Last weekend Ælfwynn and I spent some time flipping through the Visconti Hours, picking out our favorite plates and pointing to some of the bits and pieces we'd copied ourselves. It had been awhile since I'd looked through that book, since over the last year or so I've acquired so many other books that I'm always looking for inspiration in the newest acquisition. (That, and there are so many plates in Smeyers, Flemish Miniatures, that I have bookmarked to copy that it will take me a long time to use all of them!). Also, at the time when the Visconti Hours was my primary source for illumination exemplars, much of what was in there was way beyond my ability. I was surprised last weekend by the overwhelming feeling of "I can do that!" that I had while looking through it -- particularly the borders (though the architectural ones still scare me). It got me all excited again about using some exemplars from it, so I sat down today to pick some to work on (it's always good to have some started or even finished blanks on hand), and decided to be even more ambitious:I am going to copy every border in the Visconti Hours.
I'm starting at the beginning, and I'll do every plate until I reach the end, no skipping, no changing the order. While I can start the next one before I've finished the first one, I always have to do the steps -- rule the margins, draw the border, ink it (if necessary), paint it -- in order, i.e., I can't paint #2 until I've painted #1, though if I've drawn out #1 I can draw out #2. How I interpret "border" and "copy" will be flexible; it doesn't have to be exact, and I can simplify the border if I need to (though extra credit to me if I can use all of the elements, or an interpretation of every element). I'm putting no end point on this, since I want to leave open the possibility that some day, I'll get sick of this, and put the challenge aside, and then come back maybe years later. But if I can do this, at the end I'll have not only a whole bunch of beautiful scroll blanks, but I'll hopefully improve my copying, drawing, paint-blending, and shading skills tremendously.
I made a good start today: I drew out the border of fol. BR1 and inked it (I had to ink it in order to be able to erase all the extraneous pencil lines) this afternoon, and I drew out the border of fol. BR1v this evening; this one probably doesn't need to be inked before I start painting it.