The earliest known fragment of the New Testament is from St John’s Gospel and dates from the 1st half of the 2nd century. It was discovered in Egypt and is known as The Rylands Papyrus and is in the John Ryland’s Museum, Manchester. It really is a fragment as it is less than 9cm high. As it is beyond value, it was decided not to have it on public view. I was given the job of producing a facsimile, and my version is on public display – the original being secreted away.
I had no access to the original, but was supplied with high-quality photographs. I obtained papyrus from Egypt and produced the facsimile with black acrylic and very small brushes. I originally tried to produce the lettering with an edged pen but this proved to be too difficult (for me, at least). The client was less concerned about the overall shape, but, understandably very particular about the detail as my version had to look “authentic”.