Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday's spotlight - Illuminated lettering

Written by (my now regular weekly slot) guest blogger, Pete - my Dad.

"Do you enjoy a Sunday snooze? Unashamedly I admit that I do. My post lunch "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz" sets me up for the rest of the day but because my daughter, in a recent e mail, suggested that Sunday must be my working day I have risen from my slumbers and forced myself to begin the rest of my day with these jottings.

Some time ago I attended classes in illuminated lettering at Lincoln Castle. This is a very old but very well preserved castle within, quite literally, a stone's throw from the Cathedral. In days long gone by before anyone had even heard of the word "snooze", the last of the English Norman kings - Stephen - besieged the upstart mother - Catherine - in the Castle, due mainly to the fact that she thought her son should be the monarch. Stephen lodged himself and his supporters within the Cathedral but every morning he would come out into the modern "Castle Square" and exchange unpleasantries with Catherine, who placed herself behind the castle battlements.

Lincoln Castle seemed to be the ideal place to learn the rudiments of illuminated lettering. It is known that even to-day you can hear the occasional "unpleasantry" being shouted - although the voice now is not generally female but that of a workman, who has dropped a sledgehammer on his toes. It all, however, added to an "atmosphere". Is that a ghostly monk sitting there working with the light of a single candle? No. The tonsure that this gentleman is a natural one and not inflicted by any barber.

Illuminated lettering is different from calligraphy. My handwriting is so illegible - even to me - that I wouldn't dream of attempting calligraphy. I'm content just with the fact that I can spell the word. Illuminated lettering is the decoration medieval monks and other scribes decorated the opening words of their manuscripts with. My illustration this week is an illuminated rendering of the opening words of Psalm 67. However, I think I went over the top a bit because the word "GOD" is far from obvious. (Is there a lesson in that?). See if you can find it. (Is there an other lesson in that?).

I'll come back to illuminated lettering at some future date. I'll stop rambling now and then you might find time for a post lunch or post tea or post dinner or post supper or post anything snooze.

Happy "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzing"

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