Medieval heraldry book recommendations
Hello,

I am building a late 13th early 14th century shield and will have to paint it at some point. I'm looking for a good reference for medieval heraldic designs. Is Terence Wise a good source for this information:
http://www.amazon.com/Medieval-Heraldry-Men-a...0850453488

Right now I'm thinking of a design emphasizing the wild boar. It's a surly, invasive animal, very intelligent, a fighter and survivor. It's the only common American game animal that will charge a human hunter, and it's so tough that it continues to extend its range even in the face of modern efforts to destroy it. Also it likes to eat a lot and doesn't mind getting dirty. All admirable qualities in my opinion. Definitely a good animal to have on a fighting shield.

Would appreciate any other recommendations for heraldry references.
Hi.

A useful link for ideas is http://cheshire-heraldry.org.uk/index.html : loads of Arms from the 16th & 17th century rolls. Some of these are quite complex from multiple marriages but it gives some impression of the possibilities.

For the Law of Arms, or heraldic rules, Basic Heraldry is quite a good introduction http://www.amazon.co.uk/Basic-Heraldry-John-F...c+heraldry

Also, Discovering Heraldry http://www.amazon.co.uk/Discovering-Heraldry-...g+heraldry

Basic has some examples of medieval Arms, but both are more of an introduction to what can and cannot be permitted.

I had not seen the Osprey title until now but see a scathing review on amazon uk.

And, regards your own ideas, I think a (white) boar would be hugely topical and appropriate, with Richard III's 'funeral' at the end of this month. From what I have seen, boars can be complete and appropriately statant or just a head, couped, or three.

Enjoy making something but remember that the more complex it is, the harder it is to paint onto the shield!


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Last edited by Jonathan Fletcher on Wed 11 Mar, 2015 12:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
This could be helpful: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/41617/41617-h/41617-h.htm
You can find a lot of good material for free online, certainly enough to start with.

That said... some years back I picked up a second hand copy of Heraldry: Customs, Rules and Styles by Carl-Alexander von Volborth at an auction, and it seems like a good enough introductory reference.
Jonathan Fletcher wrote:
Enjoy making something but remember that the more complex it is, the harder it is to paint onto the shield!

And also harder to identify quickly and/or from a distance, which kinda defeats the whole purpose of it. :)
Go to original sources, not later re-drawings.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rolls_of_arms

Avoid any impressions that are not from the period you are looking at. Heraldic artists like to over complicate things, differencing all over the place and a tendency to make things a bit more 'spikey'.

Most early medieval heraldry, especially the beasts, look weird to our eyes but not to the people at the time. The von Brienze shield for example, although much earlier than your era, looks pretty weird to anyone when compared to 'modern' lion herladry but that's what they did.

You are still in a time when heraldry was not entirely tightly controlled and proscribed iconographically. The College of Arms was not yet fully incorporated although they undoubtedly controlled granting of arms but a design done by one artists may be very different to someone elses interpretation.

The Osprey book... naahhhh much better about!
What's complicated about this?....


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Not sure how a Herald would describe the drop-shadow JF! :-)
Thanks everyone for the recommendations. You've given me a great starting point.

Jonathan Fletcher wrote:
Hi.

And, regards your own ideas, I think a (white) boar would be hugely topical and appropriate, with Richard III's 'funeral' at the end of this month. From what I have seen, boars can be complete and appropriately statant or just a head, couped, or three.

Enjoy making something but remember that the more complex it is, the harder it is to paint onto the shield!


Your shield looks great Jonathan. Very nice choice of contrasting colors. I wonít be done with mine any time soon, certainly not by the coronation! Right now I am thinking of some combo of dark teal, gold and cream for colors. Maybe gold boars on teal field.

That raises another question about medieval colors. Are there any shield colors which I should avoid because the dyes did not yet exist by the mid 14th century? I don't mind using modern paints but I donít want to pick totally unrealistic colors.
First you need to understand the difference between dyes and paint.

2 totally different things. If you are choosing a design from a period source then what colours are used will be the same as, apart from a small difference in the medium that carries the pigment and the unsuitability of some, the pigments are the same.

Cream isn't a herladic colour. Think primary colours so that makes it either white or yellow. But they also represent metals (gold and silver) so you cant have them both together. Teal isn't a colour, its a duck....

The English colours (known as Tinctures) are

Red
Purple
Green
Blue
Black
White/Silver (which could be white, or real silver)
Yellow/Gold (again could be real gold)

And that's your lot.

[/u]
Cant get clearer than this fellow

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tincture_%28heraldry%29

don't forget the furs.....
Mark Griffin wrote:
Cant get clearer than this fellow

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tincture_%28heraldry%29

don't forget the furs.....


Thanks for the explanation of the tincture rules and primary colors, it's very helpful. Were the rules of heraldry - like no metal on metal - fully codified by the mid-1300s which is my period of interest?

Also I should clarify I'm not looking to duplicate a particular shield of a specific knight of that period. I do want to create a plausible design that follows the conventions of the time.
I'd say by the period you are looking at you'd have to search very hard to find an abnormality.Things were pretty codified by mid 1300's as by then it wasn't just a simple shape on a one colour field, things were getting pretty complicated so I think the 'rules' are pretty much set.

A lot of the time if you break the rules things just look as bit weird anyway. There is artistic sensibility in the rules in many respects.
Quote:
Your shield looks great Jonathan. Very nice choice of contrasting colors.


Thanks and very kind of you to say. The Lord Lyon, who Grants Arms in Scotland, was very accommodating in allowing me to have my preferences with the design of the Arms, with the exception that I had to include the cross flory. I understand Arms of identical surnames in Scotland must include a common charge, in the case of Fletcher, a cross flory: I believe this a peculiarity of Scottish Arms.

Hopefully you can see that the Law of Arms is quite fascinating! As Mark suggests, if you stick to the rules, you will come up with something that looks and feels right.
On a side note,

The choice of the wild boar for the blazon is actually very apt.

The surly, intelligent, and very invasive wild boar (also called "feral hogs") here in the United States is, indeed, the Eurasian Wild Boar. The same wild boar that was hunted for sport and food in the Middle Ages, and the same wild boar admired for its tenacity by Eurasian peoples for millennia.
I would recommend Heraldry by Henry Paston-Bedingfeld and Peter Gwynn-Jones, with this extract from a customer review
Quote:
What makes this oversize volume different from all the other illustration-rich heraldry books on the market is its authorship: Henry Bedingfeld is Rouge Croix Pursuivant and Pete Gwynn-Jones is Lancaster Herald, both of them full-time practicing heralds at the College of Arms in London under the authority of the Duke of Norfolk, who is also Earl Marshal of England and therefore responsible for grants of arms.


http://www.amazon.com/Heraldry-Henry-Paston-B...0862882796

Cheers.

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