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Re: VMs: Researching the VMs at Beinecke

Hello GC,

Yes, I will put in your request to Beinecke concerning the color/ruler guages. What you don't see in the online copies is the shine/sheen/texture of the color. I detected 3 separate scribes in the VMs. I also suspect that each of them penned the text, outlined the drawings, and filled in the color. This is certainly true, I believe for scribe 2. Now why 3 scribes. The text of the first scribe is larger and seems to be older, which is seen in the first group of folios. The work done by the second scribe is the best work. The text is clear and sharp and smaller that scribe-1, and the colors are carefully painted in. Scribe-2 strikes me as being younger, dedicated to the task, with good penmanship, with a more careful and artistic attention to detail. I believe that these two scribes correspond to hands A and B. Now scribe-3 is a different character, more flamboyant, more brash, but still quite good at his work. He strikes as being the accomplished intern who wants to express some new ideas. I believe this scribe may have been referred to as the dark painter (a good label for this individual). This guy is the one who knows it all and wants to impress the world with his knowledge. His text is done in black ink, quite distinctive from scribes 1 and 2 (A and B?). He is the one who has worked on the zodiac folios. He is the toucher upper. This is the guy who went back to retrace the right breasts of a number of the nymphs in the zodiac volvelles. It also appears that he added the labels (since they are in black ink) to the middle circles of nymphs in a few of the volvelles. He also re-outlined their hair and even "added" the large crown with a cross on top of one of the prima donna nymphs seen in the zodiac volvelles. His flamboyancy extends to the more elaborate gallows. This is the guy who drew the fancy initial gallows seen on a number of the folios. Quite a character. Another note about the ink. The brown ink was probably brown to begin with. The black in is still black. What impressed me about the color of text and paintings is that there is little if any sense fading. Sure, where there was considerable original exporsure and handling we can see faded text brought on by exposure and sunlight. The stain of some of the lettering at to top of many of the folios were all due to the same "accident" (the spill liquid appears to be oil based). The "Germain" text seen at the top of one of the botanical herbals is partially faded by this spill. But the text, drawings, and painting strikes me as being remarkably preserved with its original shine. What looks like pastel coloring is actually a different paint used by dark scribe-3. This stands out in f71v. The goat color is more pink than what is seen online.

The colors of scribe 1, 2, and 3 (or A, B, C) all each different. The text color of scribes 1 and 2 is brown and for 3 it is black. The blue used by scribe-1 shows considerable texture and I was impressed by its sparkle when lighted under magnifying glass. This suggested to me that there is gum arabic (?) used in the paint. The heavier discoloration (darker blues and green) seen in some of the plant painting is due to this thick gum settling. What also caught my eye in some of the thicker gum blue was foreign matter like fine saw dust particles or maybe dirt dust caught in the blue paint. It just look dirty. But I think the sparkle (which isn't detected in the Sids scans) is due to the gum/resin.


From: "GC" <gc-@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To: vms-list@xxxxxxxxxxx
To: <vms-list@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: VMs: Researching the VMs at Beinecke
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 21:48:34 -0600

Luis, ditto! I have them, but only in photocopy, as poor as the original Voynich images. Very good stuff in the Sphaera however, but that's just an opinion.

Dana, would it be possible to ask the Beinecke to post a MrSids image that contains a color scale and ruler? Too late for me, since I've already printed and bound my most valuable copy of the MS, but my memory says the colors were far more vivid than they are in the MrSids images. In any sense however, it is important to color balance and scale properly.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Luis Velez
  To: vms-list@xxxxxxxxxxx
  Sent: Friday, August 26, 2005 7:38 PM
  Subject: Re: VMs: Researching the VMs at Beinecke

Congratulations - enjoy the experience for those of us who can't/haven't!
You might consider checking ff. 83r-105r of MS337, Sphaera; they contain astrological volvelles by Anthony Askham and I have always been curious to see them (they are not online):


Happy Hunting!


On Aug 26, 2005, at 12:26 PM, DANA SCOTT wrote:

Hello All,

I am currently researching the VMs and accompanying documents at the Beinecke Library. It is a wonderful experience to be able to examine the original incunabula. If anyone has a burning need for me to examine a particular item, please do not hesitate to ask. I will be here next week as well.

Kind Regards, Dana Scott

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