A Modern British Princely Achievement

Although I generally ignore the heraldic practices of modern aristocratic families, I was struck by the below achievement, which was designed by the Garter King of Arms in 1969 upon the investiture of Charles Windsor as the Prince of Wales, as it does a nice job of incorporating both the subject’s primary arms as well as their badges and other arms to which they were entitled.

Designed by Garter King of Arms. Illustrator unknown. Printed in The Observer. Archived by UK College of Arms.

 

Brainstorming Armorial Design From Period Sources

Sometimes submitters know that they want a device that looks authentically like the period arms of a particular time and place, but aren’t sure where to start.

My general advice for this situation is to spend an hour flipping through a couple of armorials from that culture to get a feel for the range of arms typical in that environment.

You can find armorials on this site, grouped by region and sorted by century:
https://caerlaverockroll.com/period-armorials-online/

Pick a few sources from your region and jump in, flipping through pages and getting a high-level impression of the arms that you see. Look at a few dozen pages of one source, and then bail out and choose another to flip through to see what’s similar and what’s different.

As you page through, take screenshots of your favorite elements — charges, arrangements, color schemes, etc.

After you’ve collected a dozen or so items that appeal to you, you can combine and remix them to produce something that’s uniquely yours.

Resist the temptation to shoehorn everything in, creating a monster with a dozen types of charge and all of the possible tinctures — your new design should have a complexity that’s comparable to the examples you are working from.

The result of this process is likely to be something that looks historically plausible, reflects the aesthetics of your chosen culture, and that meets the Society’s requirements for submissions, or is at least close enough that it serves as a good starting point.

However, while browsing period armorials for inspiration, there are a couple of caveats to be aware of:

  • Firstly, many armorials start with a pages of notable figures, which can include royalty of other kingdoms, or attributed arms of historical/mythical figures; you can usually just skip past the first quarter or so of the armorial to reach arms that are more representative of the populace at large.
  • Secondly, you’ll often find marshaled arms (especially in those opening sections of royalty) in which two or more arms are combined into quarters; when viewing those, treat each quarter as an independent device.

 

A Parochial New Yorker’s Map of the Current Middle Ages

This illustration is a play on SCA geography shown as a medieval T-and-O map crossed with the classic New Yorker cover.

Manhattan is in the center of the world (rightly so), with the West at the top, Long Island in the bottom left, and New England in bottom right.

(Hat tip to Þorfinn for the original idea, Angelica for the New Yorker tie-in, Brían for a great first round of Latin corrections, and Maral for a Canadian vocabulary suggestion.)

Also available in a provincial version that highlights all four modern cantons.

A guide to the labels and placenames, written in Vulgar Latin:

  • Nova Terra Vetus: The New Ancient World.
  • Occidens, Meridies, Oriens, Septentrio: Cardinal directions, with West at the top (medieval maps frequently had East at the top).
  • Mare Oceanum Procellarum: Ocean of Storms.
  • Atlantia: The Kingdom of Atlantia occupies the southeast of the US.
  • Caidis: The Kingdom of Caid lies in southern California
  • Nebulae: San Francisco and the Bay Area are the Principality of the Mists.
  • Scoutum Boreale: The Kingdom of Northshield covers central Canada and the upper Midwest.
  • Dracones mediorum: A dragon is the badge of The Middle Kingdom.
  • AEthelmearcus: The Kingdom of Æthelmearc is located due west of our kingdom.
  • Salamandrae: A salamander is the badge of the Barony of Bhakail, located around Philadelphia.
  • Incolae paludis: These “swamp dwellers” are inhabitants of the Barony of Settmour Swamp.
  • Concordia: The Barony of Concordia of the Snows is located in the Capitol Region of New York, around Albany.
  • Magnum Portum: New York’s “great harbor” connects the city to the ocean.
  • Hudsonicum: The Hudson river leads north from the city, and thanks to the Champlain canal, connects to the ocean via the St. Lawrence seaway.
  • Foramen: The Long Island Sound is the third “opening” connecting the city to the world’s oceans.
  • Insula Pomorum: The “island of apples” is Manhattan, the Big Apple.
  • Pontem fractum: The Canton of Brokenbridge is located in Brooklyn.
  • Leonis finem: The Canton of Lions End fills Nassau County.
  • Abyssi: The “people of the abyss” reside in the Barony An Dubhaigeainn, “of the dark ones” or perhaps “of the dark abyss,” a description of the waters of the Sound.
  • Aquilonis silvis: The “northern forests” of Østgarðr.
  • Draconavis: The Barony of Dragonship Haven lies across the Sound in southern Connecticut.
  • Carolingea: The Barony of Carolingia is located in and around Boston.
  • Tir Mara: The Crown Principality of Tir Mara is the Canadian portion of the East Kingdom, the “land of the sea.”

