One more weekend, and it is time to pack the camping gear, head out of town and enjoy the copious A&S activities at the Æthelmearc War Practice! With the Return of the Great Hall, boy, do we have a line up… There will be Artisan Playtime, there will be Scribal Playtime, there will be Brewing, there will be Bardic – as well as a woodworking demo and whatever other projects the populace brings for show and tell. Reserve some time out of your busy schedule of martial activities and classes for the many Cool Things happening in the Great Hall yet once again!
Brews and Bards in the Barn Social from 4-8pm in the Great Hall
Master Morien MacBain performs on the field.
To start the weekend off with a bang, the Brews and Bards in the Barn social will happen Friday from 4-8 PM in the Great Hall. Sylvan Bards THLady Maggie Rue and Master Morien MacBain plan a bardic circle together with the pouring of libations by the Brewers Guild. Master Morien would invite prospective Bards to partake of his Eleanor of Aquitaine Challenge! He offers a pair of prizes, one for Joglars or Best Performance and one for Trobars or Best Poem or song Composed on-site, during the evening! He will announce the topic at 5PM and composers may either present their work themselves, or designate another to do so. Eleanor of Aquitaine was the great patroness of the troubadours; the trobars were the writers, the joglars were the singers and a person could be both.
The Æthelmearc Guild of Brewers, Vintners, and Meadhers is working hard on restoring the Pennsic Bar and intends to have it up and running to be able to serve cold brews and fruity meads during the Brews and Bards in the Barn revelry. The first part of the evening the Brewers Guild plans a social get-together or round table for all our brewers old and new to meet and greet the many familiar and perhaps not so familiar faces we have not seen since far too long. Have you kept on brewing? Bring something to share. Are you looking for feedback? Definitely bring something to share! We welcome all, and will also have non-alcoholic beverages available.
Artisan Playtime from 1-5 PM in the Great Hall
A plow plane used for cutting the groove for a panel in a frame.
My personal favorite, woodworking virtuoso Master Robert of Sugargrove will bring his collection of hand tools to demonstrate commonly used period techniques. He shared with me: “I usually do a little stock prep – rough scrub plane & finish smooth plane – how we make a flat, true board; then either some dovetail work or mortise & tenon joinery.”
Master Robert likes to get random folks to try plane work; to give them a sense of what is involved in just getting out a board for a project. He hopes woodworkers will stop by with questions, like what type of wood to use, which joint where, how do I lay out for joinery and such, which Master Robert does not think “really anything unusual or cool,” but I beg to differ!
Teaching the populace the proper way to handle a plane.
Scribal Playtime from 1-5 PM in the Great Hall
Is woodworking not really your thing? THLady Eleanore Godwin is coordinating Scribal Playtime during the same time slot of 1 – 5 PM. She recently secured supplies from her locals the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael (thank you, Mistress Cori!) and looks forward to sharing her tables with the populace. Would you like to get feedback on an existing project? Bring it and share! Are you new to the art but curious to try your hand? Choose a bookmark or perhaps a scroll blank and give it a swing! You never know until you try, right?
At Artisan Playtime, everyone is welcome set up a table and chair and share what they are working on, or to stop by and be inspired by what others are working on. Artisan Playtime is a most wonderful way to see artisans in action, to socialize and network – and to get out of the rain / sun / whatever Pennsylvania Spring has in store for us!
KMoAS Consultation Table from 1 – 5 PM in the Great Hall
A reminder, the Kingdom Ministry of Arts & Sciences will arrange for an A&S ConsultationTable during Artisan Playtime for those new, and not so new, to the arts & sciences to chat about projects, progress and inspirations. Come hang out with us, ask questions about research, documentation and entering for future events, or just plain enjoy the view of art happening in real time!
Hope to see you there.
Please Contact Me if you would like to know more.
It is probably not a bad idea to bring a comfy chair.
PART II: The Material Science and Execution of the Gough Map
by THL Máirghréad Stíobhard inghean uí Choinne
The map was created in three phases starting in 1360 c.: first, the outline of Great Britain/ Scotland, second – other towns, and lastly London.
Recent Useful Learnings about The Gough Map – Materials and Non-destructive Tools
What is “digital restoration”? It is a rapidly growing group of techniques employed since the mid-1990’s by universities / museums to restore and study manuscripts / historical documents damaged by fading, fire, water or creation of a “palimpsest”. A palimpsest is when original text / illumination is removed mechanically from the media (i.e. parchment/papyrus) and overwritten with new text / illustration.
The Gough Map has been digitally surveyed by laser, Raman spectroscopy and most recently hyperspectroscopy and fluorescence by the R.I.T. team. Hyperspectral imaging entails hundreds of colors of light as opposed to the red/blue/green light that your digital/phone camera employs and sophisticated mathematics while consulting with the greater team determining the materials of the map in specific areas (see image of Pigment analysis tool for hyperspectral images). The University of Rochester R.I.T. team traveled to the Bodleian Library at Oxford in 2015 and 2019.
The hyperspectral analysis determined that Hadrian’s Wall is not composed of the same material as the red place name text writing. Both contained vermilion but in different amounts. Five unique red pigments were identified in use on the map. Pigments also appear different on the various substrates such as sheepskin vs. lambskin parchment. Five unique green pigments were identified by the R.I.T. team for the open waterways and five more fore inland waterways. Were they used to denote tides? Crossing spots? River depths? The answers to these questions remain unknown today.
