Bestiary Manuscript

Handwritten and draw over real vellum using traditional pigments

BEASTS OF THE MIDDLE AGES

 

Between the 12th-13th centuries, theologians and scholars wrote books called bestiaries all about real and imaginary animals.

Bestiaries were texts with illuminated, or hand painted and drawn, pictures. These bestiaries were similar to today’s fairy tales with a Christian spin. Authors used animals in an allegorical way to convey meaning

Left: Monoceros and Bear. Bodleian Library, MS. Ashmole 1511, The Ashmole Bestiary, Folio 21r, England (Peterborough?), Early 13th century.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestiary

LOOK HOW WE WORK

OUR BESTIARY MANUSCRIPT

We are currently undertaking a very special and unique passion project: the making of an original illuminated “BESTIARY” manuscript.

In an attempt to emulate the exceptional quality and significance of such enterprise, this Bestiary will be entirely hand-crafted on genuine scribal sheepskin vellum and decorated with flat and raised-gold gilding using medieval methods and techniques, honoring the process and traditions of ancient manuscript making. The Calligraphy will be a great task as the hand-written word is at the heart and soul of any original manuscript project such as this one.

The images are based on iconic vivid paintings of mythological animals, legendary creatures, and drawings that populated earlier bestiaries from Medieval times.

OUR ORIGINAL PAINTS

ABOUT US

 

The Vellum Page is a unique calligraphy/illuminated manuscript studio based in Manhattan, New York. We are at the leading edge of art, innovation and the science of rare manuscript, codex, facsimile and custom project production and reproduction. Some of our customers include the Morgan Library, the Museum of the Bible and numerous private collections and collectors.

OVERVIEW

 

It was around 1,450 when the Gutenberg printing press (the divine- or- the infernal machine) put the art of making amusing manuscripts to rest. Reviving the art of such illuminated manuscripts means using a wide range of ancient materials and techniques.

Front cover Bestiary 

Base 500 years walnut wood, carved bone, silver and precious and semiprecious stones

MATERIALS & TECHNIQUES

MATERIALS

Written support:

– Natural lamb

& goatskin vellum

– Papyrus (for display)

Vellum reparation

– Pumice powder

– Resin sandarac

Inks:

– Iron gall

– Brazil-wood

– Buckhorn

– Vine black

– Charcoal

– Walnut

Written instruments:

– Quail

– Reed

– Calligraphy nib pen

– Lead stylus of plummet

Gold Gilding

23 K gold and  Silver leaf

– Flat Gilding size:

Gum ammoniac & Glair

– Raised Gilding size:

(Cennini’s formula):

While lead

Sleek gesso sottile

Hide glue

Armenian Bole

Sugar

Paint

– Egg Tempera:

Pigments:

– Ivory black

– Cinnabar

-Red ochre

– Ultramarine blue

– Yellow ochre

– Burnt umber

– Burnt sienna

– Verdigris

Book Cover

– Base: 2 pieces of 400

years-old certified

fallen walnut tree.

– Bone carved

– Semiprecious stones:

Sapphire

Amethyst

Topaz

Aquamarine

Zircon

Garnet

Citrine

Turquoise

Zirconium

– Hand-blown glass beads

– Mother of pearl

TECHNIQUES

Bookbinding:

– By hand

Calligraphy

– Hand-written

Parchment

– Elaborated by hand

Painting

Original paintings

using a combination

of ready-made egg

tempera & egg-tempera

done on our studio

by grinding historical pigments

and egg yolk

Inks

Ancient inks are handmade by chemist Lucas Tucker

Gold Gilding

– Flat Gilding

Size: Gum ammoniac & Glair

– Raised Gilding

Size: Cennini’s formula

Glass beads

Hand-blown by the Royal Glass Factory of La Granja Granja (Spain), one of the oldest glass factory in Europe.

THE PAINTING

THE INKS/PIGMENTS

THE BOOK COVERS

THE WOOD & BONE

AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL

 

The main goal for this project is to offer an “educational kit” to scholars, providing a tool that may help to teach about the history and the beauty of illuminated manuscripts, the materials being used and complex techniques. For this purpose, the manuscript is accompanied by:

1. A Study Guide: (writings and essays done by experts on the field dealing with a number of topics: bestiaries and its meaning, medieval pigments and inks, gold gilding, calligraphy, bookbinding, etc.).