Traceable Art for Pennsic 49

Like Pennsic 49, this round of updates to the Book of Traceable Art has been somewhat delayed and is a bit smaller than usual; it has been six months since the last time I posted one of these announcements, and in that time I’ve only added a bit over a hundred new images. (My father passed away earlier this year and it’s taking me a while to get back into gear.) Continue reading “Traceable Art for Pennsic 49”

Traceable Art Visitor Analytics

Given the years of effort that have gone into building the Traceable Heraldic Art collection, it’s very gratifying to know that it’s actually being used by other people, and aside from anecdotal reports, the clearest feedback I get on this front is Google Analytics, which I enabled shortly after creating the site in December 2016.

Traffic has grown slowly over the last five and a half years, but over time persistence has paid off in increasing visibility. On a typical day in the last year the site was visited by between one hundred and two hundred people. Many of these folks are coming from search engine results, and about half of them take one look around and immediately leave after deciding that this site isn’t going to answer their questions about how to use a crancelin or give them the style of dolphin art they searched for. But others stay and browse through dozens of pages, so the number of  page views is usually between one and two thousand per day.

Presumably that growth won’t continue forever, and it will be interesting to see where things level off.

Traceable Art at Year’s End

As the new calendar year begins, it’s time for another update on the Traceable Art collection. Over the last two months, over a hundred and thirty illustrations have been added, bringing the total to just over five thousand images.

More than half of the new entries are ordinaries and field divisions from Gunnvôr silfrahárr‘s Viking Answer Lady SVG Images For Heralds. With this update, nearly all of the images from this collection are now included in the Traceable Art.

A few additional original illustrations have also been added in this round, from new contributor Hu Zhen and returning artists Iago ab Adam and Li Xia. Continue reading “Traceable Art at Year’s End”

Autumn Art Updates

Over the last two months, more than a hundred new entries have been added to the Book of Traceable Heraldic Art, putting it on track to pass five thousand charges and fields some time around the end of the calendar year.

I’m pleased to welcome first-time contributors Di Amador and Sneferu ex Artemisias, and extend my thanks to returning artists Saewynn aet Cnolle, Vémundr Syvursson, Iago ab Adam, Jessimond of Emerickeskepe, and Maryan Hoskyns.

If you’ve drawn heraldic line art that you’re willing to share with the community, or would like to find another way of getting involved, please drop me a line! Continue reading “Autumn Art Updates”

JSON Data for the Traceable Art

As part of my effort to facilitate the development of a successor to the current, somewhat jury-rigged system used to publish the Traceable Heraldic Art collection, I’ve been working on exporting the current data in a format that could be imported by someone developing a successor system.

You can now retrieve nearly all of the textual content of the collection via a series of JSON data files which are automatically rebuilt each time the site is updated. Continue reading “JSON Data for the Traceable Art”

Traceable Art at Summer’s End

During the last three months, over 225 new entries have been added to the Book of Traceable Heraldic Art, bringing the total to 4,800 images plus appendices.

Some of these illustrations were provided by first-time contributors Drystan ap Ercwlff, Elizabeth Riverwood, Groza Novgorodskaia, Kolosvari Arpadne Julia, Ragna stórráða Úlfsdóttir, and Sadhbh Bheag — thank you all, and welcome to the team.

Likewise, my continuing appreciation goes out to returning artists Saewynn aet Cnolle, Jessimond of Emerickeskepe, Iago ab Adam, Vémundr Syvursson, Forveleth Dunde, Owen Tegg, Thora Brandsdottir, Aine ingen Gilla Crist, and Estelle de la Mer. Continue reading “Traceable Art at Summer’s End”