Renaissance Jousting Knights Cookies

7/24/2012 Posted In , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »

As you know, I love Medieval manuscripts, so when I ran into these gorgeous images from the 15th-century Italian Capodilista Codex, I knew I had to turn them into cookies. The knights are arrayed in their gorgeous jousting armor, the horses and banners are rich in color. I made these cookies with my trusty 2"x3" cutter from the R & M Fluted Rectangular Cookie Cutter Set, piped beige borders with a #16 star tip, and gilded them with Wilton Pearl Dust in Gold. My son is just a toddler, so he doesn't understand anything about knights yet, but I bet he will in a few years, and then I'll be making them again for a boys' playdate or party!

The wafer papers can be purchased HERE.

For more detailed directions for how to use wafer papers,
visit: How to Decorate Cookies with Wafer Papers.

Happy decorating!

Six Wives of Henry VIII Cookies

6/27/2012 Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »

One of the first cookies I googled, when I became interested in making cookies, was "Henry VIII cookies." Didn't find much. "Tudor cookies," no better luck. I knew I had to do a "Six Wives of Henry VIII" cookie set with wafer papers—I mean, come on, who doesn't want the chance to bite off Henry VIII's head off! :D

Two of the portraits already were round miniatures with blue backgrounds; the others, I photoshopped onto blue backgrounds, for uniformity. Each cookie has gold text with the subject's name, so you know exactly whom you are eating. Seven cookies aren't enough for anybody (right?!), so I made it a full set of ten by adding Henry VIII's three legitimate children, all of whom became monarchs themselves: Mary, Elizabeth, and Edward.

These cookies were made with Walker's Raspberry Shortbread Thins, which were the perfect size, a smidge over 2" round. The Henry VIII cookie is a 2" x 3" rectangle. I iced them with lemon-flavored icing, and piped a border with a #16 star tip, which then got gilded with Wilton Pearl Dust in Gold.

The wafer papers can be purchased at the Cookie Pixie shop HERE.

For more detailed directions for how to use wafer papers,
visit: How to Decorate Cookies with Wafer Papers.


Winnie-the-Pooh House for Sale

5/23/2012 Edit This 0 Comments »

Now would be the perfect time to have a spare £2,000,000 ($3.3m) cluttering up the corners—A. A. Milne's country house, Cotchford Farm, is on the market for the first time in over 40 years. Cotchford farm in Sussex is where Milne's little boy, Christopher Robin Milne, spent his summer days, and where Winnie-the-Pooh came to being. The Grade II Listed country house is surrounded by gardens and woodland near Ashdown Forest, which served as inspiration for 500 Acre Wood and, nearby, one can still visit the bridge which became Poohsticks Bridge. The area is now commonly called "Pooh Country." 

The house is offered for sale by Savills.

NB: All images in this post ©Savills.

Writing Britain: Exhibition at the British Library

5/22/2012 Posted In , , , Edit This 1 Comment »

 The British Library exhibition "Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands" opened last week and will run through September 25th, 2012. The exhibition explores how English literature and authors have been influenced by British landscapes. The multimedia exhibition has over 150 exhibits, including everything from Medieval manuscripts to 21st-century audio and video recordings. The texts range from manuscripts of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to Wordsworth and Blake, Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca to J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter.

William Langland's Piers Plowman

Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures Under Ground

Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca

J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Other works on display include:
A 10th-c. manuscript of The Seafarer  
The Mabinogion
Drayton's Poly-Olbion
Katherine Phillips' A Country-Life
Stow's Survey of London
Jane Austen's Persuasion
Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre
Coleridge's 'Lakes notebook'
William Blake's Notebook
Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Ernest
Tolkien's The Hobbit
Graham Greene's The Wind in the Willows

 The BBC have a lovely video with curator Jamie Andrews describing the exhibition, here.

NB: All images in this post ©British Library. In the U.S., under U.S. copyright law, they are Public Domain and are used under a Creative Commons license.

Medieval Illuminated Initial Cookies

5/20/2012 Posted In , , Edit This 1 Comment »

I wanted to share with you some Medieval manuscript cookies I made for my friend and colleague, Risa Bear, creator of Renascence Editions. I chose historiated initials from several manuscripts, printed them on edible paper with edible ink, attached them to square cookies and gave them gold edges. Who says love of literature and art can't fill a belly?! 

Updated to add (5-25-12): I've gotten countless requests for these wafer papers; they are available for purchase here. Happy baking! :)

Updated to add (5-28-12): I've added a step-by-step "How-To" for these cookies here.

