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Re: VMs: Researching the VMs at Beinecke
Thanks Dana, very good work. Quite the powers of observation.
I had also noticed the "brash", "knowledgeable", and "older" styles, even back in the copyflo days, but your work has added a great deal more detail to this than can be done with photographs.
Seeing that I can't find any discernable differences in slant and writing when these are placed side by side, this has led me to the idea that this book was a work of many years, ranging perhaps a lifetime. Moreover, there are other "working herbals" whose contents range over a period at least this long, and at least one was taken up by a student and completed after the original author's death. I think your observation that portions were folded in packets and transported with the author goes to what we know about the life of a "working herbal".
I wish I had joined in earlier, especially in the discussion of the "dirt" found on some of the folios, especially the ones that look "furry". Some time ago when I printed out my copy and was examining the folios page by page as they lay in bifolio, I had noticed that there were "smudges" in places where I would not expect them to be, and one folio in particular had a "Rorschach" smudge that looked like a part of a root. I wish I'd taken notes, since I found another folio flipped and out of order whose root lay over the outlines of this smudge perfectly. Before I quit looking I found two more candidates, and it would have been nice to have had you look at these in person.
Of course, if it was a "working herbal", then these artifacts are of little consequence, as pages would have been routinely shuffled for purposes of drawing (drawing in the field, painting afterwards), etc. We also don't know which of the binding sessions was the original, which makes information like this not so informative, other than to reinforce the fact that the present binding order is not the original. Nevertheless, I'd like to see us work on a detailed catalogue of these artifacts, since some pattern may emerge.
I had also wondered about the black ink sections. Have you made a list of which folios use this ink? Is it ever used for "touchup" on brown ink pages? If so this would indicate that the sections of the manuscript were not stored separately with each section in the hands of separate scribes, but kept and transported as a unit.
Thanks again for your work, very nice.
----- Original Message -----
From: "DANA SCOTT" <dscott520@xxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, August 27, 2005 12:18 PM
Subject: 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
> >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
> > Dana,
> > Congratulations - enjoy the experience for those of us who
> > 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):
> > http://webtext.library.yale.edu/beinflat/pre1600.MS337.htm
> > Happy Hunting!
> > Luis
> > 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
> > Kind Regards,
> > Dana Scott
> > ______________________________________________________________________
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