The Project: ‘How to breke a herte’ #1

ImageHow to breke a herte is a project that was begun at the University of Nottingham Samworth Academy. The Pupils took part in a day where they learnt about medieval hunting ritual and also manuscript visual culture. This series of blog posts will document the project and the research going into it.

The pupils became scribes, creating their very own manuscript illuminations to be turned into their own digital medieval manuscript. The poem itself acts as a guide to the deer hunt. In brief it talks of the hunting and then the killing of the deer and then the dissection and management of the party, ending in the feast itself. The children chose elements of the poem to depict, having been shown some images from other manuscripts of the era like the ‘Howard Psalter and Hours’.

Many focused on elements of narrative such as deer or huntsman and others focused on the boarder decoration or background floral motifs. But the pupils did more than just copy the images they had been shown. They applied their impression of the story and played with ideas of gore and humour and some even created their own motifs entirely.

This post is just documenting the beginning of the project but also the aims at the end. Currently I feel that the end manuscript has to accentuate and present the creativity of the pupils, rather than fragment and mould the images into a different outcome. The design process must minimise any editing and allow the children’s decisions to shape the project.

Image from the ‘Howard Psalter and Hours’ 1460


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