One green pigment was shown to be a mixture of indigo (woad) and a yellow pigment. Analysis showed it to not be orpiment but an organic. It was not believed to be saffron due to the expense but possibly buckthorn yellow. Further analysis discovered verdigris (copper-based green) pigment. Similar analysis will also be used to determine which map areas employ iron gall and carbon inks. I will exclusively use iron gall ink.
A typical system is the University of Rochester (R.I.T.) multispectral system. The R.I.T. hyperspectral system has an enhanced light source subsystem (see difference between images of text from Rediscovering text in the Yale Martellus Map, Spectral imaging and the new cartography). Multispectral imaging is used to recover lost text in damaged and illegible manuscripts. Researchers photograph the object under several different wavelengths of light. The images, when processed and combined, allow the researchers to see material undetectable by the naked eye (see image Illuminating the Past). They are portable and have been brought to many international locations: university libraries, museums, monasteries, and archives to name a few.
Recreating the ‘London Vignette’ from The Gough Map What/Why: My desire to recreate a portion of the Gough Map using period materials, techniques and tools resolved into choosing the London Vignette “Plus” (LVP). London is a well know place in Britain including gold leaf (the name “London”, palace spires) and silver leaf (round windows, battlements) adding to the complexity. The palace roof, appearing green, was originally blue woad. Recreating this portion using the latest scientific research, allowed sharing the exciting new field of digital restoration.
To fully use the piece of parchment donated, I enlarged the London Vignette (LV) from the image on the website to the slightly larger image calling this “The London Vignette Plus”.
Parchment: Gail Kelloge Hope (Mistress Abigail, my parchment mentor) donated the 5 by 7-inch sheep parchment she prepared to this project. I have participated in workshops preparing it as well.
Stylus: According to the British Library and Portable Antiquities Scheme, solid lead styli were used for ruling lines/sketching in the medieval / post-medieval periods. A holder called a ‘plummet’ may have been used to hold the stylus. Images are in Christopher de Hamel’s “Scribes and Illuminators (Medieval Craftsmen). Carbon graphite was not used before the seventeenth century. Due to health hazards, a graphite pencil stylus was used.
Templates: An inquiry was made to The Manuscripts Reference Team at the British Library, Randy Asplund (Master Ranthlfr) and via social media A&S site to Mark Calderwood, noted calligraphy expert, regarding images of templates used. The BL and Mark Calderwood directed me to model books. However, knowing the model books existed did not explain exactly how the models were transferred to the parchment. This is explained in “Introduction to Manuscript Studies” by Raymond Clemens and Timothy Graham. As early as the eleventh century, “pouncing” (not pouncing for preparing parchment) was used. A copy from a model book was selected. Another piece of parchment was placed beneath the original. Pricks with a knife point/needles penetrated both pieces of parchment outlining the figure. The parchment underneath was removed, placed over new parchment and rubbing with a cloth bag filled with chalk/ powdered pigment. A sketchy outline was left on the parchment below. Simply connecting the dots completed the duplicate model. Since the single buildings on the Gough Map only have four pricks, lines were most likely hand-drawn to complete the building. I developed a parchment template for use with a bag of pigment/needles to reproduce the repeating single buildings.
Binders/Mordants for Metal Leaf and Calligraphy: Reflectance FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared Analysis) and hyperspectral analysis has been unable to determine the difference between egg white glair and gum arabic in period samples/modern control samples. In the areas identified by the R.I.T. team as using a binder, I used gum arabic for both gouache and ink. Cennini’s classic recipe for gesso mordant for metal leaf may very well have been used on the Gough Map as it was certainly in use during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Without the mordant identified, Cennini’s slaked plaster recipe was used which is a combination of honey, slaked plaster, hide glue, Armenian bole pigment and water. It was prepared by my Laurel, Roberta McMoreland (Pam McDermott) and me.
Gold Leaf: The gold leaf used for the gold elements is 24 carats as was used in period. Shell gold I prepared in the medieval manner was used to touch up to the edges of gold leaf in the medieval manner as described in my paper “Preparing Shell Gold”. (image Gilding before cleaning – photo by author)
Silver Leaf: The silver leaf used on elements such as the battlements about the London palace or “castle” tarnished with age. This is a well-known phenomenon for silver gilding. It will not appear tarnished in the reproduction – at least not initially.
Pigments: A table included in the full paper was devised showing how many pigments were identified by scientific analysis by the R.I. T. team, which pigments were identified in the LVP, their modern substitutes if used, binder used, and some additional notes. A nominal ratio of 1:10 with enough water to make a preparation roughly like melted ice cream was used for gouaches. Some pigments must be mulled with water using a glass muller against marble before use as was the case with the woad (indigo) pigment.
Preparing to mull the woad (indigo) pigment and gum arabic with glass muller against marble slab. (Photo by author)
Pigments: mixed into gouache with gum arabic with burnisher. (Photo by author) Note that disposable gloves and a disposable mask were used when preparing the vermilion and for post-drying handling due to toxicity.
Pens/Ink: Undoubtedly quills were used to prepare the map which was attached to a stretcher when being worked. I am using goose/crow/turkey quills prepared by Robert Meyer (THL Robert L’Etourdi) or myself. I am also using oak gall ink prepared also by Robert Meyer since the complete study of the inks used on the map is incomplete. However oak gall ink is one of the inks common to the era. “Vermilion” red ink was prepared by mixing gum arabic with vermilion pigment in about a 1:20 ratio then with 30 parts of water. As discussed by Christopher de Hamel in “Illuminators and Scribes”, since making quills was such a common and oft used skill in the middle ages, no known primary source documentation is known describing the process.
