The Sword and the Pen Part 1

So I’ve not posted anything for an unreasonable amount of time. Because I have been far more busy than I care to admit. My ten month old son takes up a lot of my time, and I had four scroll commissions that were all time sensitive and took much of my leisure time. For those who are not part of the Society for Creative Anachronism, the scroll commissions are award certificates for awards given by the sitting monarchs (regional club president if you will) for excelling in Arts, Sciences, Service to the community and Combat arts. Each scroll assignment is given to a scribe with a one or two week lead-in to allow them time to get a hand created scroll for each recipient, and done so in a pseudo-period manner. To the point some scribes even grind their own paint pigments and make their own inks.

In my situation, I was planning on doing one or two certificates for the regional grouping, but I was asked to do a couple extra ones to help lighten the load of the lady who is in charge of the assignments. And thus begun my journey of doing four award scrolls in three weeks. Ordinarily, my wife would assist me in doing the line art or painting, but she was covered up with her own projects, and helping me by watching John, so these four scrolls are the first set I’ve done all by myself. This article is only going to focus on the first of the four, with follow-ups to come.

A Cavendish Knot Scroll for Syr Cadogan Blaydes

This was in the emergency packet of scrolls that were needed for me to do, and it became my favorite one. For those who are not part of the Midrealm, a Cavendish Knot is a fencing award given for prowess at arms, volunteering service to the rapier community. Knowing Syr Cadogan as a Cut and Thrust rapier swordsman, and further knowing that he (like myself and my buddy Phil over at schiltslac) was a fan of the Tower Fechtbuch (I.33) that I used the Tower Fechtbuch as my inspiration to do this scroll.

Cav Knot for Syr Cadogan

Cavendish Knot for Syr Cadogan Blaydes

This piece is based off of folio 80R if I recall correctly, but I cannot find my inspiration piece at the moment. The inks on this scroll are a store bought red and a homemade Walnut ink made with Walnuts from my family’s farm. The paint is Gouache and Shell Gold.

One of the hardest things for me to figure out when designing a scroll layout is where to put the badge that goes with the scroll in question. In this case, it became relatively easy as I noticed that several pages of the manuscript had a cross above the Priest’s head.

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Detail from Royal Armouries Collection, showing cross in circle.

If you note the text in the detail, it is in a proto-gothic hand, one that I did not know when I took this assignment on, so instead, I went to something that was the direct descendant of proto-gothic, and went to my bread and butter hand of Gothic Batard.

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Closeup of the Cavendish knot and font

I tried to stay true to the feel of the original, yet have my own spin on it to make it my own before giving it away. The best part is that I’m 99.9999% sure that the recipient really appreciated the effort that went into this scroll.

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Syr Cadogan with his scroll. (Photo by Ann-Marie Small)

Time spent on this project:

  • Research for the page from the Tower Fechtbuch that just spoke to me for this project: 1 Hour.
  • Drafting and Inking the art work: .5 Hour.
  • Painting the Priest and the student: 1 Hour.
  • Calligraphy: 2 hours.
  • Total: 4.5 hours.

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