Fresco-style Knighting Scroll


My husband’s squire, Mathias MacCooel, was elevated to the Order of the Chivalry, and I was honored to create his knighting scroll. His persona, like his knight’s and his grand-knight’s, is of the Greco-Roman variety, and this was a wonderful opportunity to learn how to do a fresco-like style. Because it couldn’t be a true wall painting to be mobile, the medium was prepared more like a panel painting. A roughly 1/4 inch wooden panel 12″ by 16″ served as the base. It was coated with layers of plaster made by combining gesso, rabbit-hide glue, and water.



The design was a combination of elements from Macedonian tombs in Naoussa.The loft scene was inspired by the 2nd century BCE Macedonian Tomb of Lyson and Kallikles, adapted to honor his lineage. The gladitorial Thracian helmet and gladius are for Casca and the Thracian helmet and kopis are for Areus. The Vergina sun was retained from the original to represent Atenveldt while the wreath was replaced with a chain.


The shape of the naiskos is inspired by the 3rd century BCE Macedonian Tomb of Anthemians.


The building was left open to provide a backdrop for text and the warrior with spear from the 3rd century Tomb of the Bella Tumulus from Palatitsia, adapted to represent Mathias as a knight of the society.


The application style is fresco secco, or pigment applied to dry plaster. A Companion to Science, Technology, and Medicine in Ancient Greece and Rome claims that funerary monuments from Macedonia provide evidence for the pigments used by Hellenistic period painters, including carbon black, lead white, iron-based ochres, copper-based greens (such as malachite), green earth, warm cinnabar (alone or mixed with red ochre), and Egyptian blue. I used carbon black, lead white, red oxide ochre, brown ochre, dark yellow ochre, light yellow ochre, antica green earth, malachite, and cinnabar. The supplier was out of Egyptian blue, so I mixed lapis lazuli and dioptase (a bluish copper-based green). Gum arabic was used as a binder.

Mistress Ari taught me how to mix and apply the plaster, how to mix paint, and guided materials choices and provided general advice and encouragement.