Burnisher: When burnishing the gilding, I used a dogtooth burnisher with an agate tip – very hard and smooth and shaped like a dog’s tooth with wooden handle. This approximates the tool used in period except the burnishing tip was actually a dog’s or a cow’s tooth.
Calligraphy Hands: T. M. Smallwood noticed that the revisor scribe of the map uses Secretary letter forms. He made this part of his argument for a new, later date of the map. The Secretary letter forms do show up only in the revised part of the map and not in the text in the original scribe’s hand. They do not appear in place-names in Scotland for example. The LVP is from the part of the Gough Map that included revisions. The Anglicana script was used by the first scribe/calligrapher. The place names that are on the LVP were all overwritten by the revisor and have letters characteristic of the Secretary hand such as the “R” in Reigate.
Parchment: Needlework as determined from inquiries to the Bodleain, the library took possession of the map when the material joining the lambskin and sheepskin was already missing. The seam is not part of the LVP. Using the “Ask a Librarian” at Bodleian Library to find out about the seam-joining material and the exact size of “The London Vignette (LV)”. I interacted with Drs Nick Millea, Oxford Map Librarian at Bodleian Library, renowned expert on the Gough Map and author of The Gough Map: The Earliest Road Map of Great Britain and Marinita Stiglitz, Head of Paper Conservation at the Bodleian to determine this information. Unfortunately, they did not have the dimensions of the LV, so I interpolated the size using a poster from the Bodleain.
What Went Well and Not So Well
• Drawing on the sheepskin parchment went smoothly. Once the parchment was pounced with gum sandarac, it accepted pencil, quill ink and gouache most readily. Pencil and ink were easily removed by scraping.
• Initial mixing and testing of the vermilion ink were successful when used with the quills but the ink was unstable.
• Finding the place names using the interactive map was successful but time-consuming. Understanding that you could search on part of a medieval place name i.e. “gate”, and the map would display all the locations including those letters in the name place on the map, I was able to identify the places in the LVP thus making sense of the calligraphy identifying familiar locations such as Rochester Cathedral. When a place name could not be located, it was omitted for future addition. Place names used are included in the full documentation.
• Mixing the pigments with dry gum arabic and water went very well. Mulling the woad (indigo) pigment with gum arabic using a glass muller against marble slab resulted in much finer pigment particles. The vermilion pigment required a drop of isopropyl alcohol to reduce the surface tension allowing particles to mix with water.
Not so well
• Drawing small figures with quills being left-handed and not yet having perfected beveling was a challenge. Blotting ink in roof corners for example was corrected by scraping excess ink and burnishing the parchment laying the nap flat.
• Although initial mixing of the vermilion ink tested successfully, overnight, the ink settled. Perhaps additional gum arabic /egg glair or a drop of isopropyl alcohol would have helped. In the future I would experiment with formulations and vermilion hues to match the color better perhaps using spectral data from the actual map analyses.
• Gilding in low humidity conditions is always a challenge and with period style a greater challenge. The gold leaf adhered better than the silver leaf despite attempts to increase the humidity in the room using steam. Given the dry, cold weather and impending snow, this was not unexpected. If time allowed, I could have scraped the gesso off, added a drop or two of honey to it and started over.
• Knowing how much sap green to mix with the woad (indigo) to achieve the green for the hills was a challenge. I matched the color as best I could to the poster in tests, but that does not mean it reproduces what was originally used. Controlled tests of various mixtures submitted to simulated aging might be able to spectrally find the original mixture. An inquiry to Dr. Messinger regarding the green pigment analysis was not answered until after completion.
Image: My reproduction of the Gough Map London Vignette Plus (Photo by author).
Further Developmental Studies
There are years of analysis and discovery to be done on the map and other historical documents including: minimizing imaging light exposure to avoid possible long term damage, spectrally “unmixing” pigments, recovering text and damaged areas using fluorescence, automating identification of pigments and creating an affordable imaging system (the R.I.T. systems cost about $50,000 – the goal is $2,000 each).
Rochester, N.Y., located in the Barony of Thescorre, is establishing itself as the world center for recovery of historical documents – whether they have been damaged by age, smoke, water or are palimpsests. The R-CHIVE (Rochester Cultural Heritage Imaging, Visualization and Education) group centered in Rochester meets (also online) alternately at R.I.T. and the University of Rochester and is a collaboration of university researchers, volunteers and students from across the globe. They have held conferences for the past three years in Rochester.
A UNESCO UK Memory of the World Treasure
Cultural heritage imaging is increasing in importance each year. The Gough Map is an excellent example. On 5/23/2011, the Gough Map was added to the UNESCO United Kingdom “Memory of the World Treasures” register. “The UK Memory of the World Programme is part of a worldwide initiative established in 1992 to ‘guard against collective amnesia, calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world ensuring their wide dissemination.’.”19
Future Opportunities for Me with the Gough Map
This project was about the journey through using period tools, methods and materials augmented by modern scientific analysis of the materials not about the appearance of the finished map segment. I do hope to at sometime in the future reproduce the entire Gough Map including delightful elements such as the ship off the Orkneys. Not only does the reproduction improve my cartography/illumination skills, but the associated research broadens my understanding of the history, paleography and codicology of the exemplar, its preparers and users.
I continue my volunteer opportunities with R-CHIVE which assists me in accessing information on recent discoveries. Last year I was able to engage Dr.’s Messinger and Easton with personnel at my company, L3Harris Technologies, to discuss beginning enhancements for this use to the ENVI ™ software my company produces. This software is used to “stitch” all the images together for the non-invasive analyses. My dream is after training at the 2020 conference that R-CHIVE will host, to be able to assist in a hands-on fashion in addition to my current discussions as a volunteer with R-CHIVE for future analyses.
