An Award of Arms in a Bavarian style

Award of Arms for Reinald of Bavaria

C&I by THL Sugawara no Naeme

Words by THL Agnes Marie de Calais and THL Sugawara no Naeme

Silent treads the Tyger when in service, yet still his step is heard. Oh crafter of Honey’d mead, golden like the sun upon the bay at noon, one who works diligently to deftly wield sword and shield on the field of battle for the glory of the Realm, those who quietly toil for the benefit of the Society are worthy and deserving of praise and promotion.

We Ryouko’jin, Demon King of the Three Heavens, and Indrakshi Rani, Bengal Queen, do elevate Reinald of Bavaria to a Lord of Our court and award him arms, Quarterly per fess embattled vert and sable, in chief two wolves rampant, a point pointed Or, to be borne by him and him alone. Done at Our Northern Region War Camp on the second day of the seventh month, AS LVII, in the auspicious Year of the Tyger.

This was another wonderful collaborative wordsmithing effort. I’m grateful to THL Agnes for taking my initial words and elevating the entire piece with her elaboration and eloquence.

The recipient has a very specific persona, so I drew heavily on that for this award document. The source I chose is The “Codex Manesse”, also known as the “Great Heidelberg Book of Songs” which was created between around 1300 and 1340 in Zurich. Here are the pages/spread I used:

I altered the image so that the depicted person was wielding a longsword, which is the favored weapon of the recipient.

I redesigned the horse’s barding, the shield and tabard to reflect the recipient’s arms as this is an Award of Arms. The calligraphy was done by creating my own ductus from the manuscript.

Next I added the painted and inked capitals.

Yellow color blocking, and some detailing.

Grey color blocking.

Most of the horse. I missed the belly on this pass, oops.

Green color blocking, grass detail, and I also got the horse’s belly done.

Black color blocking, armor detailing, reigns.

Outlining. Almost a little cartoony, but the exemplar does the same. I remember being told as a young scribe, not to do this. Maybe that person hadn’t seen this source?

Next I added the blue and gold.

Added the red. Touched up details. Finished award document.

This one pushed me a little in the calligraphy department. I’ve been assured this has made it to its recipient. I hope he likes it.

Order of the Silver Crescent

This was my first Order of High Merit assignment. Seems Signet saw my other work and decided to bump me up a level from Awards of Arms and other Silver level award documents/scrolls.

I decided from the start I wanted to gild the document in silver (for the crescent) and gold (for the crown). I also wanted to be a little heavy with the gold in general. I reviewed my recipient’s wiki and decided on a late-ish period Italian theme for the them to match her persona.

Research commenced.

I found a piece in a book of hours I liked and I decided to try a new poetic form, terza rima.

Mirrored image from a book of hours. Scrolling vines in red and blue with flowers in red and leaves of green.
Digitally altered/mirrored image from a book of hours. Scrolling vines in red and blue with flowers in red and leaves of green.

Once I had a rough draft, I sent it over to Her Excellency Aislinn Chiabach who made a few tweaks, and then I made a few more. Eventually the words read thus:

“Words reached Our Sovereigns’ ears of this gentle’s deeds
Given so freely, she never seems to tire
Her work knows no bounds, of this you can believe.

Devoted local leader tending the fire
Providing many labors for all the parts
And minding the hearth of Stonebridge’ Shire

She’s a deft hand in promotion of the Arts
From local lands to country, she will work from
Her noble center, giving of her whole heart

A faithful servant to the Eastern Kingdom
She’s led folk in the path of aid, great and small
All the long day until the work had been done

Over years, it can be said, she’s heard the call
Sitting gate, demos, cooking, and more there is
Teaching the Knowne World at War, she gives her all

Great Sultan Mohammed and Wise Brenhines
Corotica lift Arabella De Mere
to the Order of the Silver Crescent for this

Steadfast service to Shire and Sovereignty fair.”

The words required more space than the inspiration page, so I digitally altered it.

I traced the image onto paper, smoothing the introduced transition and included the lines for the calligraphy

Using a lightbox I traced the image onto pergamenta.

Next it was time for gold. I applied miniatum provided to me by a fellow scribe, THL Aaradyn.

