A Manuscript Folio

What, Where, When:

  • Le Recuil de Riom was copied in 1466 by an anonymous scribe in Riom, France, as part of a household manual.
  • This folio is very similar to the original document.



The original manuscript was on paper, and measured 137x190mm. Lambert does not specify the fiber content of the paper; according to Clement, linen paper was most often used. I was unable to find linen paper, and chose to use 100% cotton watercolor paper instead – the thickness is slightly heavier than it should be, I believe, but it was a pleasant writing surface.


The document was written with feather/quill pens, these were purchased from John Neal Booksellers. Though I have attempted to make quills in the past, I am not skilled enough at this yet to use them for projects.


Both of the inks in this project were made to period recipes. The black is oak/iron gall ink from a recipe found in Le Menagier de Paris and reprinted in Bayard; the red ink is brazillwood and alum infused in vinegar according to a recipe from the 16th century Dutch Booke of Secrets. (Thompson) Both of these are appropriate for a manuscript from 1466, though specific information as to the ink content of the original manuscript is unavailable.


All ruling lines were made with a silverpoint purchased from the Guild Mirandola, and made according to Cennini’s specifications.



The original manuscript was 137mm by 190mm; I cut my paper slightly larger than that to account for trimming. (Lambert) The paper is currently ragged-edged – it would be trimmed straight during the binding process.

Ruling Lines:

Each page of the original had approximately 30 lines to the page and a 2 cm margins throughout, though the single page image available shows the author often ignored the left margin. The folio uses the same margins/lines as much as possible.


The original hand is a Batarde-based script, though further details are unclear. A similar hand from Drogin is used, along with an “&” symbol from Lovett. 


The procedure was simple – learn hand, cut paper, rule lines, write pages. The original folio contained fewer pages, but it was unclear as to whether the calligraphy could be made small enough to fit within that short a space. 

The folio is now ready to be bound, with others, into a book, but that is outside the scope of this project.

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