Australian Wren

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Twisted tale

I have always loved illuminated manuscripts with their rich colour and intricate designs. Beautiful organic shapes and Celtic knots twist and mingle to create wonderful fantasy creatures. Decorative capitals set the tone for the text to come saying "read this carefully!"

Then there is the actual historical side where I imagine monk's sitting in a freezing room writing and painting for hours and hours on end until their backs ached! Some of them write little grumbles in the margins about their suffering, how their hands ache or how cold it is, how bad their tools and materials are!

In the spirit of this style of design I have created an image featuring my little owl Hephzibah. It is watercolour and features twists and turns and curls.

It was actually very therapeutic to draw and paint in this style but then I didn't have to do it on calf skin in a cold library, in an unheated monastery in Ireland using a candle for light!



from Book of Kells f45R

from Book of Kells f202R

from Book of Kells f114v

Reference Book of Kells Reproduction from the Manuscript in Trinity College Dublin.
Thames and Hudson, London 1977.

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