Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Newsletter of the Royal College & Confraternity of Scribes & Illuminators of the Kingdom of Lochac
Volume 10 Issue 2 March 2010
(Some formating has been lost putting Ductus onto the blog, as usual a formatted copy will be sent out on the mailing list).

Greetings all and welcome to the newest issue of Ductus.
As you are all aware last year was a very active year for us especially towards the end. A lot of new projects have been started and there have been a lot of changes within the College.
In the last issue of Ductus I put up details of the new Wardens. I would now like to add some names to their lists. The newest Wardens are;
Innilgard Leofwynn Wulfinga
Ynys Fawr Madelane de Bourgogne
Ynys Fawr (deputy) Madoc ap Gryffith
Crescent Isles (South) katherine kerr of the Hermitage
I would like to welcome these people as our new Wardens to the College. I would also like to say how much I like the college needing extra Wardens as it shows the increase in scribal activity in these area's.

Thanks to Master Giles who has gone through the database to make sure it is up to date we now have confirmed details for the current backlog.

AA's- 83
County- 10
Duchy- 7
GA, including LCA and OWL- 34
KSCA- 22
OL- 39
OP- 53
Vis- 6
Total outstanding Scrolls on the backlog is 234.

Completed Scrolls
There are still some scrolls sitting in the database that we are unable to find recipients for. These scrolls belong to;

Antonia della Scalla
Judith Fletcher of Wellow
Wystan of Wallsende
Cassandra Cattani
Miriam bat Shimeon
Adam Girard
William Beckwith
Alyce Stirling
Aulay Leod
Helga rauĂ°tik Leosdottir
Claire Marie Alderton
Bathassar Vrass

If you know of any current details for any of these Good Gentles could you please let me know so that I can get their scrolls to them as soon as possible. Photographs of all of these scrolls have now been placed on the Lochac Scribes Flickr site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/48016044@N02/

New Scribes
We have a lot of new scribes to welcome to our ranks in this Ductus. Not all of these have started actively working on scrolls for the College and some still have to send me an exemplar but it is good to see such an influx of new blood. I would like to welcome;

Katrijn van Delden
Constanzia Moralez y de Zamora
Zofija from St Florian
Asa Beiskalda
katherine kerr of the Hermitage

Caristiona nic Beathain
Provost of Scribes

On Permanency and Paints
By: Madoc ap Gryffith

Permanence and Fugitives
One of the standards for all work done by the Lochac College of Scribes is permanency. All scribal work must be done using only the most permanent and lightfast materials available so that we can ensure the works of art we create will last well into the future and remain looking as sharp, bright, and colourful as when they were created. This implies that as scribes we have a responsibility to understand which materials are sufficiently permanent and which are not. However, determining which materials will truly withstand the test of time can sometimes be less than straightforward, especially when it comes to paints.

The paints that we use are composed of pigments suspended in a carrier based on a simple gum arabic solution. This provides a suitably permanent vehicle for the pigments, but the pigments themselves run the entire gamut from completely permanent to astonishingly temporary. Those pigments that are less than completely permanent experience some sort of alteration, reaction, or decay over time, most commonly as a result of exposure to light. Such non-permanent pigments are referred to as being “fugitive”, as they can seem to literally disappear and go missing from the work. Other fugitive pigments experience changes other than fading, including darkening and even shifting hue.

Standards and Ratings?
It would be nice if we could assume that simply buying modern paints from reputable manufacturers would ensure that we're using permanent materials, but unfortunately this is not the case. Even the best manufacturers still sell paints that are quite fugitive and do so for a variety of reasons. In some cases this is because not all artwork is designed to be permanent (for instance where a painting will be done and then scanned for use as a digital image). However, another reason is that consumers continue demanding and purchasing fugitive pigments.

