Christmas Card 2015

For this year’s Christmas Card I have used a Half-Uncial lettering style based on the script used in the Book of Kells. Although this style in now associated with Ireland, it was in fact used throughout Europe in the middle ages.

I used an “Automatic Pen”, a wide dip pen used for large lettering such as posters. I wrote out the required letters a number of times and scanned the best. The digraph ae was particularly difficult as in this script the left hand side of the a and o look the same, therefore ae and oe are identical. So I was pleased to find some alternate characters in one of Arthur Baker’s Calligraphy Manuals. The initial G is decorated in a later style, which I drew separately in felt pen. All was then scanned into Photoshop and put together with the pale background colour.

Glæd Geol Christmas Greeting
Glæd Geol Christmas Greeting

So what does it mean?

Glæd Geol is the Old English for Happy Christmas (literal translation Glad Yule). The word Cristesmæsse (Christ’s Mass) was not used until the eleventh century.