One Sheet Down, Eighteen To Go

My first finished full page.  Writing is a lot harder than I first thought it would be.  Even with the sizing, the fibres in my paper tend to catch on the nib of my pen and there are several black blotches where the ink filled in the space behind the fibre.  Still, as slow as the going is, I am enjoying it very much.

In manuscript studies, we use stemma to illustrate the “lineage” of a text.  Starting from the authorial original, new variants to the text are created by changes made (intentionally or not) by scribes.  There are many different ways scribes alter the text, but one of them is errors of omission where a scribe accidentally leaves out a word or a line.  Having worked on my manuscript for just a bit, I can completely understand how manuscripts get “corrupted” in this way.  I’ve already made a couple of “homeoarchy” errors, but I’m getting more careful as I go and I hope I won’t make many more.

For those interested in the palaeography of my manuscript, the basis for my script is the British Library Additional MS 59678, better know as the Winchester Malory.

There are a few reasons for this: first, it is my very favourite manuscript hand.  I’m not sure why.  There are many more elaborate and formal, or easier to copy, but the Winchester scribes’ hands are, to me, the perfect choice for this project.  Second, there are a great number of excellent digital images of the Winchester available from both The British Library’s Treasures In Full page and from the Malory Project.  This gave me a complete spectrum of letter forms (something difficult to find in the scattered few pages of other potential models available to me through Google) with which to work and the images were high-enough resolution that I could print them out and carry them around with me as needed.

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