In response to concerns about permanence, many manufacturers are now listing permanency and lightfastness ratings on the labels of their paints. It would be convenient if we could simply use these on-the-label ratings as a guide but, while they can help us avoid some of the most fugitive paints, these ratings are far from definitive. Manufacturers' rating scales are simply not specific enough for scribal purposes, and in some cases are arguably influenced more by market pressures than by the need for factual honesty. Sometimes the paint manufacturer doesn't even test the paint themselves, but just passes along the information provided by the pigment manufacturer, who might have used testing methods completely irrelevant to the form of paint and application methods we as scribes use.

The ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) lightfastness rating is reported by some manufacturers on their paint labels. While more reliable than those from the paint manufacturers, these ratings are also less than definitive for scribes. There are just too many variables that can effect a pigment's permanence, often including how fine the pigment is ground, what binder is mixed with the vehicle to form the paint, and the particulars of how it is applied, that having a single rating for all instances of a pigment is bound to have some degree of error. A pigment that is completely permanent when ground roughly, mixed with an acrylic binder, and applied in thick layers might prove to be unacceptably fugitive when ground more finely, mixed with gum arabic to form a watercolour or gouache, and applied in a thin film. While the ASTM considers both its “Class I” and “Class II” to be permanent, when using gouache paints for scribal purposes, only “Class I” paints should generally be accepted as reliably permanent.

In short, scribes should take the permanency and lightfastness ratings given by industry bodies and manufacturers as suggestive at best when selecting paints for work through the College of Scribes.

Relevant Recommendations
In the absence of a truly definitive rating system relevant to scribal work, how is a scribe to know which paints are truly permanent? To answer this question, the current line of Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache paints was researched. This brand was chosen since it is the line of paints most commonly recommended for scribal work and generally known for its quality and performance. However, like all paint lines, there are a number of colours in the W&N gouache line that are simply not permanent enough for scribal work. If these colours are identified and avoided, the other colours in this line can be used with confidence that we are using lightfast materials of acceptable permanence and quality.

The following paints contain pigments that are known to be (or reasonably suspected of being) less than permanent in water-based media based in independent testing in water/gum arabic media. These W&N gouache paints should NOT be used for College of Scribes works.
Alizarin Crimson
Although it's often recommended, this paint should never be used. It is very fugitive and the colour quickly fades quite dramatically. It's based on PR83, the synthetic version of a period pigment derived from Madder root, which was recognised as being fugitive even then. W&N class B.
Bengal Rose
Made of the very fugitive PR169, which even W&N rate in their permanence class “C - fugitive”.
Brilliant Green
Contains the arylamide pigment PY3 prone to darkening.
Brilliant Purple
Made of a mix of two known fugitive toner pigments, PV2 and PV3. W&N class B.
Brilliant Red Violet
Contains the known fugitive rhodamine toner pigment PV1. W&N class B.
Brilliant Violet
Also contains the known fugitive toner pigment PV1. W&N class B.
Brilliant Yellow
Contains the fugitive arylamide pigment PY74.
Flame Red
Contains the fugitive naphthol pigment PR170.
Flesh Tint
Also contains a fugitive naphthol pigment, PR9.
Gold Ochre
A permanent iron oxide colour that is unfortunately “enhanced” with the fugitive arylamide PY74 and thus prone to fading and colour-shift.
Jet Black
Made of the known fugitive PBk1.
Lemon Yellow
Made of the arylamide pigment PY3 prone to darkening.
Light Purple
Like Brilliant Purple above, made of a mix of two known fugitive toner pigments, PV2 and PV3. W&N class B.
Linden Green
Contains two fugitive arylamide pigments, PY3 and PY74.
Made of a combination of two fugitives, the lake pigment PR173 and the rhodamine toner pigment PV2.
Opera Pink
Made of a fluorescent dye/resin, even W&N put it in permanence class “C - fugitive”.
Opera Rose
Also made of a fluorescent dye/resin, even W&N put it in permanence class “C - fugitive”.
Orange Lake Deep
Contains the known fugitive arylamide red PR9.
Orange Lake Light
Also contains the known fugitive arylamide red PR9.
Permanent Aliz Crimson
Made of PR176. While it is certainly better than traditional Alizarin Crimson (PR83), it is (in spite of the name) not entirely permanent.
Permanent Green Deep
Contains the fugitive arylamide PY74.
Permanent Green Light
Contains the fugitive arylamide PY3. W&N class B.
Permanent Green Middle
Contains two fugitive arylamide pigments, PY3 and PY74.
Primary Red
Made of two known fugitives, the rhodamine lake PR173 and naphthol PR170. W&N class B.
Rose Tyrien
Made of the fugitive rhodamine lake PR173. W&N permanency class “C - fugitive”.
Sap Green
Contains the fugitive arylamide PY74.
Spectrum Red
Contains the known fugitive naphthol pigment PR170.
Spectrum Violet
Made of the known fugitive toner pigment PV3. W&N class B.
Spectrum Yellow
Made of the fugitive arylamide PY74.
Venetian Red
A permanent iron oxide colour unfortunately “enhanced” with two known fugitive pigments, the arylamide yellow PY1 and the naphthol red PR9.
*** Based on paint compositions following W&N's 2008 revision of their gouache paint range.

