The ‘Great Bible’

20th May 2017 was the 800th anniversary of the second Battle of Lincoln. Said to be one of the most decisive battles in English history it secured the future of the Plantagenet dynasty. It has been celebrated in the city by a host of events, not least of which is a fasc read more

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How to make manuscript gesso

Several people have contacted me over the past week asking me where I buy my manuscript gesso from. The answer is that it is not, as far as I am aware, commercially available here in the UK, so I make my own. Here’s the recipe:   8 parts of slaked plaster of Paris (calcium sulphate dihydrate) 3 parts of powdered lead carbonate –  BEWARE, POISONOUS 1 part seccotine glue 1 part sugar, ground to a powder A pinch of Armenian bole...

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Manuscript illumination courses

Manuscript illumination courses

My March workshop at the Heritage Skills Centre, Lincoln Castle, booked up so quickly that several new dates have been added – and several new workshops.             New Manuscript Illumination Course Dates. I will be running my introductory course on May 7th and September 17th. The booking link for the May workshop is here. The course is designed to be a ‘taster’ session, starting with the use of...

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How to make shell gold

How to make shell gold

Shell gold – gold mixed with gum Arabic to make a paint (like watercolour) – has been used by illuminators both in the Western world and the East over many centuries. It works best when applied to a very smooth surface in relatively small areas and can be burnished to a high shine, a finish unmatched by acrylic gold paints and inks. It can be bought pre-prepared. However, in my experience it is always too coarsely ground for fine...

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The Annunciation

The Annunciation

This is a picture I’ve wanted to paint for years, since seeing Fra Angelico’s Annunciation at the Convent of San Marco in Florence. That is a fresco, and about two metres high – mine is just 17cm, and on paper. It’s done in the style of Annunciations in fifteenth century British manuscripts, made with 24 carat gold leaf and, where possible, the pigments that would have been used at that time.        ...

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