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Scribes and Illuminators – Review

Scribes and Illuminators; Christoper de Hamel

This is part of a series on medieval craftsmen from the University of Toronto Press. (Must find some of these other titles, glass painters, armorers, goldsmiths etc)

The name gives it away, this is about paper and parchment makers, ink-makers and scribes and illuminators, binders and booksellers.

There’s a lot of references to period sources, including quotes from written sources and lots and lots of manuscript images. It’s not a how to, except in making the tools. There’s a fair amount of detail on how to stretch a hide and then scrape it to make the parchment and some photos of a modern reconstruction. There’s actually a lot of images in this book – photos of artefacts and modern reconstructions, and lots and lots of manuscript images. (including an adorable half finished 15th century sketch of French birds.)

Cennino says

Get it from someone who is a good goldbeater; and examine the gold; and if you find it rippling and matt, like goat parchment, then consider it good.

The tone is good and flows well without being too dry.The book is less than 70 pages so it can’t go into great depth about the subject matter, but it does present a good (and well researched) broad brush on the subject matter.

I would recommend this book for anyone getting started in making parchment, ink or looking at getting into illumination. It’s a good history of, and has some information about how to do it, but it is definitely not a “how to”.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

[tabs] [tab title=”Publishers Blurb”] Illuminated manuscripts survive in great numbers from the Middle Ages. They are often beautifully preserved, enabling us to appreciate the skilled design and craftsmanship of the people who created them. Christopher de Hamel describes each stage of production from the preparation of the vellum, pens, paints and inks to the writing of the scripts and the final decoration and illumination of the book. He then examines the role of the stationer or bookshop in co-ordinating book production and describes the supply of exemplars and the accuracy of texts. He follows the careers of a number of specific scribes and illuminators who emerge not as anonymous monks but as identifiable professional lay artisans. He also looks at those who bought the completed books, why they did so, and how much they paid.His survey ranges from the eleventh century through the golden age of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries to the luxurious manuscripts existing at the invention of printing. [/tab] [/tabs]

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Amsterdam Ceramics : A City’s History and an Archaeological Ceramics Catalogue 1175-2011 – Review

Alex the Potter of Flaming Gargoyles says “It’s great!”

Amsterdam Ceramics provides a look at the ceramic finds in Amsterdam over the past 900 years. It’s organised by time period and each piece has a brief description of what the item is and the size. Each chapter has a brief intro with some other (non ceramic) archeological finds. (Iron handsaw! Finally we find someone who has the evidence!)

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide[tabs] [tab title=”Publishers Blurb”] Amsterdam Ceramics explores nine centuries of urban history and archaeological ceramics from the city of Amsterdam. A total of 1247 archaeological ceramic items are presented in a catalogue which is chronologically subdivided into nine chapters covering the period 1175-2011, and offers a representative selection of finds from over 200 excavation sites. In introductory chapters to each chronological period the finds are set alongside the changing topography of the city. [/tab] [/tabs]

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Dress Accessories 1150-1450 – Review

Dress Accessories 1150-1450
Geoff Egan
Fran?es Pritchard

Dress Accessories is one of the Museum of London Collections. And like all MoL books, it is faaaaaboulous.

I mean, the text is dry, this is very much an academic book. But for proper details regarding the found artifacts, with proper dates and context for the finds, MoL does it best.

Dress Accessories is about the accessories which people worn upon their persons. It contains finds found in London (and everything is English because it’s Museum of London so no need to worry about, would my persona have this) and this includes
girdles, buckles, strap ends (for belts), mounts, brooches, buttons, lace chapes, hair accessories, pins, beads, chains, pendants, finger rings, bells, purses, cased mirrors, combs, cosmetic sets, and needle cases.

Because it’s an academic text, each illustration of the finds has a scale on the page, which is very handy for anyone who intends to make the items discovered.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery