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VMs: Re: Signature or monogram
> [Jon Grove:] Here is a link to an image of the two sections of
> the VMS (from F86V3 and F66V) containing what appears to be a
> monogram or signature.
> I tried various enhancements but couldn't make it any more
> legible than it is.
> It seems to consist of three connected downstrokes followed by a
> longer upstroke with a loop and final flourish, almost like 'wR'
> but not quite. It's certainly not a random scribble. If it is a
> signature or monogram then it might help to establish dates
> and/or locations for the MS. Does it ring any bells with anyone?
I don't know what to make of these "scribbles" either. However beware
that some of them may be remains of the underlying illustration (the
so-called "garden of Eden").
Specifically, it seems to me that the southwest "plant" originally had
at its tip a large trumpet-like "flower" with serrated edges. The
dot-filled "fishtail" below the scribbles is only the middle 1/3 of
that "flower". The regular zigzag lines in the "scribbles" seem to be
what remains of the "flower"'s serrated edge.
In fact it seems to me that the "jet" issuing from "Adam"'s hand
ends with a miniature version of the same "flower": trumpet-like,
with its middle sector filled with dots.
Selective disappearance of inks is of course quite possible. For
instance, "ink" made from crushed dark flowers or berries would look
great at first but will fade to invisibility in a few decades, since
its pigments are food for bacteria and fungi. Whereas iron-gall ink,
india ink, and mineral pigments will last for centuries, often with no
change in color.
If this interpretation is true, then one can only speculate about
other things that may be missing in the images.
On the other hand, this explanation cannot account for the entire
"scribbles" --- especially that on f66v. A "signature" or "monogram"
is a possibility, but there are others:
* Scribbles by a child. (The one on f66v seems to include a
squarish "face" with eyes.)
* Pen-test scribbles. (By a later owner, who may have had little
regard for the manuscript. Note that f66v is the last page of the
quire, and that the manuscript probably was kept unbound for many
* Remains of a former text that was erased (so that the vellum could
be reused for the VMS).
All the best,