Calligraphy Introduction - Illuminated Capitals - Books Published
Teaching Classes - Works on Display

Calligraphy and Illumination

Sample handwriting scripts Calligraphy is the art of handwritten lettering, usually executed in one chosen style of script (such as Uncial, Half-Uncial, Carolingian, Black Letter Gothic, Copperplate and Italic). Nearly all scripts originate from past historical periods and cultures, and nowadays a calligrapher uses a wide range of scripts for different effects, in the same way that a printer uses varying fonts.

Initials FG on parchment Illumination is the name given to the process of decorating the text (particularly the initial letter) with figures, forms or patterns - hence the term "illuminated manuscript" is used to denote any inscribed mediaeval work such as a bible decorated by hand. The monogram shown here is a mid-1980s practice piece I created based on my maiden initials ("F.G").

Poem - Death Is Nothing At All Traditional illumination can be used to decorate almost any text. Here is an example of a 19th Century prose poem "Death Is Nothing At All" by Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918) in an illuminated setting. Executed on A4-size parchment in 1989, the design of the initial letter "D" has flat gilding and gouache colour (as opposed to pigment), with an inner space decorated with leaves - click on the image for a detailed view (154k) of the work.

Gold Illuminated Piece At its highest level, illuminated lettering is embossed with 24-carat gold leaf and enhanced with figures of people or animals associated with the subject of the text. Here is a gold leaf illuminated "S" on a Lombardic piece about Saint Dunstan (with the saint himself drawn in gouache colours - see enlargement (27k)). It was commissioned in 1988 by a local church where it is on public display.

The range of commissions I have carried out in recent years (mainly for private individual clients) is quite extensive. Here are just a few examples:

Invocation - Celtic Lorica
Invocation, Celtic Lorica, 1996.
Size 21x19cm. Full image 92k
Birth Commemoration
Birth Plaque, Aquarius design, 2001.
Size 22.5x17.5cm. Full image 75k
Celtic Cross
Cross of Enniaun, 2002.
Size 17x17cm. Full image 42k
Guestbook - Special Occasions
Guestbook Flyleaf, 2002.
Size 30x23cm. Full image 37k

Since creating this page (2002), I have added a new page of latest works containing a wide range of example calligraphy commissions created from 2003 onwards.

Sometimes I combine the skills of calligraphy and illumination to create highly decorated artwork designs for reproduction in the form of gift cards, often for sale as part of a range of craft products.

Dedication to St.Columba (with detail)
Dedication to St. Columba (with detail inset).
Actual size A3. Copies are available in size A5 as a greetings card.

"Iona of my heart, Iona of my love
Instead of monks voices
Shall be heard the lowing of cattle
But ere the world comes to an end
Iona shall be as it was."

(.... words spoken by St.Columba 521-597AD ....)

Chinese Dragon - Illustrated Poem For many years I have also been fascinated by Chinese artistic culture, and on occasion I create artwork that combines Western lettering with Chinese decorative motifs. Shown here is a humorous self-penned poem (see enlargement (99k)), a framed workshop display piece from 2002.

Fiona Graham-Flynn (Scribe)


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