SUGGESTED: The following colours form the minimum palette:
Permanent white (series 1)
Ultramarine blue (series 1)
Primary yellow (series 1)
Cadmium red (series 4) -OR- Winsor red (series 3)
The following colours are good additions to the minimum palette:
Prussian blue (series 1)
Quinacridone magenta (series 3) [mix with Cadmium red to make Alizarin-like colour]
Viridian (series 3)
Lamp black (series 1)
Raw sienna (series 1)
Gold (series 3) [a simple way to add gold elements without the complexity of goldleaf]


  1. Just a couple of points to consider:

    Prussian blue is a synthetic pigment first made around 1706, and so should not be used. Ultramarine is the finest choice for period limning, with azurite (also known as bice, copper carbonate) being widely used throughout the middle ages as a pigment.

    Primary yellow is a pthalone pigment, also out of period. Cadmium lemon and cadmium lemon pale are made from cadmium zinc oxides which were used as pigments. Of course orpiment (arsenic trisulfide) is still the brightest medieval yellow.

    The point of alizarin crimson is that it is transparent, which I'm presuming the magenta isn't (besides quinacridone pigments being invented in 1958), and a stain rather than an opaque paint. Madder was a commonly used as rose pink throughout period; alizarin is used to shade ultramarine in the Gottingen model book, a trick which Titian later refined. Modern synthetic alizarin is made without purpurin, which is the pigment component that rapidly fades, and so lasts longer than mere months. I use top quality watercolour Alizarin to avoid the refracting properties of an opaque base, mixed thickly and used like regular paint. I say use it and damn the torpedoes.

    Viridian first manufactured in 1838. Given a wide range of greens in period was produced with verdigris and malachite, it's not needed.

    Gold is hardly complex, especially as transfer leaf or shell gold...

    The paints I use/recommend to best approximate a period palette are:

    Cadmium red (vermilion)
    Alizarin (rose madder)
    Cadmium yellow pale (orpiment)
    Permanent green middle (sap green/verdigris)
    Burnt sienna
    Permanent white/ bleedproof white (lead white)

  2. This article, written on the explicit request of the Provost, is aimed at providing accurate current information on what paints are the "most permanent" paint choices for scribes.

    Scribes are not prevented from using modern pigments and paint colors in the production of a period appearance in our works.

    Cadmium red and yellow only began to be used as pigments in the 19th century. Titanium dioxide, the pigment in Permanent white, wasn't discovered until 1821. If you exclude pigments like Viridian and Prussian Blue because they are not period, then you should also stop using Cadmium Red & Yellow, "Permanent" Green Middle (which uses arylamide & phthalo pigments), and Permanent White as all of these are composed of modern pigments as well.

    Additionally, as the article states, "Permanent" Green Middle contains an arylamide pigment known to fade, and Alizarin is so horribly fugitive that it has been used as the definitional example of "fugitive".