June 2017

June - Cancer

Cancer is a dimm constellacioun, representing a Crabbe. She is Fleumatik, ruleth ye Brest and Stomak, and indicateth deceptiue stilnesse, for while ye Crabbe mai seme to be calm and coi, itrewthe she hideth deep passions. When the Mone wandreth bi the Crabbe, thei are at home wt each other, and help each other to delite in secret at the Wais of the World, or to escape yt which is lothful. If Mercurie trauerseth near ye Crabbe, then He will begin plotting softlie, either for good or ylle. If Mars shuld stride bi the Crabbe’s hiding place, then He is likelie to reflect vpon His past and glorifie His dedes.

Calligraphy & Illumination by Lady Christiana Crane

Persona: 14th century English daughter of a successful merchant.

Artist’s astrological sign: Leo

What is the inspiration for your piece and why does it appeal to you? The Book of Felicity is an Ottoman work from 1582. Commissioned by Sultan Murad III, who ruled the empire from 1574 to 1595, its text was translated from Arabic and all its miniatures were apparently directed by the famous master Ustad ‘Osman, who undoubtedly painted the opening series of images related to the signs of the zodiac1. ‘Osman, the head of the painters at the Seraglio workshop from 1570 onwards, created a style renowned for its lifelike portraits that influenced other artists in Murad’s court.  The illustrations and calligraphy are gorgeous.

Materials used: Iron Gall ink, gouache on Bristol.

Other notes of interest about your piece: Europeans depict the crab more like a lobster or crayfish.  Or sometimes it looks more like a tick.  A few particular scribes have clearly been eating the rye bread and their crabs look more like something that fell off Cthulhu.

What drew you to participate in this project? It is a great honor to be able to aid the kingdom in any way I can. 

What is your favorite medium to work in? I like graphite best, but that’s more of a modern technique.  For period materials, I love iron gall.

What is a C&I technique that is challenging to you, or not your favorite? Flourishes and cadels are gorgeous and maddening and they are my Everest.