The Gough Map Project developed a wonderful interactive website where users can explore physical aspects of the map itself as well as access papers, presentations, articles and links to other research material about the map. During the A&S competition, I shared access allowing judges/visitors to experience the interactive site onsite.
Image: The Gough Map Decoded entry at Kingdom A&S Championship by THL Máirghréad Stíobhard inghean uí Choinne, member of the AEthelmearc Parchmenters’ Guild.
This article is an abbreviated version. The full documentation, including the full bibliography, can be downloaded from here.
1. Bai, Di; Messinger, David; Howell, David, A Hyperspectral Image Spectral Unmixing and Classification Approach to Pigment Mapping in Historical Artifacts, Journal of the American Institute of Conservation (JAIC), pp. – (March 10, 2019)
2. Cennini, Cennino D’ Andrea. Il Libro dell’ Arte (The Craftsman’s Handbook. Trans. Daniel V. Thompson, Jr. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1933.
3. Delano-Smith, Catherine,Understanding the Gough Map: an application of physics, chemistry and history, accessed 9/24/19
4. Easton, Roger L.; Sacca, Kevin; Heyworth, Gregory; Boydston, Kenneth; Van Duzer, Chet; Phelps, Michael, Rediscovering text in the Yale Martellus Map, Spectral imaging and the new cartography, 7th IEEE International Workshop on Information Forensics and Security, Rome, Nov. 19, 2015
5. Kelloge Hope, Gail, Parchment – Making Basic Instructions, 10/2019
6. Messinger, David, Hyperspectral Image Analysis of the Gough Map of Britain (1410): Who? What? Where/ When? Why? And How?, Chester Carl Center for Imaging Science Lecture, R.I.T., 1/23/2019
7. Illuminating the Past, Rochester Review March–April 2017, Vol. 79, No. 4
8. A pigment analysis tool for hyperspectral images of cultural heritage.
9. Vetter, Wilfried, Latini, Irene, Schreiner, Manfred, “Azurite in medieval illuminated manuscripts: a reflection-FTIR study concerning the characterization of binding media” Heritage Science volume 7, Article number: 21 (2019)
10. Wilcox, Margaret, “Preparing Shell Gold”, Class Handout College of Three Ravens 2010; Fall Academy 2010; Pen V. Sword 2014, Summer Academy 2014; 2/15
What was it like to be a medieval cartographer? And how did I come to be interested in “The Gough Map”? The R. I. T. (Rochester Institute of Technology) Center for Imaging Science hosted a lecture on January 23, 2019 given by Dr. David Messinger, PhD, Director of the Center and his PhD students: Di Bai and Morteza Maali Amiri. I attended this lecture which I discovered through volunteer activities at the R.I.T. and the University of Rochester with digitally archiving historical documents.
The Gough Map shown in Figure 1. is the first known surviving map of Great Britain and has been dated to approximately 1410 c.b.e. (completion date). Earlier maps exist such as Matthew Paris’ map held at the British Library and made in the early part of the 13th century. However, it is much less geographically correct than the Gough Map.
The lecture discussed recent work performed to learn more about the origins, materials and tools and uses of the map. It has been a collaboration between the R.I.T. team and David Howell of the Bodleian Library at Oxford University where the map is housed, Andy Beebe of the University of Durham and Catherine Delano-Smith and Damien Bove of the University of London among others – a group composed of physicists/image scientists, a chemist, a material scientist and two map historians respectively. “This unique collaboration includes researchers from the fields of Imaging Science, Conservation Science, Chemistry, Materials Science, Geography, and History.”
Here, the Gough Map is shown alongside a current map of Great Britain for orientation purposes (Britain; Project Britain). I have also displayed a poster produced for the Bodleain Library that is nearly the same size as the Gough Map (the poster is 17.5” by 35.5”) for reference as well in the A&S competition display site. This lecture led to my additional research on the Gough Map and ultimately the desire to reproduce part of the map, The London Vignette, in an authentic manner. Since the map is roughly 4 feet by 2 feet, bankrolling enough parchment to reproduce the entire map was not feasible.
The Gough map shows all of England and Scotland and part of Ireland. It was bequeathed in 1809 to Oxford Bodleian Library by the antiquarian, Robert Gough (pronounced “guff”). He first encountered it in 1774 and acquired it from the estate of Thomas “Honest Tom” Martin for two shillings and six pence. It measures about 115 x 56 cm or about 45 x 22 inches. This is very large for a manuscript of this era. The parchment is about two thirds sheepskin and one third lambskin. The needlework seam joining the two can be seen running across Scotland. The large size also made the map awkward to work on for the scribes.
The map was extensively revised after about 100 years of use. This was determined from the modern study of the map spearheaded by Catherine Delano-Smith who is also editor of the premier cartography magazine Imago Mundi, starting in 2011. Phase 1 of the modern study of the map was the initial analysis of the material and physical composition of the map. Phase 2 focused on the compilation of the map where three distinct map-making episodes were determined:
Layer 1 – showing the whole of Britain from the English Channel to Scotland
Layer 2 – a reworking of the map south of Hadrian’s Wall
Layer 3 – re-inking of place-names in the southeastern/central quadrant of England
Phase 3 of study will be aimed at in-depth topographical analysis. Currently Phase 1 is continuing with determining what materials appear to be different due to aging of the original materials or because they were added during later revisions and/or are indeed different pigments or inks. The R.I.T. team introduced new scientific tools including hyperspectral analysis to further the Phase 1 study starting in 2016.