I let it dry, then breathed on it, and eventually had to give up and add modern adhesive on top of the miniatum. Then I went bananas with the gold leaf.

After the gold I applied adhesive and silver leaf. The first go was not great.

I tried again with better results.

Next I hand blended several gold inks to create just the right shade and applied the calligraphy.

I painted the green areas first

I painted the yellow and white sections next. A lot of the yellow is a base for more gold.

Red next.

Then the blue bits

Highlights were applied to the reds and blues and veining on all the leaves

And then, more gold and some fine red line work to finish out the document.

My favorite part – all the tiny gold dots! Even though I had trouble with the miniatum adhering, I love the raised texture it gave to the document. I had fun with all the gold, and I know the recipient loves it, which is the best part.

A Roman Inspired Scroll

A document in landscape orientation. The top half of the document is latin text in calligraphy. The bottom half of the document is a painted roman mosaic. There are two peacocks, heads toward center, flanking the badge of the A&S Champions of the East Kingdom, a rampant blue tiger holding a candle. The mosaic background is gold, and all three charges are in rectangular boxes with graduated blue borders.
Ink, pencil, and gouache on pergamenata.

After I learned that my award scrolls for the past reign (Consort’s Champion of A&S and Order of the Maunche) had been backlogged, I had an idea. I wanted to create the document for my successor, the new Consort’s Champion of Arts and Sciences. It seemed like a beautiful end to my tenure as Champion, going out with with Art as Service. I reached out to the Sovereign’s Champion, who is also a scribe, and suggested that we make the award scroll documents for our successors. He loved the idea, volunteered to coordinate with the Signet’s Office, and suggested that our documents not “match” but instead make something in our own style.

I don’t know that I have a scribal style yet. I tend to do something new each time. And I was determined to come up with something. And while I’d love to create a Heian inspired scroll, it’s not right. This is the scroll where the Consort of the East chooses Her Champion. So I decided the document should be inspired by Empress Honig, the One choosing Her champion. It gave me the opportunity to create a piece of art inspired by and for Her Majesty to present. I also wanted this scroll to be something Empress Honig would be proud of as a Laurel who specializes in illumination. Her Majesty had styled Her reign Roman. My immediate thought was to mimic a roman mosaic. Her Majesty’s personal arms include a peacock, so I set off in search of peacock mosaics.

I examined so very many mosaics of peacocks. And also borders of mosaics. A neat tidbit from my research, I learned that bird feathers were quite often rendered in glass rather than stone.

I liked this Peacock from Antioch the best.

A mosaic of a peacock facing left, standing on a branch with a pomegranate on it.
Detail of a peacock in the border of the mosaic of Opora, Argos and Oinos dining dating to the 3rd century AD. Found in the House of the Psyches in the Daphne suburb of Antioch. Reg. no. 1937.127 [On display in the Baltimore Museum of Art.]

You can find it here: 

The initial idea I had was a document oriented in a landscape position. Two peacocks (as it’s Her Majesty’s second reign) facing each other. Between the two peacocks, two oval or round badges, stacked, with the Consort’s arms as the top image and the A&S badge the bottom. Simple borders “line” the images into a “unified” mosaic. Words would be above the image in a rectangular block.  After playing with digital layouts, I settled on a similar design, placing the two badges side by side instead of stacked.

Digital mock up, two peacocks flankinf the arms of the Queen of the East Kingdom, left center and the badge for the A&S Champion, right center
My design process always includes a mock up. This was a quick version made in Paint.

And then I began to wonder about the words. A Roman inspired scroll should probably be in Latin. I immediately thought to contact Domina Fortunata, who has a talent for both Latin and wordsmithing, and was delighted when she consented to assist. We discussed how I felt to have been chosen as Consort’s A&S Champion, and how artistry can move the heart of the Empress. She composed beautiful words in a Latinate prosody style that encapsulate the idea I was trying to describe.

