Guild of Book Workers Newsletter
Number 97
December 1994


by Frances Manola

There is a new book, Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts, A Guide to Technical Terms, by Michelle P. Brown. It is paperback, 120 pages, 40 color and 40 black-and- white illustrations. It is published in England by the British Library and in North and South America by the J. Paul Getty Museum. It can be ordered from Turpin Distribution Services,
Ltd., Blackhorse Road, Letchwork, Herts, SG61HN, England, for £9.95. I called the Morgan Library and they have it for sale for $10. I presume the J. Paul Getty Museum is another source.

The Society of Scribes' twentieth-anniversary party will be held at the Grolier club in New York on Sunday, December 4th. There will be a one-day exhibition of the work of the founding members who originally numbered 20. Three of the group have died, but as many of us who can, will be on hand to enjoy fellowship with each other; each of us will talk briefly, reminiscing about the beginnings of the Society. Donald Jackson, who originally suggested the idea of a New York Society, will come from Wales, where he now lives, and will give a workshop and lecture on Saturday. I will comment on this celebration in the next Newsletter.

The SSI (Society of Scribes & Illuminators) in England will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 1996. The exhibition, "Celebration of Calligraphy", will show the highest standards of work for which the SSI stands, both from the past and present. Work done between 1921 and 1981 will be invited by a Selection Panel. Forms for submission of work done after 1991 are being mailed to all members. If you wish to join the SSI, membership is $50 a year (checks payable in U.S. dollars) for three issues of their journal The Scribe, along with workshop information, notices of courses, new books and many other events. Write to SSI Membership Secretary, Claire Turvey, The Art Workers Guild, 8 Queen Square, London, WCIN 3AR, England.

I have been a member of SSI for 22 years and have learned so much from the pages of their newsletters and journals. The society was organized by a group of calligraphers and illuminators required to submit work, evidence of their excellent skill in these fields, and especially gilding, and were then designated "Craft Members" (now called "Fellows"). Their earliest newsletters, for which I waited in great eagerness, were simply mimeographed sheets, but as their membership grew to around 2000, their journal The Scribe expanded into a handsome format. I knew I could depend on the reliability of their facts, and their articles and reviews of books and other events have held my interest through the years. Since I am not involved in the workings of the SSI, I paid little attention at first to an article by Peter Halliday in their Winter 1993 issue, entitled The Osmiroid - SSI Diploma Scheme. A disagreement has developed among certain members of the Society as to whether the SSI should be involved in this scheme. Being a long-time loyal member of the SSI, I am not willing to take sides in this controversy, but feel confident the SSI will be able to work things out. My understanding is that a group of SSI members, at least three of them Fellows, have resigned from the Society, and formed a new organization called "Calligraphy & Lettering Arts Society" (CLAS), because of specific grievances and in order to team up with the Osmiroid Diploma Scheme. Any of our members who now belong to SSI will already have received information from them about the affair. I am willing to send copies of Donald Jackson's letter written on behalf of the SSI and Peter Halliday's for CLAS, on receipt of an SASE. Please send to: Frances Manola, 303 Elkwood Avenue, New Providence, NJ 07974. Mail to CLAS should be addressed to Sue Cavendish, 54 Boileau Road, London SW13 9BL, England.