During the 1600’s, there was some damage to the map. The owner was told the text would be restored if he applied a mixture of oak gall and red Madeira wine on a sponge to those areas. This approach worked for a few weeks and then due to chemical reactions – resulted in complete destruction of the text and images on those area of the map. This hyperspectral analysis technique was used to reveal the text and illumination that has been chemically removed from the map manuscript.1
King Henry IV was reigning when the map was put into use. It includes 654 place names shown as text alone or in boxes or cartouches and 200 rivers. Other physical features are identified by symbols, with trees locating Sherwood Forest and other wooded areas. What originally appeared to be roads on the map has been suggested to be distances between these places. However, this theory is in dispute and the reason for gathering this data and how it was used remains a mystery. There are red Roman numerals next to these red lines but again the complete reason for these remains unknown.
Image: The Bodleian Library, Oxford, Duke Humfrey’s Library reading room (DeHamel).
What do we currently know about the Gough Map?
The text on the Gough map was executed by at least two scribes: the original 14th-century scribe and a second 15th-century scribe who was a reviser. The text by the original scribe is best observed undisturbed in Scotland section and north of Hadrian’s Wall. The text calligraphed by the reviser is located in south-eastern and central England. The majority of Wales and portions of the Midlands and Cornwall are damaged and faded extensively. Due to this, it is often impossible to be certain currently which scribe is responsible for this text.
Uses of the map
The movements or interests of the unknown map’s owner may well be represented by the selection of lines on the map. The lines between places were originally thought to represent distances with an unknown unit of measure, but that is not now believed to be true. Theories for the meaning of the lines include tax collection. The uses of the map are still simply not fully understood.
Materials and techniques
Town names are in black ink (oak gall ink was a common ink used during this period; carbon black ink came into use at a later time) and red ink. Districts, areas and lines between places are in vermilion red ink. Districts such as “Essex” are in cartouches or boxes. However, none of these districts are included within the London Vignette Plus. There are various characters on the map including fish, sea monsters, boats, and ships and the text such as “where King Arthur landed”. These objects and text can be seen in detail at the website. Places again can be searched for on this interactive map using modern or medieval names or partial names among many other features.
All the churches and buildings on the map are identical and are illuminated over four pin holes as the example shown in Figure 3. It is surmised that a template as was common in monastic illumination was used to draw them and held in place by the holes or perhaps a poncing technique using pricked holes with a template was used. An example would be the identical churches and a single building near London drawn most likely using a poncing template by one of two scribes, the 15th C. revisor (image fromhttp://www.goughmap.com).
The quote below from “Leather, Vellum, Parchment, Drawing and Copying Maps and Charts” gives further detail regarding the use of templates in cartography:
“Exactly how were coastal outlines transferred from the model to new work in the 14th century and what traces can be seen of that (or those) process(es)? Answer; with a template laid on the basic forma of the wind rose. There would then be no trace of the work except the pin holes to hold the template in place (as has been noted).” (citation)
The map was created in three phases starting in 1360 c.: first, the outline of Great Britain and Scotland, second – the other towns, and lastly London.
For more on how Máirghréad deconstructed the materials and constructed a vignette simile keep tuned for the next installment of Behind the Scenes – Kingdom A&S Championship: The Gough Map Decoded Part II!
THL Máirghréad proudly presents the Gough Map Decoded – and won the privilege of becoming the Queen’s Champion for her extraordinary efforts. She is a member of the Parchment Guild.
The Gough Map Project developed a wonderful interactive website where users can explore physical aspects of the map itself as well as access papers, presentations, articles and links to other research material about the map.
This article is an abbreviated version. The full documentation, including the full bibliography, can be downloaded from here
• De Hamel, Christopher, Scribes and Illuminators (Medieval Craftsmen), British Library Press
• Delano-Smith, Catherine, Understanding the Gough Map: an application of physics, chemistry and history, accessed 9/24/19
• ‘in, or close to, the reign of Henry V (1399-1413)’, Smallwood, T. M., ‘The Date of the Gough Map’, Imago Mundi 62 (2010), pp. 3-29, at p. 23.
• Smallwood, T.M. “The Date of the Gough Map”, Imago Mundi, May 2009, accessed 11/4/19
• Messinger, David, Hyperspectral Image Analysis of the Gough Map of Britain (1410): Who? What? Where/ When? Why? And How?, Chester Carl Center for Imaging Science Lecture, R.I.T., 1/23/2019
• Millea, Nick, The Gough Map: The Earliest Road Map of Great Britain, 2007 by Oxford University Press
• “The Future of the Past” Rochester Review March–April 2017 Vol. 79, No. 4
• Wilcox, Margaret, “Lecture on the Gough Map”, Aethelmearc Gazette, 2/2019 online publication
This article was written for a class to be presented at the Known World Heralds and Scribes Symposium, but then I came down with the flu and couldn’t be there. So I’m posting it here in hopes someone may find it useful. It’s aimed at scribal research but the concepts apply to any discipline. – Arianna of Wynthrope
You just gotten a scroll assignment. What to do next? Search online for a design, right? So let’s say you search on “French renaissance illuminated manuscript” and select Images. Jackpot!
You click an image you like.
You can now check Related Images to see if there’s anything similar that you like better. When you find the image you want, look below the name of the page. Here we can see it says… Uh, oh. Pinterest!
We know that Pinterest is NOT a good source. Yes, there’s some great stuff there, but many of the images you find there will be scrolls created by SCA scribes. DON’T USE THESE. They might be fine, based on good research, but there’s no easy way to tell. They might just as well be somebody’s fantasy mishmosh, and either way they constitute tertiary sources with no documentation.
