February 2018 – Italian


Once a mosquito came a-buzzing round the happy place
Where in his mother’s lap Love lay sleep-bound with pretty grace;
Said Love, aroused from slumber by the hum: “How from so small a body can so great a clamour come,
Awaking all?”
Beguiling him with song, Venus replied:
“Thou too art small, yet mortals wake who on the earth abide
And the Gods all up in the sky,
Hearing thee cry.”
(Torquato Tasso, second half of the 16th century; translated by Lorna de’Lucchi)

Calligraphy and Illumination by Mistress Rhonwen glyn Conwy

Why did you choose this culture? I didn’t; it chose me.    🙂   We lost our Italy person midway through the process, and I like Italian, so I stuck with it rather than choosing a different one.

What is the inspiration for your piece and why did it appeal to you? My inspiration is A Book of Hours for the Use of Rome, Naples c 1480, attributed to Matteo Felice.  It appealed to me because I had selected an Italian poem about Venus and her son, Love, who is often represented by the figure of Cupid.  Since the piece was for February (Valentine’s Day), I thought all the little putti (angel babies) running around was a good fit.

Materials used: Calli brand India ink; Mitchell nib, size 4, in a wooden holder; gouache paints

Other notes of interest about your piece: I find it interesting that one of the putti is sticking its hand into a lion’s mouth!

What drew you to participate in this project? I love the calendar project.  I think it’s a beautiful way to highlight our spectacular scribes and bring our whole Kingdom together.

What is your favorite medium to work in? I love doing illumination, but the calligraphy is my favorite.  I really like doing very period all-text scrolls when they’re appropriate, but I know most people would prefer a bit of bling!

What is a C&I technique that is challenging to you, or not your favorite? Whitework continues to challenge me.

What is a piece of advice you would give a new scribe? Don’t get discouraged when what you make doesn’t look quite like you had hoped it would.  Learn something from every piece you make, apply it to the next one, and keep practicing.  As with any skill, the more you do it, the better you’ll become!