5 September – Mappa Mottisfont

Final Mappa, now installed in the Piscina Room at Mottisfont as part of the new permanent display.

Mappa 774kb

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8 August – The Mottisfont Medieval Alphabet by Portway Junior School

And here it is the Mottisfont Medieval Alphabet by the brilliant pupils from Portway School with graphic design by Jon Clark.

alphabet print ready -300dpi

My thanks to all of the members of the Mottisfont Medieval Illuminator Workshop

  • Master of the Fish Tailed Winged Bull – Amelia Bierut
  • Master of the Snake Tailed Dragon – Jake Dumelow
  • Master of the Hairy Bat Winged LionRat – Nancy Hurt
  • Master of the Armour & Sword Dragon – Ethan Mayes
  • Master of the Claw Footed Scorpion – Liam O’Riordan
  • Master of the Three Nostrilled Bat – Shanté Richardson

and Mr Kevin Hession (Master of the Illegal Tracing).

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4 August – Typography

Graphic designer Dan Adams is creating the typography and design layout for Mappa.   To find the right typeface he looks at the exquisite plaintext and illuminated letters in the Winchester Bible and refers to the idiosyncratic organisation of lettering in the Hereford Mappa Mundi. He selects a typeface called “Aries” created by influential US type designer Frederic Goudy in 1926. Goudy admired medieval hand lettering and the Small Press Movement of the English Arts & Crafts tradition. Goudy designed a number of typefaces that referenced hand lettering from the 12th – 14th centuries. We agree on ‘Aries’ because it has the elegance and upward inflection as the Winchester Bible plaintext and is legible to modern eyes. For the capital letters we go with Dan’s recommendation of Lombardic Capitals, which reflect the style of the Winchester Bible and the Mottisfont Rental.

Final Text copy

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20 July – Final Washes on Mappa

Final ink and watercolour washes are added to differentiate the different zones of the map.

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19 July – Open Studio

In mid July I hold an Open Studio inviting staff and volunteers to come and see the work in progress.  I appreciate visits from Howard (Lead Outdoor Guide), Bobby and Fran (Outdoor Guides), Jonny (Head Gardener), Steve (Volunteer Ranger) and Sue (House Steward and Gallery Volunteer) all of whom make comments that help me with my creative work. Here are some shots of the studio during my time here.

First day in the studio, 1 April 2014

First day in the studio, 1 April 2014


Last day in the studio, 31 July 2014

Last day in the studio, 31 July 2014


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17 July – Trout, Dovecote and Pilgrim Badges

Within the Map are small pen and ink drawings showing various religious and secular items that were part of the medieval Mottisfont landscape including  a sheep, trout, dovecote, watermill, chalice, canon, otter, swan, duck and … sea serpent.  The major pilgrim destinations are marked by pilgrim badges.

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1 July – Jewel Drawings

A few jewel-like drawing of things that are emblematic of medieval Mottisfont.

Reliquary – a vessel containing the holy relic, said to be a finger bone of John the Baptist, would have been placed on the altar of the priory church.  I’ve imagined the reliquary in the shape of a tomb or shrine clad in metal and decorated with glass.  The geometric motifs come from floor tiles from the nave of the original church.


Mottisfont Oak – an ancient oak tree on the Mottisfont estate estimated to be 800-1100 years old.  Still a thriving tree today (it’s not dead – I drew it in April before it came into leaf) it is the only living thing to survive from the medieval period.  Mottisfont’s living relic.


Holy Ghost – a dove to symbolise the Holy Ghost as Mottifont Abbey was actually the Church of the Holy Trinity.  There were two dovecotes in the priory precinct.


Momento Mori – skulls of a tawny own and corvid found on the estate providing a natural history Momento Mori.


Medieval Rose – Rosa Maxima alba expressing the three virtues of faith (white), hope (green) and love (red).  The medieval rose is a hybrid between the red damask rose and white native roses.



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28 June – Margins

Designing the circular margin for the map required the use of a large, custom made compass created by my inventive and practical friend Charlie Bennett-Lloyd.   The design for the circular margin is created from drawings of Columbine, Herb Robert, Dog Rose, Meadow Cranesbill and Love-in-a-Mist.  All native plants that would have been present in the medieval period and still grow here.  The design from the outside border uses the fleur-de-lis pattern from the tiles originally on the floor of the priory nave.

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20 June – Water

Once the map has been transferred to water colour paper the next step is to paint the water.  I mix a colour like the chalky, turquoise green of water in the font and develop my own medieval water painting style trying to make it graphic and stylised but with a sense of movement.

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18 June – Portway School Final Workshop – Finishing the Alphabet

The final workshop with Portway School.  There’s lots to do to finish the letters and this is the final workshop.  We agree a fair tariff for the labour of the medieval illuminator apprentices and they get paid in jelly babies, chocolate buttons, apples and bananas for their fantastic work.

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