Many other links on Pinterest might look like period manuscripts, but won’t reliably connect you to the original source document. Plus, some styles are hard to pin down on time period. I went looking for 16th century Persian manuscripts one time and found 19th century Malaysian ones that looked very, very similar in style. You need to keep digging!
Even with Pinterest, all is not lost! Let’s dive into the bowels of Pinterest, shall we? Click the link for Visit, NOT Save. You need to explore the image to find its source, time period, etc.
And here we are, on someone’s lovely Pinterest page. She’s been kind enough to label her images with their actual sources, yay!
But we can’t just take her word for it. After scrolling down to find the image we want, we click it to see if we can get to the source.
Hmm, not much help here. Let’s click the image again.
A website for a University! This looks promising. After a little filtering on renaissance art and images of the Virgin Mary, we scroll down to find our page – and it includes attribution to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, England! Bingo!
Ideally, however, we’re not done yet. Let’s Google the Fitzwilliam Museum and search their website. It took a little clicking around, but finally under their Collections Explorer, we hit gold – Illuminated Manuscripts!
Clicking that link brings us to a page with links to lots of illuminated manuscripts including information on their time and place of origin. Which one contains the page we liked? Honestly, do we care? Because this is such a treasure trove, it’s time to just bookmark the whole collection!
As it happens, we can use the options under Refine your results by to filter the search to just French manuscripts and hopefully find the actual source for the image. However, sometimes we won’t find it, maybe because the image has been removed since it was posted to that Pinterest page, which appears to be the case for this lovely page.
Why is it so important to get to the original source? The word you want is Provenance.
Provenance is a list of who had possession of the manuscript from the time it was (purportedly) created until now. Good sources have a complete provenance with no gaps, so we know they aren’t fakes.
If you never get to a source that lists the manuscript’s time, place, and provenance, you cannot rely on it to be an actual period document. If you want to use it anyway, that’s fine, but if you’re entering it in an A&S competition where documentation is important, or you just really want to be sure you’re basing your scroll on a good source, you need to be a little picky.
Reverse Image Searching
If Pinterest is stubbornly taking you around in circles, here’s a way to break out of Pinterest Hell – reverse image search.
Reverse image searching lets you tell the internet “Go find me other web pages with images that look like this one.” There are several ways to perform a reverse image search.
1. In Google Chrome, on any image, right-click the image and select Search Google for image.
2. Ta-da! It shows us that the original of this image probably came from the Morgan Library.
3. But that’s not enough. We need to verify the actual manuscript. Click the thumbnail of the picture.
4. Now we’re in a funhouse of multiple copies of the same image. As you hover your cursor over each copy of the image, a hint as to its origin displays. For example, with the cursor over the image on the far right, we can see that this one is stored at… Pinterest. OK, we know to skip that one!
As it happens, ALL of them are from Pinterest… except this one:
5. Hmm, let’s click it.
6. Aha! The Morgan Library! So we click Visit, and… woohoo, the real thing!
7. Clicking the See more information link gets us tons of information about this manuscript, including a detailed description and the manuscript’s Provenance!
We did it! We found the actual period manuscript from which this image came, and all of the information about it! Exhausting, wasn’t it?
If you don’t have Google Chrome, you can still do a reverse image search
1. Right-click the image and select Copy link address.
2. Go to Google.com and, in the upper-right corner, select Images.
3. In the Google search bar, click the camera icon to search by image.
4. Press Ctrl-V to paste the image’s address into the Paste Image URL field and click Search by Image.
5. This gets us to the same place as step 2 in the search using Google Chrome as discussed above. This is why you should probably just use Chrome.
Note: there are other websites that perform reverse image searches using the address of the image, like www.tineye.com. Each of them may produce different results. Use whichever one you like.
A Better Way
Instead of searching through random stuff on the web, a better bet is to use sites with lots of manuscripts that you know are legitimate, like universities, libraries, and museums. Then, bookmark them! Here are a few great ones:
Keep in mind that the location of a museum or library is not necessarily related to the place of origin of the books in its collection; e.g. the Welsh National Library has mostly French & English mss., while the British Library has an extensive collection of Hebrew manuscripts.
Some cultures just didn’t have their own distinctive styles. The Scots and Welsh mostly borrowed from England, while Belgium borrowed from France and Germany. Some cultures didn’t create a lot of manuscripts at all – we don’t have much from the Scandanavian countries, for instance, so for someone with a Viking persona you probably want to look for something Anglo-Saxon instead.
Using the image you just found
Now that you’ve got a good source, how to use it? Save the images so you can access them offline later. You may want to print them out, in color if possible, to have on hand while painting your scroll (though if you have a tablet, accessing them directly online works, too).
If the image is just a single page with no zoom options, you can use your trusty right-click to invoke the menu and then either select Save image as and give it a name and location where you want to save it, or choose Copy image and then paste it into a Word document. When there are multiple pages of a manuscript that I like, I prefer the latter, since I can then have a single document with all of the images from a single manuscript.
When I’m on a page with zoom features, I prefer to zoom into the parts I want and then take screenshots. The [Prnt Scrn] button works for that, but for better control, on a PC I prefer the Snipping Tool.
Access the Snipping Tool from a Windows computer’s Start menu under WindowsAccessories to take screenshots.
Zoom in for closeups of the detailed areas before taking your screenshots.
Paste them into a Word document.
Type the URL and a name and description of each ms. into the Word doc for later reference, so you know where you got them.
If you want to be able to trace an image onto your scroll paper, use Word’s Format Picture feature to change your image to black and white. If necessary, fiddle with the Brightness and Contrast to make the image easier to see. Resize the image to the size you need, print it, and trace.
