Two Articles by Lothar von Katzenellenbogen

I am reposting two armory articles by Lothar von Katzenellenbogen (mka Thomas Barnes) which I think are interesting and useful: Authentic Heraldry Made Simple and A Critique and Ranking of Charges Found in the “Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry As Used in SCA”.

They were written in the 1990s and archived at the Academy of Saint Gabriel, but were only available in a plain-text format that wasn’t very readable — the versions I’ve posted have had modern web styling applied to them and will hopefully be easier to scan.

These are over two decades old, and somewhat out of date, and they’re very opinionated, but they also contain some useful information, and I feel there’s value in them if they’re considered in context rather than taken as an authoritative reference.

Traceable Art Update

As I mentioned recently an effort is underway, led by Lady Þórý Veðardóttir, to update and expand upon the Pennsic Traceable Art collection in order to facilitate emblazoning of armory submissions at Pennsic and other SCA events.

I’ve been working on a draft document that combines field divisions and ordinaries were from a collection of heraldic elements I had been assembling, along with a number of charges picked up from other sources, including the original Pennsic Traceable Art book, illustrations by the volunteers of the Pennsic Heralds’ Point Art Tent, and several publicly-available sources, including the Viking Answer Lady‘s collection of SVG elements.

Field divisions and ordinaries are drawn at precisely the scale used for SCA armory submissions, while mobile charges are included in a range of sizes so they can be used as primary, secondary, or tertiary charges.

The collection numbers over five hundred pages, but is far from complete; I expect it to wind up somewhere over a thousand pages.

There are PNG and SVG versions of some of the items; eventually these should be available for every field and charge.

There is a alphabetical index for the full collection as well as a table of contents, both of which allow you to download individual pages in PDF format, as well as the PNG and SVG images where available.

You can also find separate tables of contents for each “volume,” which are organized by category:

  • Volume 1: Fields, including furs, field treatments, and semys.
  • Volume 2: Complex lines.
  • Volume 3: Field divisions.
  • Volume 4: Ordinaries and their diminutives.
  • Volume 5: Geometric shapes, heavily bodies, features of the earth, and assorted symbols.
  • Volume 6: Tools and man-made objects.
  • Volume 7: Plants, including fruits, seeds, and leaves, as well as mushrooms.
  • Volume 8: People and animals.

Additionally there are a few odds and ends that are related but not part of the core traceable art collection:

  • Visual Reference: Contains a number of pages of small side-by-side images of field divisions and charges, for use on a consultation desk to help show clients some of the choices and explain specialized terminology.
  • Reference Posters for Consultation Sites: These are posters containing examples of field divisions, ordinaries, complex lines, charges and arrangements designed to be hung at a consultation site for easy reference by clients. Designed to be printed on tabloid-sized sheets (17″ x 22″), but may also be printed on regular 8.5″ x 11″ paper for desktop use.
  • Consultation Worksheets: includes items that may be useful for on-site armory consultation, including doodle sheets, alternate display outlines like the lozenge, and drawing grids to assist with spacing charges.

If you have a recent version of the drawing application OmniGraffle (Mac only, $99) you can download the original working documents for each volume to use the elements to assemble armory electronically.