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Script Analysis - Drawing up the Guidelines

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4 November 2006

Script Analysis - Drawing up the Guidelines

I e-mailed Meisterin Katarina Helene Schultz today, asking about the discrepancies between the various measurements and she answered that these are because the pages were hand-done. The page where there is no float may simply have been forgotten to be floated by the scribe.

I think I'm seeing the work of two scribes. The various books (Codices Illustres etc) say that the calligrapher was unknown.
The script on the Codices Illustres page is more ornate and slightly more angled than on the other pages. I like it the best, and will use the various hairlines and placing of cross bars. (these are noted in the last post).

The next thing to do was to draw up a page of guidelines that would provide the correct spacing for practise of Bedford Hours and Psalter type Gothic Textura Quadrata.

I choose the most common measurements :-
1.5 cm for a set of lines, being
8 mm for the x-height and
3 mm for each of the ascender and descender lines, where the float line is the ascender/descender line.

In the middle I drew some I's (alright, so they aren't straight) and just left the guidelines in pencil at that point, so they appear to 'float', as they will in the final page I produce. (for fun)

I realised that I needed to add some questions to the Script Analysis questions.
One was "How long is each line". It doesn't matter hugely with the guidelines - but it is needed to be known. I did draw these guidelines with the correct line length of 17.5 cm.

I was having thoughts about the 'height' (or 'depth') of the text block. I was looking at my 4 images and noticed that the depths varied slightly. The blocks of text were starting and finishing at slightly different places on each sheet of paper. It wasn't much difference, but I wanted to check it out.

Overall, it wasn't a problem for the ascender/descender/float calculations I've just done. The sets of lines I was measuring on each page were all around 1.5 cm - so they were blown up correctly. But had I blown them all up a bit too much, or not enough. I wanted guidelines that represented the actual text block in the mss. Even if there is a bit of variation (in that the text blocks were a little different on each photocopied and blown up page) it all comes out in the wash. I'll end up working with averages measured. (Although next time I'll be more careful when blowing up my example pages)

So I went back to my Mss books.

Codices Illustres states the depth of the entire page (including illumination and margins) as 407 mm. If I measure that page reproduced in the book, it's 270 mm tall.
270x = 407
x = 1.5
So the page needs to be magnified by 1.5 to equal the real size.
The size of the text block on the page = 15.5 cm.
15.5 x 1.5 = 23.3 cm - so that is the real depth of the text block.

Backhouse states the depth of the entire page (including illumination and margins) as 405 mm.
If I measure the page reproduced in the book, it's 230 mm tall.
230x = 405
x = 1.76.
The size of the text block on the page = 13.4
13.4 x 1.76 = 23.6.

A slight variation, but pretty much the same.

However, my guildines, with 18 lines, = 27 cm. I was using too much space. (given I 'just picked' the x-height of 8mm, ascender/descender heights of 3 mm). The actual ascender/descender lines on the mss varied all over the place, as we saw in the last couple of posts.
So - to pick new measurements with which to draw up my guidelines.

Counting, there are 36 ascender/descender lines if there are 18 baselines.
I need the height to equal 23.5 (I choose 23.5 as an average between 23.3 and 23.6)
Keeping the x-height at 8 mm (just coz I like that height)

(18 x 0.8) + 36y = 23.5, where y = the ascender/descender height
36y = 23.5 - 14.4
y = 0.25 cm
= 2.5 mm.

Well, that sounds reasonable!

Having drawn up the guidelines, their depth is 23.5 cm. Yay!

I won't use this page as my actual guideline sheet (behind my practise sheet). The nib I used to draw them is too thick (not to mention smudging heaps). I've gotten awfully confused in the past when the guideline lines have been thick - because a kind of black hole results, the width of the guideline, when the script is written out using them. Lines that are above others are a tiny bit too high, because there's that extra bit of height. The x-height is that tiny bit smaller.,
Using a texta this time meant I could cheat while I was working out if the guidelines were correct without being as accurately straight as is needed using a 0.1 pen - it's quicker.

Anyway, now I know an x-height and ascender/descender height that will work, and know that I want my ascender/descender lines to equal my float line. And of the slight variations of the heights of the letters that have ascenders/descenders, which heights (and hairlines) that I want to use.
Yay is all I can say, because this exercise with ascender/descender lines just about bored me to death.

Next is to update the script analysis questions to gather the information I found that I needed to do this, and then to measure angles on all of the letters.

Ever on.

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