Bookmark and, if possible, download any facsimiles recommended to you that you think might be useful or interesting. Create folders on your hard drive for the Word docs you created – you can re-use images for multiple scrolls.
Lots of people from all over the SCA are on various scribal Facebook groups, posting photos of their work, links to manuscripts, questions, and advice. People who are especially good sources of info on these sites who I know pretty well include: Master Giles from Lochac, aka Mark Calderwood; Master Ranthulfr from the Middle, aka Randy Asplund, Lord Ian TheGreen from the Middle, Mistress Tetchubah from Caid, aka Carolyn Richardson, and Mistress Katarina Helene from the Middle, aka Helen Schultz. Folks on these groups are generally kind, helpful, and will not critique a scroll posted on the group unless the poster explicitly asks for it.
The Barony of Thescorre is having a “garage sale” to benefit the scribes of the Kingdom. Anyone who has received an award scroll can see the time and effort put into each work of art. Supplies for our beautiful scrolls are expensive, and the money earned will allow more scribes to do their art for Æthelmearc.
Please bring your SCA-related items that you no longer use to Pax for the sale. Pre-pricing items is helpful. There will be a tent set up in the merchant area.
Need items for Pennsic? Then come and shop! You never know what kind of bargains you will find.
(And the favor of stopping by at the end to retrieve unsold items would be greatly appreciated.)
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly via Facebook (Pamela McDermott) message or email.
Mistress Roberta McMorland
The SCA 50 Year Celebration continues in the Middle Kingdom with a variety of activities. Thanks to Viscountess Hodierna Miriglee of Lincludin, who was the second Princess of Æthelmearc, and to THLady Rachel Dalicieux for their reports and photos!
Alas, rain on Tuesday and Wednesday caused the closure of some venues including archery and siege, but participants enjoyed many other activities in the many buildings and arenas available on the fairground site. There were crafts in the arts building including pottery, fiber arts, and block printing, as well as numerous children’s activities.
One record already set by the 50 Year Celebration is that it currently holds the largest gathering of equestrians in the history of the Known World. There were mounted combat tournaments and other competitions over the course of the week.
Equestrians at SCA 50 Year. Photo by THLady Maeve ni Siurtain.
Mounted combat. Photo by THLady Maeve ni Siurtain.
The Queens of the Known World participated in one particularly unusual equestrian competition. They were driven in horse-drawn chariots and had to complete tasks much as in normal equestrian competitions, knocking over artificial “enemies” with beanbags. So of course the Æthelmearc contingent in the stands took the opportunity to cheer Queen Ariella on with chants of “Oh, No, Rock to the Face!” each time she struck a target. While our queen acquitted herself well, the winner of the competition was Queen Adrielle of Ealdormere.
Queen Ariella in the chariot tournament. Photo by Mistress Hilderun Hugelmann.
One of the marvels on site was the “Great Machine.” Powered by dogs, it can do a variety of work. One of its creators, Master Sylard of Eagleshaven from Ealdormere, demonstrated using it to drive a Da Vinci Hammer and transform a bog iron bloom to iron that can be worked.
Sir Stefan Ulfkelsson of Æthelmearc also spent some time working bog iron at 50 Year, though without the benefit of the machine. Instead, he had assistants working a bellows to heat a charcoal fire so he could smelt the bog ore into iron using a Viking-era bloom forge. He reports that he was able to achieve about 25% efficiency of product in to iron out, which is very good for this technique.
Assistants working the bellows at the forge. Photo by Master Fridrikr Tomasson.
Sir Stefan Ulfkelsson at the forge. Photo by Master Fridrikr Tomasson.
Photos by Master Fridrikr Tomasson.
Other indoor activities have included a Boat Battle, a Squire’s Tournament, a Known World Hafla, and Children’s A&S Day.
Of interest to both scribes and bards, SCA 50 Year marked the unveiling of a book that was created by a group of over 50 Midrealm artisans in a project called “Calf to Codex.” Spearheaded by Master Johannes von Narrenstein, they began five years ago with deer that were butchered by hand and their hides processed into parchment. The parchment was then distributed to numerous scribes who painted and calligraphed the text using handmade oak gall ink and period pigments, and in some cases even handmade paint brushes and of course, quill pens. The text includes Midrealm history, stories, and songs written by a score of bards of the Middle, including such luminaries as Mistress Marian of Heatherdale, Duke Finvarr de Taahe, and Duke Laurelen Darksbane. Once complete, the parchment pages were gathered into quires, sewn together to form a book, and bound using hand-planed quarter-sawn oak panels and a tooled leather cover with handmade metal reinforcements and clasps. The threads used to sew the book together were made from flax grown, harvested, combed, and spun by members of the Society. Even the tools used to line the leather cover were hand-made. At SCA 50 Year, Master Johannes presented the 112-page book at a performance area where bards performed music and stories from it.
Master Johannes says of the book’s purpose: “It will be used like a book should be – read from, to us, at events and gatherings. We will have a custodian to take care of it, and invite readers to read to us from it.”
The photos below, by Viscountess Elashava bas Riva, are stunning. Gentles interested in a closer look at the project can learn more on the group’s Facebook page.
One of the more popular events of 50 Year was the “Founders Meet and Greet.” A group of five gentles who were present at the first tournament, including its hostess, Countess Diana Listmaker, told stories of the Society’s founding and early days and answered questions. They are undoubtedly the celebrities of the event and have graciously had their pictures taken with scores of people from all over the Known World.
