Name: Tiffan Fairamay
Location: Province of Malagentia
The Mira calligraphiae monumenta has long been one of my favorite manuscripts. Each page is an amazing combination of virtuosic calligraphy and illustrations of flowers, fruit, and insects. It’s all so lovely, it’s hard to know what to look at first. The calligraphy was completed between 1560 and 1562 by Georg Bocskay as a model book featuring the many hands he was able to use, for the library of his patron, Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I. Between 1591 and 1596, Emperor Rudolph II, Ferdinand’s grandson, commissioned Joris Hoefnagel to add illustrations to the book. Looking at the completed book it’s wonderful how the composition of the illustrations complement the text so seamlessly. It’s hard to believe that almost 30 years separated the two phases of this book’s creation.
I’ve relied on inspiration from the Mira for Kingdom scrolls, finding elements amongst the illustrations to recombine and carefully copy into my own compositions. But this spring I decided to embark on a project that would be slightly different. The pages you see here are my own paintings and calligraphy, inspired by the Mira, but working with natural wonders I find in the wild places near where I live, with text composed from what I’m noticing about the season. The objective of this project is to learn more about the original manuscript, by studying the pages, especially the calligraphy, which is a place where my scribal practice is growing.
I first take a walk, noticing what’s around, who is blooming or catching my eye. I may bring a small piece home, and sit to paint while they are still fresh, and take notes on what inspired me on the walk. Then I look back to the original pages, and consider what style of calligraphy might fit with the text I’ve written and the composition of the painting. When it’s all done I look back and forth, noticing where my page is different, and what I want to develop or push with the next page. My personal style of painting is different than Hoefnagel’s. I know I work with much more water than he could afford to use on parchment. And I often use a different perspective, because of what’s comfortable at my work table. But I’m using each page to deepen my understanding and keep looking, as well as playing and exploring the natural world. As of the date of this display, I’ve completed five pages, and with time, I’m hoping that this body of work will develop into something suitable to submit for my masterwork for the East Kingdom Royal Foresters Guild.
Links: See the full gallery (in much better resolution) here: https://thornandthread.wordpress.com/2022/05/28/mira-calligraphiae-monumenta-introduction-to-a-personal-project/