Monday, May 19, 2008

Personal Diptych, medieval style

The 'gold stars' project from many, many moons ago has long been completed, and finally delivered to the recipient at the weekend. (It needed to be personally handed over - just couldn't trust this to the post!) So, I'm really pleased to be able to show some pictures now.

First, the outer bag -

The purse is made from hand dyed 100% silk velvet (indigo), lined in linen and trimmed with silk tablet woven braids at the edges and the top. These have been woven onto the bag, not sewn on afterwards. The estorils were made separetly, and sewn onto the bag after cutting them away from the linen ground. Added decoration on the bag's face are gold threads couched into place and sterling silver spangles. The tassels and braids are all silk, the tassels topped with turk's head knots, and the 'slides' on the drawstring laces are a silk and gold chevron weave. (the red is all commercially dyed)

Then, the inner case -

A simple leather covering, with silk fingerloop braids to close, with a piece of very fine hemmed linen inside. These are to protect the very special item inside -

A medieval style (15th century) personal diptych, painted by Mark Barrett (yes, my husband!). The panels are gessoed oak, the paintings worked using the medieval glaze technique, which consists of slowly building up the colours with very fine glazes to allow the depth of colour to remain. St Andrew is after a Memling work, while the Virgin & Child are after Van der Goes. Although he did not mix his own pigments on this occasion (it was his first attempt at this technique), he did ensure that his palette was limited to only those colours available at the time.

Below, the back, as this too will be seen when the diptych is in use.

This little diptych was designed so that it can be used during living history events, hence the addition of the bag to protect it. And the next one? One for me, only this time the paintings will be in the Italian style as opposed to Northern European, with the Virgin and Child and St Francis.


  1. Wow! that is an amazing little pressie. i would love to be able to paint those. Something else for me to learn on this year of learning :-)

    thanks for the suggestion about the braid, i might just try it with some strong "authentic looking" gold thread to see how it goes.

  2. Gorgeous!
    It's a Little Treasure :)

  3. Wow! That is amazing in every direction! Even the painting on the back of the diptych is beautiful. You and your husband do fantastic work.



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