The words in Latin:

Narrete nobis, O Musae, historiam herois. Impartite quae cogitonem artificis semetipse Imperatricem Orientalis iniecit; velut Pygmalionem Galatea, Sapientia philosophos, Daedalo Innovatio iniecerunt. Ante diem tertium Nonas Martii, in anno quinquagesimo sexto ab Societate condita, decernitur <Insert name here> Heroem Reginae Artibus et Scientiis

And the translation:

O Muses, tell us the story of a hero. Impart some knowledge of the artist who inspired the Empress of the East; like Galatea inspired Pygmalion, as Reason inspired philosophers, as Innovation inspired Daedalus. Three days before the Nones of March in the 56th year from the founding of the Society, <Insert name here> is declared Queen’s Champion of Arts and Sciences. 

I chose to do  the calligraphy in what David Harris calls “square capitals” in his text The Calligrapher’s Bible. It dates to the 4th century. After I taught myself the hand, it was time to put pencil, ink, and gouache to pergamenata.

I started by drawing out the lines for the calligraphy and the block outlines of the images.

half lines for calligraphy, half blocks to mark the boundaries of the mosaic, pencil on pergamenata

After some practice on a piece of perg (I was previously practicing on artist paper, the difference is astounding, perg being a much smoother surface, the pen glides on it!) I then did the calligraphy with a dip pen.

The same document. The lines are now filled with calligraphy. It is Latin written in square capitals.

After the calligraphy was complete, I painted a practice piece on the same perg I practiced the calligraphy with most of the mosaic image; one peacock, the Queen’s arms and the A&S Champion’s badge, Sparky, the blue tiger, holding a lit candle. The faux tiling looked good, but the Queen’s arms looked absolutely awful. While I was debating what to do, the Sovereign’s Champion shared his progress with me. I noticed that he didn’t include the King’s arms on his document and knew exactly what to do. I decided to omit the Queen’s arms from my document. And I’m so glad I did.

I redid the pencil outline for the mosaic blocks and instantly felt confidant in the design choice. It was more balanced. It looked more like the hundreds of images of mosaics I poured over.

The same document. Now the blocks outlined for the mosaic are shifted with the center block being less wide, and the flanking blocks on left and right slightly wider.

I then traced the charges using my light pad. The document remained taped to the light pad until complete to alleviate any warping that might occur while painting. I do this with all my scrolls made with pergamenata.

The same document. Inside the blocks are now the outlines of the badge of the A&S Champion in center and peacocks flanking it

And added some guiding border detail.

The same document. lines added to the borders of the mosaic blocks

As to the technique for painting a mosaic style scroll, I drew process inspiration from Magistra Audrye Beneyt’s mosaic scroll for Gauis Claudius Valerianus, Her advice on this project was invaluable. The process is basically to paint in the broad swaths of not very well blended color and then go back with a particular color and paint each tiny little grout line. Thousands of tiny squares.

First I painted the background color.

The same document. The background of the three animal charges is painted yellow.

Then the border. I chose shades of blue to keep a very blue and gold East Kingdom populace colors theme and add unity between the peacocks, Sparky and the border.

The same document. The borders are painted in shades of blue, darkest on the outside and inside fading to white in the center.

Continuing with the blue, I painted Sparky and the peacocks.

The same document. Charges now have blue paint applied to Sparky (the A&S badge) and both peacock bodies with some blue details in their tail feathers

A dark brown for the peacock’s legs.

The same document. Dark brown paint added to the peacock legs

Some peachy pink feathers. The feathers are one block/tile high.

The same document. Peachy pink added to peacock tail feathers.

Then the darker red shades and other detail.

The same document. Dark red added to peacock tail feathers, greens and oranges added in small spots on the bird's body

Sparky’s tongue and the candle flame.

The same document. Detail of the Champions badge, the tongue and flame of the candle are now red.

And then I started the grout lines.

The same document. Detail of the left peacock with grouting lines starting to be applied in tiny squares

I finished one peacock.

The same document. Detail of left peacock with grouting complete. The peacock has a kind of grid laid over the image to mimic mosaic tiling

And continued on to Sparky.

The same document. Grout work has spread to the center charge of the Champions badge, a little more than 1/3 done
The same document. Detail showing the completed left peacock and central Champion's badge

And finally finished it.

The same document. It is now complete with grouting being painted over all tree charges/mosaic blocks.

My hearty congratulations to The Honorable Lady Ysabel da Costa, the new Queen’s Champion of Arts and Sciences. It was a privilege to create this award document.

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