2. Samples of materials: such as pigments, inks, vellum (sheep and goat), papyrus, and other writing tools and instruments.

3. Supportive audiovisual: videos showing how the vellum, egg tempera, calligraphy, bone carving -for the front book cover, bookbinding, etc. are being made following the ancient medieval artisan ways.

KIT COMPONENTS

1. The Bestiary Manuscript

2. Natural Pigments & Inks Kit

3. Study Guide

4. Writing Tools

5. Vellum & Papyrus pieces

6. Multimedia

THE STORY OF OUR PARCHMENT

Following the ancient handmade tanning process that has remained very much unchanged over past 13 centuries, skins are scraped, clean and soaked in water, lime, and other natural acids to clean and remove all of the hair, fat and other tissue from each hide.

After that, they are dried and stretched on wooden frames. They are hand-polished and honed on both sides and finally cut and sorted based on quality and intended use.
Only the best skins are hand-picked, one by one (see Ramón at the tannery). Stretching and framing them on a wooden frame using ancient tools is a delicate and gentle craft. Any crack or tear turns the skin unusable.

Click right/left to show more

THE INKS AND PIGMENTS

Most of the ancient inks and quills we are using for this manuscript are hand- made by chemist Lucas Tucker, from Scribal Workshop following medieval and renaissance period recipes and techniques. We are using iron gall, brazilwood, buckthorn, vine black, charcoal and walnut inks. Gum sandarac and pumice powder are used to prepare the surface. Ancient inks, including lump-black charcoal, walnut and/or iron gall medieval inks are used. More info about inks in scribalworkshop.com

THE ALCHEMY OF OUR ARTISANS

A number of skillful craftsmen and specialist are engaged on this project: a parchment maker, calligraphers, ink and pigment makers, silversmith, a wood and bone carver, gemologist, a glass-blown expert, illustrator, bookbinder, and a painter for the manuscript production. A number of curators and specialist from different institutions (The Morgan Library, The New York Public Library, The Metropolitan Museum and several universities are a big part of this project with their and support.

Before commencing on the calligraphy of this project, our scribes had to ready the parchment by preparing the surface with a combination of an ancient mix of gum sandarac and fine pumice.
Afterward, the calligraphy work is done using only ancient inks including iron gall, walnut and lamp black mixed with Arabic gum.
Other archival inks and treatments have been used to preserve the quality and durability of this manuscript.

A FEW OF OUR TEAM MEMBERS

José Manuel
Artist/Gold gilding

Todd Blackmoore
Director Business Development

María Soto
Silversmith

Esteban
Bone & Wood carving

Jesús Esteban
Carpenter

Ander Gómez-Miranda
Painter

Nacho Ponce
Parchment

Julio Vega (center)
Calligrapher

Ramón Abajo (left)
President

Ramón and Todd at the Museum of the Bible

OTHER AMUSING PROJECTS

The Siddur Prayer Book

Our siddur facsimil production of one of the oldest manuscripts of the Jewish Prayer books for the Museum of the Bible.

This tiny manuscript, roughly the size of a modern smart-phone is estimated to be over 1,300 years old and is only about 50 leaves/pages long, with Hebrew script covering each thick, rough-edged gorgeous page. It is one of the oldest Siddur manuscripts known to exist. We reproduced four identical facsimiles. In an attempt to emulate the exceptional quality and significance of the manuscript, this unique Siddur facsimile was hand-crafted on genuine scribal sheepskin parchment.

The Digital Haggadah

A monumental multimedia retelling of the ancient text fusing calligraphy, computer design, digital animation, gold gilt painting, and narration, lavishly illustrated with over 100 images from the Old Testament and prominent synagogues. <<The Haggadah of the Future>>, <<So beautifully crafted that it complements the elegance of the iPad>>.

Get In Touch

14 + 15 =

Address

80 Eighth Ave. Suite 1M
New York, NY 10011
www.thevellumpage.com
www.medievalbestiary.com

Todd Blackmoore

Director of Business Development

todd@thevellumpage.com

(310) 948-6712

Ramón Abajo

President

ramon@thevellumpage.com

(800) 203-0612