leaves, and floral elements definitely gave the piece layers which made it look more like the medieval equivalent. I was pleased with how I could tie together the inking detail with the signature lines. The gold did shimmer and had the right effect, subtle but hinting at wealth.