4. Romanesque

Background

This blank was designed by Master Giles de Roet based on several English manuscripts illuminated in the Romanesque style, in particular the Winchester Bible created between 1160 and 1175. Written by a single scribe and painted by six illuminators, this magnificent manuscript is the largest surviving 12th century English Bible.

Calligraphy

The hand is based on the neat early gothic script in which the Winchester Bible was written by a single scribe.

The calligraphy on the blank was penned with a size 4 William Mitchell nib, with a basic angle of 40 degrees to the vertical. The letters are penned within 5mm wide lines, spaced 10mm apart: follow these dimensions precisely.

Illumination

Banner Versals
The row of capitals across the top of the page and beside the capital should alternate red and blue, either whole words or groups of two or three letters.
Capital
Vermilion red, gold and rich ultramarine blue should dominate the colour scheme. It is worth using a quality gold paint or leaf gold for this blank, which will yield outstanding results.

Red, blue and gold should be used for the body of the capital, inspired by historiated initials from the Winchester Bible. The interlace may be painted in combinations of red, blue, bright green and purple, even orange (used sparingly), all highlighted with white. These colours may also be used for the foliate vines in the counter of the capital.

The counter background should be always be coloured- blue is preferred in the Winchester Bible, gold is commonly used behind coloured vines in other manuscripts. Be guided by period examples: the overall effect should be majestic and ecclesiastical.

For an alternative look characteristic of 11th century manuscripts, the counter background should be left unpainted, with somewhat muted colours such as pale red, dull blue, sap green, ochre and pale violet (used sparingly) and lavish use of gold for the capital and versals.

You could also add stylised acanthus foliage or humorous babwyns (grotesques) around the shield or seals if you are feeling creative.

Primary Sources

The Ramsey Psalter (MS Harley 2904) c1000
Theological miscellany including Goselinís Life of Augustine and other saintsí lives (British Library MS Harley 105), c1150
The Winchester Bible, 1160-1175