Tag Archives: illumination

St. Alban's Psalter

One of my favorite styles of manuscript…. Anglo Saxon Art

One of my favorite styles of manuscript…. Anglo Saxon Art

The blog A Clerk of Oxford posted today about one of my favorite style of manuscript.  The manuscript is the Benedictional of St. Æthelwold, one of the last surviving Winchester-style manuscripts of 10th-century Anglo-Saxon mastery.  St. Æthelwold ‘s is one of the earliest of this style of manuscript.

St. AEthelwold

Image from the Benediction of St. AEthelwold

The Gospel Book known as MS M.708 held in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York is another such example. The so-called Grimbald Gospel at the British Library has a few good full-page illuminations, too.

Morgan MS M708

Image from Morgan MS M708

One of my favorites is the Arundel Psalter, also at the British Library.  I used this image as the basis for Mistress Hertha of Froggestowe’s peerage scroll, long long ago. More recently, I based the Cross of Calontir scroll for H.L. Johann Steinarrson on this page, as well.

Arundel Psalter

Initial B from the Arundel Psalter

Calon Cross

Cross of Calontir Scroll done for HL Johann Steinarrson by Aidan Cocrinn, OL. Photo (c) Holly Cochran 2017.

Other favorites from the era include the Hunterian Psalter dating to approximately 1170 CE and the St. Alban’s Psalter, from about 1130 CE.



Hunterian Psalter.

Initial B from the Hunterian Psalter. Notice the similarities – and differences to the one previous.

St. Alban's Psalter

St Alban’s Psalter B – again, differences and similarities, but still the same time period. Also, a good view of the style of calligraphy during the time period.

Certainly there are more from this era, mainly fragments and parcels due to their age. However, my SCA persona being 10th – 11th Century Irish, I can’t help but feel a soft spot for these treasures.

I hope you have enjoyed looking at the pretty pictures. I also hope you give the Clerk of Oxford blog a visit.




If you are interested in some awesome books that include more details about illuminated books and manuscripts of this era, here are some suggestions.



Reasons Why I Blog – Guest Post

Reasons Why I Blog

By Sue Gordon aka Mistress Jehanne Bening

Thank you, Holly (Aidan Cocrinn) for asking me to guest post on your relaunched blog. I hope to bring the same quest and curiosity to my post that you have shown on your blog and as a scribe in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA).

Lilies War

A Gathering at the War of the Lilies. Photo by Mistress Jehanne Bening. © Sue Gordon

While Holly kindly refers to me here as Sue Gordon, artist and scribe, we know each other by SCA “nicknames.” Mine is Jehanne Bening. And yes, at times, I seem to have a split personality.

I’m excited to have Holly as a scribal blogging cohort. There aren’t that many in the blogosphere. Holly’s focus will broaden the field for interested artists and SCA scribes.



Gouache Paint- Our Medium of Choice Most of the Time. Photo by Mistress Jehanne Gordon. © Sue Gordon

Teaching calligraphy and illumination is a craving I found a year ago because Holly presented a workshop to my local group. The attendance and interest she inspired led to Rolf Hobart and me to hold regular recurring scribal classes. I enjoyed sharing scribal information and blogging is a way to reach out to more people. Somewhere along the way, I focused my blog more on scribal subjects.


Aidan Teaching

Aidan Teaching Intro to Scribe Stuff at the Barony of Lonely Tower. Photo by Mistress Jehanne Bening.© Sue Gordon

I learned by refining my blog.  Blogging is now a passion.

I love blogging. Writing for my blog connects me to you and others.  It helps me learn, improves my scribal and writing skills, and organizes my thoughts. It’s a self-development tool. It also gives me a purpose to fulfill.

Blogging is a way for me to help others. A way for me to give back to the hobby and people I love, especially those in the SCA, a group that has given so much to me.


Beautiful Award Scroll done by Mistress Jehanne. Gouache and ink on Paper.
photo by Mistress Jehanne Bening © Sue Gordon

There are many how-to calligraphy bloggers, but few blogs include illumination or the artist creation process. I hope Holly and I rectify that.

I blog because I have something to share. I’ve been in the SCA since 1991 and learned calligraphy and illumination through it. Being an SCA scribe is unique. It takes a love of learning, research, art history,  and skill development in detailed techniques. I hope to help others with similar passions to be able to grow.



St. John’s Bible Exhibit – Rockhurst College

The St. John’s Bible was commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey and University. It was created by Donald Jackson, Senior Scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Office, along with a collaborative team of artists and scribes.

St. John's Bible

The Aaronic Blessing

This is the first illuminated, handwritten Bible of monumental size to be commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in over 500 years. All 73 books of the Old and New Testaments, using the New Revised Standard Version, are presented in seven volumes totaling approximately 1150 pages.

The work of the St. John’s Bible was done in a scriptorium in Wales. Now completed, the Bible’s home is Saint John’s University in Collegeville, MN.

St. John's Bible

Genesis – Creation

The St. John’s Bible was made using traditional materials such as vellum, ancient inks, gold and silver leaf, and platinum. It was written with quill pens fashioned from goose, turkey and swan feathers.

The Heritage Edition of the St. John’s Bible is the only full-size, limited, signed and numbered fine art edition that will ever be produced. 299 fine art editions were created and placed around the world in religious, arts, academic, healing and literary institutions.

St. John's Bible

Ancient Eve in the Garden of Eden

Bound in Italian leather and printed on 100 percent cotton paper using printing technologies invented for this project, the Heritage edition features the exquisite calligraphy, vibrant imagery and stunning gold and silver illumination inspired by the original.

My puny attempts at photography do not do this exhibition justice. All seven books are on display at Rockhurst College’s Greenlease Library, 51st and Troost, KCMO, through the end of September. Two books will remain at the library through the end of 2013.

St. John's Bible


My guide during this trip was the super-knowledgeable Ellen Spake. She took training at the St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota as part of the contract to bring the books to Rockhurst. Visitors are allowed to browse the books at their leisure, and Ms. Spake and her team of docents provide a wealth of information about the books. Any question about methods, materials, iconography, symbology and the makers is answered in great detail.

Thanks to my Mom for finding out about this exhibit and patiently accompanying me as I drooled all over the books and spent a couple of hours being amazed. I may have to return and drool some more, and listen to Ms. Spake tell the story of this amazing achievement.

I hope you enjoy the gallery of my photos, and I really hope you are able to see this exhibit at one of the 299 places around the world.