My Order of the Sacred Stone

Based on the Utrecht Psalter


Notice the amount of bleed through from the verso

Date: 820-840

Origin: Benedictine Abby near Reims, Hautevillers

Format 330 x 256mm, Latin, 166 pen and ink drawings

This codex contains psalms, hymns, and the Apostles Creed. The illustrations are in dark brown ink, and the illustrations are depictions of the text of the corresponding psalm. The style is very sketchy and nervous without any ornamentation.

There is a theory for the lack of extravagance of this psalter which appeals to me.

The theory that while performing their duties in the choir, several clerics may have recited from the psalter read out before them on the lectern confuses the types of liturgical books in the Middle Ages. This was a practice reserved for large-format antiphonaries. Furthermore, the Utrecht Psalter contains the psalms in their biblical order, whereas the Benedictine Devine Office has them arranged in a different sequence.

Nor can the book have functioned as a decorative exemplar especially for the abbot or archbishop, on account of its simplicity. So the most convincing explanation – reinforced by the rather literally interpreted drawings – is that the psalter served as an aid to young monks in learning the psalms by heart together.

So the Utrecht Psalter is essentially Dick and Jane learn the Psalms.


Thin Pergamenata, so chosen because of the prominent bleed through of the exemplar.

Penman’s Brown and W&N Red inks.

Illustrations based on Sacred Stone pictures by Master Ursus and others, as well as based on the heraldry of the recipients, which compose the illustrations throughout. Atlantian OP provided the individual heraldry.

Publicly available pictures of the Sacred Stone itself, in Charlotte NC.

Hand bound in the Carolingian style, with the help of the following sites:



After sketches and sample text was decided upon (in the little bound notebook), I set out to cut, line, and assemble the folios( 1 bifold piece of paper)  into signatures (groups of x number folios, in this case 3-4)
Art and words sketched in graphite with notes to remind me which letters were in red. In this case the first line and the first letter of the text block.
Royalty and the deceased were singled out with individual treatment. COG passed during the sketch portion of this project.
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In the upper left hand corner is the ductus (a depiction of each letter cut from the exemplar for reference while doing calligraphy), the center is the folio being inked. The bottom is a piece of scratch pergamenata used for testing ink flow and keeping me from getting hand grease on the folio.

Red ink applied first

After ink was applied to all the folios, and the majority of the graphite was removed, I set to binding the book in the Carolingian style that would be appropriate to the time period. The exemplar appears to have 5 binding spots, so 5 is the number of holes in the following book boards.

Holes drilled for running twine to bind against
Boards clamped into position
Detail of the herringbone binding stitch. Linen thread for stitching. Cotton thread for support.
Glue applied to the string on the boards.
Covered with brown leather. Drying with spacer leafs in the front and back to prevent gluing the book shut.



This was done over the course of about a week of work, interspersed between several other projects between October 2018 – March 2019.

The original assignment was to make my own backlog scroll to submit to the Scrivener Royal competition at Coronation in April.  As I’m working on my binding skills, this seemed a good opportunity. The simplicity of the art of the exemplar also allowed me to keep the time commitment down to the appropriate length specified by the rules of the completion, “about a week.”

I learned:

That I need bigger cutting boards for my “book press.”

Penman’s Dark Brown ink smells like cloves, which makes me smile when I work with it.

Thin Pergamenata especially doesn’t like how humid it is my studio.

I need to get wood to use as the book boards instead of composition for this period style binding. I have a stock of modern bookboards, and time constraints.

Thicker thread for the herringbone end piece.

I need to use a thimble.

I need to learn to emboss and gild the leather covers for more visual impact of the book, because my binding looks like old library books that are rebound by the high school art class. Although, it’s only my second binding.

I did not use animal glue , as would have been period, due to time constraints and availability of modern archival book glue (PVA), which I already have.




Walther, Ingo. Wolf, Norbert. Masterpieces of Illumination: The world’s most beautiful illuminated manuscripts from 400 to 1600; 2005;pg 90-91


Mistress Tirzah’s Laurel

I was asked by her Peers to make a Laurel scroll to be presented at Ymir, this past weekend. Evidently Black scrolls are really what really excite her, so Black hours it is.



Black Hours of Galeazzo Maria Sforza


A book of hours is an early Christian devotional book containing psalms and prayers. They are the most common surviving books from the middle ages. Luxury books widely collected in certain wealthy circles in the 15th -16th centuries. Due to the popularity of these richly illustrated books with very wealthy men, several survive.

Uncommonly, in manuscripts are so called Black Hours. So called due to the dyed parchment on which they are written as opposed to any nefarious content. There are seven extant black hours, few in good condition.

Best known and preserved is the Morgan Hours, fully digitized by the Morgan library. Also in fairly good shape, but not digitized is the Horae Beatae Marie Secundum usum curie romane, c 1458, and the Black Hours of Mary of Burgundy, which is not all in this style. Of these few extant pieces, the one that has art that most appeals to me is the Black Hours of Galeazzo Maria Sforza.The book used to be the property of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, the fifth Duke of Milan. It was produced in Bruges, Flanders, probably between 1466 and 1477. Its name derives from its black borders and dark colour scheme, also found in the New York Black Hours, Morgan MS 493, and of a type favoured by the Burgundian court. It is one of about seven surviving black books of hours, all luxury books from the circle of the Burgundian court around this time. It is identified by some with the Black Hours of Charles the Bold that is mentioned in contemporary records, but others disagree.

