4. Early Gothic

Background and History

This award blank used in Lochac was designed by Master Richard de la Croix and is fairly characteristic of late 11th to 12th century MS. Elements of illumination are taken from several closely related sources.


The calligraphy in this blank dates in style to the early 1200's. Again, this style of illumination and calligraphy was very widespread in scriptoria in England and Europe, and both produced numerous examples which have survived to the present. Note also the versals appearing at the top of the text.

The ancestor of this hand is to be found in Carolingian minuscule. It was the need for a faster and more space conscious hand that eventually led to the birth of the early gothic script. The well rounded letter common to the Carolingian hand was replaced with a much narrower, and more economical rendering.

The calligraphy on the blank was penned with an Osmiroid "Italic Broad" nib (though a "B2" held at a sharper angle would probably suffice), with a basic angle of 45 degrees to the vertical. The letters are penned within 5mm wide lines, spaced 5mm apart. Follow these dimensions precisely.

Again, if you like to live on the edge, rubricate (oen in red) or even use green for the text used for the name and possibly the blazon. As with the Bastarde blank, it is my opinion that the final product looks nicer if you make the text for the name and device left aligned (ie in line with the rest of the body text).


There are several elements in the blank that need illumination. Unfortunately, the colouring of some areas in blank proved more of a mistake than a convenience. I would urge again that you try to stay with the primary colours, red, green and blue (an ochre colour for the vines and leaves also seems to have had some prominence in the mid 12th century).

In this particular design there are a number of things that you can do for the background and the capital.




Generally if you use the three primary colours you're fairly safe. Shading the leaves and beasts creates the desired effect, but again consult period examples if you want to branch out further.