Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Alexandre Lerot d'Avignon (Tyger of the East)

Tyger of the East
Mudthaw and Baronial Investiture, Barony of Settmour Swamp
Awarded March 23, AS 47 (XLVII)

Very recently I discovered that over this coming summer Master Alexandre Lerot d'Avignon and his family will be moving to York, England. This is a wonderful opportunity and I am so excited for them, however I am also a little disappointed as it is coming at a time when I am only just getting to know him. Therefore the prospect of attempting to replicate a period-authentic document-style award for someone who will appreciate the nuances is a rare and beautiful thing. To say that I am excited is a significant understatement.

I'm nervous too. But in a good way.

The shear volume of medieval documents that have survived in museums is staggering. They are the back-bone of our knowledge, detailing everything for small private transactions to grandiose grants of lands and titles. Like everything, they evolved.

There seems to be three basic groupings of document style - plain documents with signature and/or notarial marks (no seal). Documents with seals attached from a strip sliced from the bottom of the document. Documents that have a folded bottom edge, known as a plica, and have separate parchment or corded seal-tags.

Since this award is for probably the most prestigious recognition the East Kingdom has, I wanted something that had a more formal look and feel while many of the source documents I looked at seemed hastily written for more informal transactions. The period example that came closest to the feel I was looking for is Smith Western MS 12 housed in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at New York's Columbia University. The Digital Scriptorium has the following note associated with this exemplar - "Although the charter was issued (and therefore presumably produced) in France, the script has the appearance of English origin. Dated to 15 Edward I (=20 Nov. 1286 - 19 Nov. 1287)." - which sparked an idea that I could combine elements from both French and English cultures that would represent Alexandre's French persona and HRM Edward's English persona. Therefore, I chose to try and replicate the "formal" look of the exemplar with it's straight lines and corded seal-tag but use a French proto-gothic script as found in Egerton 3055 housed in the British Library.

EDIT: On many period documents there are an abundance of abbreviations, ligatures and punctuation marks. I chose to not include any abbreviations for this assignment, partially because they confuse me but also because I'm never quite sure if they are as abundant in "Royal" official documents as they are in "lesser" documents. I really need to research this further. I did however try to concentrate on using common ligatures (ct, et, st, etc.) and using correct punctuation marks. I wasn't really able to discuss this with my usual source for such knowledge, for obvious reasons!

One element of creative license I took was with the decorative initial. At some point during my research I came across BANC MS UCB 119 pt. 1:ff04 and fell in love with the initial even though its from an Italian exemplar. I back-tracked to find examples of this style of initial being used in French works from this period, and example of which can be found here, and although it's not used in a document I would argue that it's a plausible use.

There had been plans for Raff to make the cord on which the seal was to be attached. However, a last minute logistical decision was made to instead use a finger-braided silk cord in Royal purple and gold. It was the right decision.

I had also decided early on that I wanted to use green wax for the East Kingdom seal since I had read in "An Introduction to Manuscript Studies" by Clemens & Graham that the colour of the seal represented which chancery the seal was produced by. This book claims that green was used by the English Royal Chancery so I ran with it. I would however like to research this further to support the claim.

Document by Isabel Chamberlaine.

Paper: Calfskin parchment (vellum) from Pergamena.
Materials: Pumice, gum sandarac, oak-gall ink and a Mitchell #4 metal nib.

Special thank you to both Mistress Eva Woderose and Mistress Kayleigh McWhyte for their knowledge and support during this assignment.

Text by Alys Mackyntoich and Galefridus Peregrinus.

The Latin:
In nomine sancte et individue Trinitatis. Eduardus et Thyra, Rex et Regina, archiepiscopis, episcopis, comitibus, baronibus, justiciis, prepositis, ballivis, ministris et suis totius Regni Orientis, salutem. Majorum auctoritas et rationis ordo suadet, ut, si quid humana sollertia firmum fore ratumque disponit, ut in tempora prorogari valeat, officio litterali memoriae commendetur. Post presentium igitur noticiam futuro posteritati intimatum curavimus, Alexandrum Lerotum de Avenione per hoc statu, fama, et titulo Tigris de Oriente constitutum et dotatum esse cum omnibus pertinentibus ei, status praedictus, fama, et titulus tenendus ab praenotato Alexandro in perpetuum, cum omnibus juribus, privilegiis, et pertinentiis comitantibus eisdem. Ne quia autem improbus contra hanc constitutionem et dotacionem aliquando oblatrare valeat, signis eam ac probabilium personarum testimoniis corroboravimus. Actum apud Paludem de Settmoure ante diem x* Kalendas Apriles, anno societatis XLVII, astantibus in palacio nostro quorum hic nomina subscripta sunt.

And the English:
In nomine sancte et individue Trinitatis. Edward and Thyra, King and Queen, to all to the archbishops, bishops, counts, barons, justices, provosts, bailiffs, ministers, and all our faithful of the East Kingdom, greetings. The authority of elders and the order of reason persuades that if human care disposes anything to be firm and certain, so that it may be extended in time, it should be commended to the written office of memory. Therefore after notice to the present, we have taken care that it be communicated to future posterity that Alexandre Lerot d’Avigne is hereby invested and endowed with the status, renown and title of a Tyger of the East with everything pertaining to it, the said status, renown and title to be held by the aforenamed Alexandre in perpetuity, along with all rights, privileges and appurtenances accompanying the same. Lest anyone rail improperly against this investment and endowment at any time, we have reinforced it with our signatures and with the signs and witness of qualified persons. Enacted at Settmour Swamp in the forty-seventh year of the Society upon 23 March, in our palace in the presence of those whose names are enscribed below.

Scroll ID: Isabel C XXXIX
Completed March 2013

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