Some of the Society’s Founders at SCA 50 Year. Back Row: Countess Diana Listmaker, Duke Henrik of Havn, Count Stefan de Lorraine, and Baroness Marianna of Silversea. Front row: Viscountess Hodierna and Duke Frederick of Holland. Photo courtesy of Viscountess Hodierna.
Medievally speaking, what gets your creative juices flowing?
Is it getting your hands dirty making stuff?
Is it figuring out how things were done?
Delving into the when and where and why of medieval life?
Is it learning something you didn’t know before?
Is it learning more about something that intrigues you?
If you answered “YES!” to any of these questions, consider teaching at Æthelmearc Æcademy and War College, hosted by the Shire of Ballachlagan (Wheeling, WV), on June 11.
So far, we have 25 classes (that’s 31 class-hours!) scheduled, on these topics: Bardic, Brewing, Clothing, Dance, Embroidery, Heraldry, History, Metalworking, Research, SCA Life, Scribal, Youth Track, War College — Fencing (for a listing of class titles and descriptions, please visit the Æcademy website).
But sadly, there are NO classes (yet) in Cooking, Equestrian Arts, or Fiber Arts. If you’ve never taught at Æcademy (or if it’s been a while), no problem! It’s easy to register — Just go to the Æcademy registration page and supply the requested information about yourself and your class.
If you’ve never taught a class (or have taught but are still a bit nervous about teaching), I have a solution! On Saturday of Æthelmearc War Practice, from 3 to 4 pm, I’ll be teaching a class called “Documentation to Class,” which will give you ideas to turn what you know into a successful class.
If you have signed up to teach at Pennsic, consider teaching at Æcademy as a “dress rehearsal.” Teaching in June will give you time to fine-tune your class. Plus, the feedback and experience will boost your confidence.
Looking for something to do at War Practice? Wishing to try your hand at a new art?
Come to the Great Hall and do just that!
In addition to classes in music and dance, and an embroidery salon run by THL Cristina inghean Ghriogair, you can try calligraphy and illumination under the helpful guidance of Mistress Yvianne de Castel d’Avignon and Mistress Liadin ní Chléirigh na Coille, play with fibers with Mistress Mahin Banu Tabrizi, or try cooking over an open fire with Mistress Katla úlfheþinn.
Scribal play time and the embroidery salon will run 3pm to 6pm on Friday; on Saturday, the various play times will be from 10am to 4pm. Stop in and try your hand at something new – embroidery, calligraphy, illumination, cooking, weaving in between attending the classes being run in the Hall. Or stop in and lend a hand to one of the areas, or just come spend the day doing something you love and sharing it with others!
Looking forward to the day.
Baroness Orianna Fridrikskona
Deputy Kingdom Minister of Arts & Sciences
An all day scribal workshop focusing on the Macclesfield Psalter will be held in BMDL at The Castle (755 Stonegate Dr, Wexford PA 15090) on Sunday, April 24, from 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Please heed the parking marshal, as the site is on a private street. Questions regarding the Castle or directions to the Castle may be addressed by TRHs Byron or Ariella- they may be reached by telephone (724) 933-4661.
Have you tried your hand at painting a Psalter style scroll? No? Well this is your chance to receive all the instruction and guidance needed to complete a Psalter style scroll. Scribes will be learning new techniques on exercise cards and then immediately applying that new knowledge directly onto the scroll blank.
Overview/Elements of the Psalter-Early period painting/shading techniques,Whitework, Diapering, Gilding and Caligraphy.
Materials fee is $10.00 and will include: Exercise cards for each of the above areas of instruction and hand outs. A hand drawn scroll blank with matching color photocopy of that folio from the book. Palette with enough paint to complete exercise cards AND scroll blank. Gilding supplies to complete scroll (done in class time). Correct caligraphy nib for the manuscript.
Class limit is 20 scribes with 4 wait list spots held per workshop; a total of 6 workshops are being planned for 2016.
~Wait listers~ will be given first choice for the next available workshop or future workshop of their choice and will be placed at the top of that workshop roster. Further, the registration for the next available workshop will open the day _after_ the current workshop is held.
No auditors will be accepted for the 6-8 hour workshop(s) because we want to make it possible for every scribe to participate fully in one of the six 2016 all day workshops and receive the full measure of attention and instruction that is only possible with the scribe as a full student.
Scribes are asked to bring their own scribal boxes w/ brushes, caligraphy pen/nib holder and a scroll case and any other creature comforts they require.
The focus is on scribal arts, there will be no other activities scheduled for the day, garb is optional.
A snack/potluck style table will be set up for participants to bring stuff to share. After the workshop those interested are invited to go out for a local Chinese buffet for dinner.
2016 workshops to include: Macclesfield Psalter(BMDL), A beginner French Illumination workshop (western PA), Visconti Hours (western NY), Gladzor Gospels (Pennsic), Grand Hours of Anne of Brittany (eastern NY) and a workshop in WV – pending site confirmation.
In an effort to make sure we have enough supplies on hand we ask that you send Antoinette an email to let her know that you plan to attend.
Registrations and questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Augmentation scroll for Morgan Elandris by Ysabeau Tiercelin
Were you given a scroll at some point, and handed a case in which to safely transport it home? Is that case sitting in a drawer or closet at your house? Here is your chance to return it to the Signet’s Office so that some lucky new recipient can bring THEIR new scroll home in it at a future event!
We will have a scroll collection point in the Pent Room at Ice Dragon on April 2. Let’s see how many scrolls we can have returned!
There will also be a backlog table, where you can pick up your finished backlog scroll, so if you are due a scroll, stop on by. Just make sure you sign the check-list if you pick one up!