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Re: Inks & Gold in Medieval Mss.



Hi!

The gold in medieval mss. is generally of two types, either raised or flat.

The raised gold is pure metallic gold beaten into leaf, and laid on a=
 white-lead based gesso. The lead crystal is flexible enough to provide for=
 the turning of pages, without the plaster popping off!

The simpler method is a powered metallic gold, referred to as 'shell gold'=
 due to the practice of using sea shells to store the dry pigment. This was=
 then either laid with a brush or in some mss, written with a fine quill. A=
 sheet of gold leaf was 'ground' with honey into a fine dust, and then the=
 honey was washed away with water, allowing the gold to settle into the=
 shell. A bit of gum arabic added to help hold the dust to the page surface.

Much of interest may be found in "The Craftmans Handbook" by Cennini (16th=
 century), which I believe is available from Dover(?)

Also, for contemporary book artists, "The Calligrapher's Handbook" contains=
 chapters on raised gilding by Donald Jackson, the Scribe to the Crown=
 Office of HM Queen Elizabeth II. I'm not sure if this is still in print,=
 since the calligraphy boom has died back quite a bit in the last decade or =
so...

Both books may probably be found at Amazon, or your favorite megabookonlines=
tore ;-)

BTW, if you live in the US, don't bother trying to do gesso gilding in the=
 winter. The surface needs to be very hard, to allow you to burnish the gold=
 to a high gloss, but also just barely sticky from a bit of sugar in the=
 mix, to hold the gold to the gesso for a thousand and more years. Think=
 damp monasteries in July ;-)

Again, I recommend the books above for other inks and natural dyes, as well.


>Greeting to all I have joined the list and have a question about Medieval
>Inks.  Are there any good resources on making your own from natural
>ingredients? What was used when the illuminating had gold in it?  Anybody
>have experience on the making of their own inks, how did they turn out?
>
>I am new to books and have very many questions and I hope to find some
>answers.  As well I hope that I can help return the favors.
>
>Regards,
>Corey Minch
>
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            BOOK_ARTS-L: The listserv for all the book arts.
      For subscription information, the Archive, and other related
            resources and links go to the Book_Arts-L FAQ at:
                      <http://www.philobiblon.com>
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