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Coronation Roll of King Charles III - header page.jpeg


Mercian

This is the Press Association’s photo of the header page for the ‘Coronation Roll’ of King Charles III.

The document is an official record of the proceedings of his coronation - who was there, who did what, of the various oaths that were sworn, and by whom they were sworn.

 

These records have been produced for the coronations of English monarchs since the coronation of Edward II in 1308.

They have (for obvious reasons) always been handwritten, and have always been written in iron-gall ink, on parchment vellum (animal skins). Because that has always been the most ‘archival’ recording medium.

 

This Coronation Roll has broken with that tradition, in a reflection of His Majesty’s well-known concern for animal welfare, and for the first time paper has been used.

The paper in question is Fabriano Artistico 100% pure cotton, archival quality watercolour paper. It is entirely free of animal products.

The ink used for the body of the text is ‘carbon black’, but I have not found any mention of any brand, or whether the ink was in fact specially made for the occasion (by burning vegetable oil through a vegetable lamp-wick, and collecting the soot from the flame on a metal dish inserted into the flame, before mixing it into another vegetable oil to make the ink).

 

The single calligrapher who wrote-out the 69-feet (21-metre) long, ~11500 word document is Stephanie von Werthern-Gill, who says that it took her 56 days to complete. During which time she kept her phone turned off, and took no breaks for weekends, in order to maintain her rhythm. And that she used classical music and breathing exercises to remain calm. At the end of all of that, the only mistake that was found in her manuscript was a single ‘i’ that had not been dotted. Thankfully, this omission was far easier to correct than a spelling error would have been. If all of it is as controlled and as beautiful as the writing on this page, I truly salute her tremendous skill.

 

The extraordinary illumination on this page was produced by the artist Tim Noad, who also designed the ‘King’s cypher’ for Charles III - the ‘C III R’ monogram design that will appear on all the postboxes and banknotes etc that are produced throughout his reign.

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InesF

Posted

WOW!, that looks great. Congrats to Stephanie for her amazing work and congrats to you, @Mercian, for finding the photo! Paper is fully OK, no need for vellum (although, no cow is bred, fed and killed for the skin).

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DilettanteG

Posted

Wow, that is beautiful. I'm not a monarchy fan in general, but I do love all the artisans who've worked on the coronation. I watched a documentary on the tailors and embroiders preparing the uniforms with new cyphers on them. Frankly, I enjoyed it more than the actual ceremony, but hey it's not for me (being a US citizen and all.)

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Mercian

Posted

2 hours ago, DilettanteG said:

Frankly, I enjoyed it more than the actual ceremony, but hey it's not for me (being a US citizen and all.)


I once visited the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool.
When I was there, they were hosting an exhibition of the robes that had been made for various ranks of the local clergy in the 1920s & 1930s. It’s not the sort of thing that I had ever taken even the slightest interest in, but I decided to have a look at the exhibition.

The robes had been embroidered by hand, by Anglican nuns. The quality of the work was just awe-inspiring. I was astonished by it.
One would, I think, be very hard-pressed to find any work of that quality nowadays, anywhere.

One might still find work of the same quality produced for our various Royal ceremonies, or for those of the Vatican, but I doubt that one would still find anything that good produced for what is a mere ‘provincial’ outpost!

 

As for our monarchy, during the coronation one of the commentators opined that, if you look at the constitutional arrangement for providing a Head of State here, which has evolved over about a thousand years, nobody - whether a single person, or a committee of people - would ever have sat down and designed this system deliberately 😁


But I personally find myself in complete agreement with what he said right after that - which was that, out of all the multifarious ways that different polities around the world select/appoint their Head(s) of State, our bizarre, cobbled-together, hodge-podge of abstruse laws and ancient traditions is, astonishingly, actually probably the least-worst system that is available 🤪 :lticaptd:

 

Obviously, I don’t want to get into a ‘political’ discussion out in the open - but I will happily explain (to anyone who is interested) why it is that I think this via PM.

And of course I am saying this after only having experienced the reign of Elizabeth II. If I had been around in the days of King John, or Richard II, or Charles I (when ‘the rules of the game’ were very different) I might have formed a rather different view! 😉

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