It is always a great relief when a book is published and rough drafts that have been worked on for so many months or even years all come to fruition. This is exactly how I feel about my latest book – Illumination: Gold and Colour. This is just about everything I know about using metallic pigments, powders and leaves, colour, the traditional materials of vellum and parchment, as well as quills, gesso and egg tempera painting along the way.
The book, with a preface by Professor Michelle Brown, has 162 pages, is lavishly illustrated, and costs £15 + p+p. Here is a sneaky peak inside.
It is available from my website here; I shall be delighted to write a name calligraphically in each copy. To buy the book please contact me and I’ll send you details of how to pay, and how much the postage will be. I don’t use Paypal nor take credit/debit cards, so if you would prefer to pay in this way, then L Cornelissen and Son are also selling the book (in this case I won’t be able to write in a name). Contact them here. The book complements my Illumination DVD.
Chapters include a brief history of manuscript production, tools, materials, techniques and projects. I felt it very important to include projects which are very simple and cheap to do (gold leaf is expensive!). So there are lots of ideas for making simple items with cheap gold and colour which even children could do.
There are also step-by-step ‘instruction boxes’ which make it easy to find out how to do various processes, but also ‘ingredients’ lists and numbered steps to follow them through. These are coloured and boxed so they are clear to see and find in the book.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a book about Illumination if vellum, parchment and quills weren’t throroughly explained and considered. So the differences between parchment and vellum are explained, how to prepare skin for writing and painting is here, how to stretch vellum over board in easy step-by-step stages is also covered, so are curing and cutting feathers into quills, and how to prepare pigments and mix them for egg tempera painting.
The projects include simple and easy, those more complicated such as writing on vellum with colour and shell gold, right up to mediæval miniature gilding and painting, and also how to plan and make a presentation scroll on vellum using traditional skills which is based on an actual commission.
The book finishes with a chapter on pigments which were used in mediæval manuscripts.