 Updated to add (5-29-12): Overwhelming response to these wafer papers—I've run out of edible ink! I'm slated to get a delivery of more ink on June 1st and, when I do, I'll activate the Etsy listing again. Thank you, everyone! :)

 Updated to add (6-1-12): Have ink & Etsy listing active again. Thanks for your patience!

Modern Medieval Illuminations

4/15/2012 Posted In , , Edit This 0 Comments »

Artist Claudia Tulifero's atelier in the historic center of Florence offers what few places do nowadays—gorgeous, meticulously crafted illuminations made with the same techniques and materials used by Medieval illuminators some 700 years ago. My heart aches for that exquisite reproduction from the Hours of Duc de Berry, above! The illuminated initials, below, would make unforgettable presents for the Medievalists and art lovers in our lives. (
Dear Santa: I hope you are reading this).

To see more beautiful illuminations and pictures of the works in progress, visit the Studio Artemisia Etsy Store.

NB: All illuminations in this post ©Claudia Tulifero. Used with permission.

When that Aprill: The Poetry of Spring

4/14/2012 Posted In , , , Edit This 0 Comments »

Poets have always written about spring, and no surprise—even in our cynical world, spring inspires a sense of wonder, a sense of hope and possibilities. Here are extracts from some of my favorite spring poems. They are linked to their full versions (and in the case of the Middle English ones, the translations). Don't miss out on the beautiful song audio file for the first!

Lenten ys come with love to toune,
With blosmen & with briddes roune,
        That al this blisse bryngeth;
Dayes eyes in this dales,
Notes suete of nyhtegales;
        Uch foul song singeth....
        —Anonymous Medieval Lyric (c1310)

Whan that Aprille with his showres sote
The droght of Marche had perced to the rote...
And smale fowles maken melodye....
        —Chaucer, General Prologue,
           Canterbury Tales (late 14th c.)

Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant king;
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing,
          Cuckoo, jug, jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
        —Thomas Nashe, Spring (c1590)

May never was the month of love,
    For May is full of flowers;
But rather April, wet by kind,
    For love is full of showers.
        —Robert Southwell, Love's Servile Lot (late 16th c.)

How could it be so fair, and you away?
How could the Trees be beauteous, Flowers so gay?...
When e'er then you come hither, that shall be
The time, which this to others is, to Me.
        —Abraham Cowley, Spring (1647)

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
        —T. S. Eliot, Waste Land (1922)

NB: The MS image in this post ©British Library. In the U.S., under U.S. copyright law,
it is Public Domain and is used under a Creative Commons license.

The Luttrell Psalter: Medieval Beauty

4/12/2012 Posted In , , , , Edit This 0 Comments »

One of the loveliest Medieval manuscripts must be the Luttrell Psalter, made between 1325 and 1335 for Sir Geoffrey Luttrell, a Lincolnshire knight. Unlike typical books of psalms, its wonder does not rest on illuminations of biblical figures and events, but on its wealth of marginal and bas-de-page (lit. "bottom of the page") illustrations of everyday life in the Middle Ages. The manuscript features activities ranging from plowing and sowing the fields to playing games, cooking, and dining:

(Click to enlarge images)

Plowing the field with oxen.

Harrowing the field.

Sowing the field.

Reaping and binding sheaves of wheat.

Stacking sheaves of wheat to dry.

Threshing wheat with flails.

Cherry thief.

Woman spinning.

Shepherd piping.

Milking sheep in a pen.


Woman feeding chickens.

In 2006, Lincolnshire film director, Nick Loven, had the idea of making a short film based on the Luttrell Psalter. WAG Screen shot the film over the span of a year, with little budget and a cast and crew of volunteers. It debuted in 2008 to high acclaim. This labor of love brings beautifully to life scenes from the Psalter:

The British Library has a few selections from the Luttrell Psalter viewable for free on their "Turning the Pages" site, here. They've also recently added an iPad app of the complete Luttrell Psalter [US | UK]. The app includes the short film above.

And so, fare well!

NB: All Luttrell Psalter images in this post ©British Library. In the U.S., under U.S. copyright law, they are Public Domain and are used under a Creative Commons license.

Welcome to the Luminarium Blog

1/01/2012 Edit This 0 Comments »

Visitors to Luminarium have long expressed interest in a blog. Due to the overwhelming amount of work on the site proper, it has taken a long while to execute. Here, I will share history and literature related news items, links to sites of interest, excerpts of literary works and essays, and bits of ephemera.

I only ask that everyone behave courteously in comments—not everyone will like the same things or agree on all matters, but it is important to respect one another. Thank you. I do hope you'll enjoy the blog.