I have been asked a few times how I came to call my brand baby Book of Deer
. Other than the fact I thought it had a poetic ring to it, I felt it would be nice to name the label in honour of an important symbol of Scottish heritage. The Book of Deer is said to be Scotland’s oldest surviving manuscript. A small gospel book written in the 10th
Century, measuring just 154mm x 107mm. It is written on vellum in brown ink in a form of Latin known as the Vulgate,
amid the Latin and Celtic illuminations there can also be found the oldest pieces of medieval Gaelic writing we have today.
Medieval doodles in the Book of Deer:
Before c. 1100 it was in the possession of the early Pictish monastery at Old Deer in north-east Aberdeenshire. Old Deer is situated on a bend of the river Ugie and close to Aden Country Park. The Monastery where the book was written has all but gone without a trace.
King George 1 presented the manuscript to Cambridge University Library in 1715. It is not known how the book was moved from Aberdeenshire to England, it is thought to have been looted during the Wars of Scottish Independence (1295-1320).
The book is rounded off with a colophon in Old Irish—
Which roughly translates to:
“Be it on the conscience of anyone who reads this splendid little book that they say a prayer for the soul of the wretch who wrote it.”
While I can't say the written content of Book of Deer has been a source of inspiration for my designs, in my mind its title evokes the sort of woodland fairytale imagery that I want my brand to encapsulate. And if one day the name on the label in my dress prompts someone to do a little history research then I'll feel I've done my bit for the preservation of Scottish heritage! For more info on the original Book of Deer and Scottish History click here http://bookofdeer.co.uk/
See digital pictures of the book here: http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/book_of_deer/