We were very excited to be invited by the Centre for Research Collections to help out with their Edinburgh International Book Festival event: Making a Book in Medieval Scotland! Elizabeth Quaramby Lawrence, Assistant Rare Books Librarian, invited EMPP to speak about colour in Medieval Scotland, to which we readily agreed. The event focused on the Celtic Psalter, an eleventh-century manuscript with fantastic zoomorphic details.
While we thought about experiments in colour we could do, we opted to have more of a show and tell colour session, rather than risk dyeing everyone in the short time we had! We highlighted the colours that are used for the fantastic beasties in the Celtic Psalter, including yellow, green, orange, blue, and purple. Comparing the colours to those in the earlier Book of Kells and Lindisfarne Gospels, we suggested what pigments could have been used – and described how those pigments would have been made. We also talked about our experiences with the various colours, and the project’s future goals for workshops and experiments around manuscript colour.
You can view some of the presentation slides here: Book Festival PowerPoint.