Things get a little crazy in the scriptorium after compline
July 5, 2013 8:07 AM   Subscribe

Skeleton doodles, crappy D's, cat hats, embroidered book repair, dentistry, and a duck going queck, from the tumblr of Erik Kwakkel, a medieval book historian at Leiden University.
posted by theodolite (21 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
What an interesting tumblr! They doodled just like me :D
posted by meta87 at 8:14 AM on July 5, 2013

"Looke! A skeleton I have ydrawn!"

This is amazing. The failed D attempts cracked me up.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:19 AM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've been following him on Twitter for a while now. Lots of wonderful images.
posted by vacapinta at 8:27 AM on July 5, 2013

"Jesu, Gerbert, stop illuminating Ds! You are drunk!"

Also, is it just me, or does the cathat guy look like he is about to take a bite out of that cat. I think he likes cats too much. Run, cat, run!
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:39 AM on July 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

Wonderful. Thanks.
posted by tickingclock at 8:40 AM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

The broidery is wonderful, and I didn't know about holes in parchment. His twitter is great too.
Great find, thank you.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:52 AM on July 5, 2013

Sometimes these sites crop up at just the right moment. Without this post to prod my memory, I may still be looking for my glasses.
posted by mcoo at 8:58 AM on July 5, 2013

In a fox-hunting scene in a 14th-century psalter, a fox grabs a duck who utters a single plaintive QUECK before being dragged off. Seven centuries later, you see the duck's final moments.

Technology, be it ink on paper or electrons on screen, is cool.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:23 AM on July 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

Also, is it just me, or does the cathat guy look like he is about to take a bite out of that cat. I think he likes cats too much. Run, cat, run!

Sadly, that cat is probably dead by now.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:33 AM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sadly, that cat is probably dead by now.

That cat lives eternally on the page (and now on the internet and in our hearts). Always alive, yet always menaced by cathat guy. I don't know if that should make me happy or not.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:36 AM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

PS. I love that "queck." It is my favorite queck.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:37 AM on July 5, 2013 [6 favorites]

"A duck? Going 'queck'? Is that the best you can do, Brother Jerome? Seriously- because the Countess Eleanor wants the margins of her book of hours illuminated with fantastical creatures. And this is what you come up with: a duck...being eaten by a dog...and going 'queck'? Look at Brother Englebert's work over here- he's got a cockatrice, a couple of dragons, and I'm not even sure what that thing is...some sort of leopard-parakeet-frog? And that's not to mention all the farting peasants he's got in there as well. That's the kind of thing I'm talking about. I want you to retire to your cell for the rest of the day, and reflect on whether or not illumination is something that you want to do. You know, really meditate on it...oh and that D looks terrible, also."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:55 AM on July 5, 2013 [6 favorites]

"Kwakkel" is pretty eponysterical.
posted by dmd at 10:06 AM on July 5, 2013

I love that tumblr. And I love the fox and the duck.
posted by immlass at 10:20 AM on July 5, 2013

I'm starting to get the opinion that illuminated manuscripts were the tumblr of their day. Awesome drawings and illustrations, fan fiction, lolcat images, and the occassional saucey dick joke.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:42 AM on July 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

the occassional saucey dick

You might, um, want to go see a doctor and get that checked out.
posted by fikri at 1:15 PM on July 5, 2013

Fortunately it was a slow day at work, so that I could spend time giving all 11 pages a proper viewing. I had no idea there was so much going on in medieval books!

(Also, I begin to see where Terry Gilliam may have gotten some of his inspiration)
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:30 PM on July 5, 2013

This is too perfect! Thanks for sharing!
I look at a lot of marginalia in Early Modern/Renaissance books and manuscripts, and they have a similarly wonderful effect of reminding us of the continuity of the utter silliness/banality/beauty/wonder of reading and writing throughout its history. It's somehow sweet and also mind-blowing to come face to face with evidence that, guess what, 16th century readers and writers were just as absent-minded as I am! What makes the medieval examples collected here so special is that the expense and rarity of books/MSS was even higher in that period than the one I study, so this marginalia is both charming and also somehow subversive in its ridiculousness.
Love it!
posted by Dorinda at 3:14 PM on July 5, 2013

"Don't tell my father I breakfast on gin
It's a terrible fault in a monk.
In, other respects I'm not troubled by sin.
It s just getting out of my bunk

That causes my legs to feel wobbly and weak,
My whole moral fibre to fail,
Till I've had a small swig to restore my physique
And my mental control, which is frail.

I stay in the chapel from Matins to Lauds,
Then work in the kitchen till Prime,
I garden till Terce, I'm not one of those frauds
Who's half asleep most of the time.

I supervise novices daily till Sext,
Then, drawing on self-discipline,
Illuminate Bede's or Erasmus's text . . .
But I cannot get up without gin."

posted by BWA at 5:22 PM on July 5, 2013

The skeleton is actually holding an hourglass /pedant
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:05 AM on July 6, 2013

Medieval Yoda
posted by homunculus at 5:20 PM on August 2, 2013

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