It measures 25 by 18 centimetres (9.8 in × 7.1 in), has 154 folios and includes 15 full-page miniatures, 24 small-format miniatures, as well as 71 figurative or ornamental initials, and borders with medallions. The illuminations of the book are entirely attributed to the anonymous Master of Anthony of Burgundy. Written in Latin, it follows the Roman liturgy. The text is inscribed in gold and silver, using textus semi-quadratus, a Gothic script.[1]

According to the historian Antoine de Schryver, this manuscript was commissioned by Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, and is the one mentioned in the archives of the duke, decorated by the French illuminator Philippe de Mazerolles. This hypothesis is criticized by other historians of art, who consider the Black Hours of Charles the Bold to be mostly lost, with fragments surviving in the Louvre (MI1091) and the Bibliothèque nationale de France (NAL149).[2]



I had a full sheet of Arches cover black paper. I had never worked with it before, but it looked like nice heavy paper.

I got new tubes of Nicker gouache for Christmas. I have several tubs of Fintec, and sheets of gold leaf. There is some Dr pH Martin’s gold Spectralite 18K ink and some pH Martin Silver ink that begs for this use.

Many are the dip pens, pencils, erasers, etc.



Layout began with math. Lots and lots of math.


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First the calligraphy because it’s easy to mess up and hard to fix.


Trying out the gouache wash technique
Blue flowers


Various procedure photos including the masking fluid tests are in the mosaic.

Masking fluid worked really well for the thin areas that I wanted to keep black, in the cloak, table, and tile floor. Tiny areas of paint have me using fingernails as a pallet. This is why I’m not allowed to use toxic paints.

What I learned?


Arches cover black is the devil for calligraphy, but takes paint really really well, and is stunningly beautiful.

Arches cover black is too bumpy to be worth “flat” gilding. Raised would probably be awesome.

I like flat gouache better than metallic.

The cut edge of the mat doesn’t particularly want to be gilded, with actual gold leaf, thank you very much.

I very much like this style of scroll.


Two Quick Baronial Awards

For the Thrown Weapons champion!

Johannes von Mittewald- Order of the Defenders of the Stone

For the Brewer.

Luis Alfonso Villalobos- Order of the defenders of the Stone.



Both ink on pergamentat, drawn with crow quill, straight nib for calligraphy. Based on woodcut exemplars.

Merewyn’s Opal



Detail- Bayeux Tapestry

The Scrivener Royal competition for Amos & Kara’s reign was themed Bayeux Tapestry. Due to communications issues the theme announcement was late in coming.

However, I found myself finished with the other things I had due for WOW, and a few days to kill. I obtained a backlog from Mistress Martell, and was given an Opal for a gentle of Nottihill Coill.

I had not met this individual, so facebook stalking ensued. I found out that she was the publisher of their baronial newsletter and a Potterhead.

Needing Bayeux Tapestry theme, I pondered how best to approximate embroidery on paper and settled on colored pencils as the best medium to give me “stitches.”


The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth nearly 70 m (230 ft) long and 50 cm (20 in) tall, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William, Duke of Normandy, and Harold, Earl of Wessex, later King of England, and culminating in the Battle of Hastings. It is thought to date to the 11th century, within a few years after the battle. It tells the story from the point of view of the conquering Normans, but is now agreed to have been made in England.

According to Sylvette Lemagnen, conservator of the tapestry, in her 2005 book La Tapisserie de Bayeux:

The cloth consists of some fifty scenes with Latin tituli, embroidered on linen with coloured woollen yarns. It is likely that it was commissioned by Bishop Odo, William’s half-brother, and made in England—not Bayeux—in the 1070s. In 1729 the hanging was rediscovered by scholars at a time when it was being displayed annually in Bayeux Cathedral. The tapestry is now exhibited at the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux in Bayeux, Normandy, France.


So I got to laying it out, and the size got silly.


Happy with my layout I transferred it to pergamenata.img_1192.jpgimg_1193.jpgIMG_1195

I laid the text in one letter at a time. By which I mean, I wrote every ‘E’ and then every ‘A.’ I decided to do it in this fashion because the stitched text on the exemplar is pretty uneven, and I didn’t want to accidentally become too regular in writing words. The stitching was used as the ductus.img_1196.jpg

Left to right I started to draw. Also, generic people are really boring, and I can’t help myself, I really, really love including Duke Cuan wherever I can.img_1197.jpg

Their Excellencies Notinghill Coill, Lucian and Brig
Dame Morwenna and Master Cian. Dame Morwenna points out that this will be the only time when she and Cian are of a size.
Merewyn Sharpe, based on FB images of her garb
The Whomping Willow- because Potter


I was really pleased with how this came out, the pencil did approximate stitches well. I wouldn’t have thought to do a scroll with pencil otherwise.