The Saint John's Bible March 2009, Vol. 1, Issue 1Forward to a Friend
April has arrived in Minnesota and with it comes the true signs of spring. Tulips and daffodils are emerging from their winter slumber, the grass is noticeably greener and even the trees are showing renewed life as their buds grow in the longer, warmer spring days. This month, the enewsletter travels over the Atlantic Ocean to visit Donald Jackson and his team at the Scriptorium in Wales as they diligently work on completing Historical Books. Back at Saint John's, the Liturgical Press, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) and The Heritage Program have also been working hard on an important project—a complete redesign of The Saint John's Bible website. As Rachel from the Scriptorium writes, "There’s never a dull moment!"

Life at Scriptorium—
never a dull moment!

by Rachael Collard, Project Manager, Scriptorium, Wales

Donald Jackson
Chris, Donald, Mabel and John Parfitt (Heritage printing consultant) inspect the most recent of Chris’ work. Many thanks to Dan Whalen for so generously allowing us to use his London flat as a meeting place for us in the capital.
Photo credit: Sarah Harris
Here in Wales we are busy working away on Historical Books—the penultimate book to be completed. And real progress is being made. In recent weeks, we have received beautiful gifts from our overseas artists. Thomas Ingmire and Suzanne Moore returned their completed illuminations, "Ruth the Gleaner," "David's Lament," "Hannah's Prayer," "The Prophetess Huldah." What a treat to see "the real thing" and a spur to action.

For all the remaining illuminations in the volume, from Donald, Hazel Dolby, and Aidan Hart, the sketch review process has been completed and the work marches ahead.

The Scriptorium has been welcoming artists on a regular basis. We've had visits from Chris Tomlin who is developing ideas for natural history illuminations with Donald and Sarah Harris. The volume's subject matter lends itself wonderfully to Donald's idea of images that can reflect the turbulent content of the pages they inhabit: warring hornets, ants marching across new territories, spiders waiting patiently to catch their prey.

Aidan has also been able to spend a few days working with in the Scriptorium; the calm of the icon artist contrasting with the exuberant, full-of-life natural history artist!

Hazel is working on her final illumination and Donald has been itching to get back to putting ink to vellum. What a thrill it is to see the work develop from the initial ideas, through sketches to the finished illumination, bright with burnished gold, regal purple and flaming reds.

The scribes are busy too. Suzie Leiper has completed some full pages for us and Brian Simpson has stayed a couple of times working on the fine detail of the pages, which are almost finished: Greek lettering, chapter numbers, RSBs (the rules of St. Benedict highlighted throughout the Bible).

With a little help from Rachel, Sarah has undertaken the massive task of checking every page of Historical Books (and there are lots) for missing paragraph numbers, bullets, RSBs, running headlines, missing lines, chapter numbers, chapter headings, capital letters, etc. This is a logistical nightmare with many details to finalize before the pages are complete. Working on what has to happen, on which page and in what order it has to happen is also a challenge. For example, imagine a piece of vellum pinned to a board for Donald to complete a half-page illumination. Perhaps on its reverse, hidden from view, there is a gap awaiting a column of marching ants to be painted by Chris, and when that’s done, there will still be capitals to do on both sides and perhaps the odd bullet point too!

Heritage Edition work keeps us busy too, with a constant flow of communication between the studio and the printers and embossers in Minneapolis. The third volume to go on press was Psalms, which took place in February. Next on press - Pentateuch!

Coming Soon: A New Website
The Saint John’s Bible

To the Ends of the WorldOver a year ago, three departments at Saint John’s that work with The Saint John’s Bible – Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (commonly referred to as HMML and “The Home of The Saint John’s Bible”), Liturgical Press (publisher of The Saint John’s Bible books, note cards, and art prints), and The Heritage Program (publisher of the fine art, limited edition reproduction of The Saint John’s Bible), determined that the time was right to redesign the website. The new design creates one cohesive online experience for visitors who come to the site. It will be easy-to-navigate, informative, and most importantly, it will share the story of The Saint John’s Bible. As an enewsletter subscriber, you will be the first to know when the new site is up and running. Please forward this enewsletter to any friends and family who may also be interested in The Saint John’s Bible events and happenings.

  See the Bible

• Life at Scriptorium

• Coming Soon! A New Website

• Upcoming Exhibitions & Events

Next month: Discover the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, the home of The Saint John's Bible

See the Bible


Walters Art Museum
Through May 24, 2009
Baltimore, Maryland

Print Exhibits

March 20 - May 12, 2009
Diocesan School of Biblical Studies
Roncalli Newman Parish

La Crosse, Wisconsin
(Exhibition moves between several locations.)

May 3 - June 22, 2009
First Congregational Church
Crystal Lake, Illinois

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Contact:The Saint John's Bible, Liturgical Press, Saint John's Abbey, PO Box 7500, Collegeville, MN 56321
Phone: 1.800.654.0476 or 320.363.2213

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