1) Introduction   2) Commission    3) Design and Calligraphy
4) Gilding    5) Paint    6) Painting Process

Introduction: The Commission

     As with any illustration job, it all has to begin with deciding what to illustrate. Tournaments Illuminated, like most magazines, uses a particular format. I had to become aware of which elements would need to be placed in various locations. These included the titles, the logo, mailing information, etc. Once I had this information, I was free to start planning the style and pictorial elements for both the front and the back.

     In the middle ages, it was not uncommon for a book to be commissioned in a similar way. A patron would approach a merchant known as a Stationer and place an order. The patron would then request various aspects be done to his taste, and an agreement would be made upon those elements and the cost for each. He would be able to specify the size, the calligraphic style, the amount of decoration, the types of colors, and whether there would be any gold included. The stationer would then arrange various craftsmen to complete the work in pieces and in stages. I differ in my process in that I am the stationer, calligrapher, gilder, and illuminator all in one.

     I decided to try a style which would be derivative from a basic Anglo-French Gothic style of circa 1300. Of course, if you really want to be picky, the styles were somewhat different from England, France, and the low countries, but I decided not to get too particular because in the context of a magazine cover it couldnít be 100% authentic anyway. I could afford to allow myself some freedom of creativity. So I chose sources which fit the general style, within reason. Although I have had experience with a lot of different manuscripts, some in books and others in museum collections, I mostly relied on printed examples of manuscript samples. These included:

The Psalter and Hours of Yolande of Soissons. NY, Pierpont Morgan Library M729. Made in northern France in the last quarter of the 13th c.

The Tickhill Psalter. NY. Public Library, Spencer Collection MS 26. Made at Worksop Priory, Nottinghamshire, beginning of the 14th c.

The Luttrell Psalter. London. British Library MS Additional 42130. English, early 14th c.

The De Lisle Psalter. London. British Library MS Arundel 83 pt. 2.  Made in England but in a Parisian style between 1330-39.

The Beaupre Antiphonary. Baltimore, The Walters Art Gallery MS 759. Made in French Flanders in 1290.

The Gorleston Psalter. London. British Library MS Additional 49622. England, first quarter of the 14th c.

The Oscott Psalter. London. British Library MS Additional 500000. England, third quarter of the 13th c.