A place for Drachenwald's scribes to hang out, learn, discuss and critique each others work.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

GoA for Dubhghall mac Ébhearáird

[Cross-posted from my C&I blog.]


It is always a pleasure to scrolls for heralds. It is always a pleasure to do scrolls for friends. When the recipient is both a herald and a friend? Even better. Dubhghall has served the Drachenwald College of Heralds for many years, and I was honored to be given the assignment of his Grant of Arms. The cool part is that since it is a GoA, I can use an actual GoA text for its intended purpose, instead of having to rewrite it to fit the requirements of other SCA awards. Furthermore, medieval GoAs were issued not by royalty but by the relevant principal herald or king of arms. As it so happens, I am currently the principal herald of Drachenwald, so I was able to adjust the text accordingly.

The bulk of the text was written Aug. 22 and reads:

To all present and to come who these present letters shall see or hear Aryanwy verch Cadvael alias Schwarzdrachen principal herald at arms of all parts of this Kingdom of Drachenwald greetings and love with humble recommendation. Equity will and right ordains that virtuous men and of noble courage be by their merits and reknown rewarded and not only their persons in this mortal life so brief and transitory but afterwards their memory and posterity likewise shall in all places have great honour and virtue before others both present and to come perpetually shining by certain and definite signs and demonstrations of honour and courtesy. To wit by blazon helmet and crest in order that they by their examples may all the sooner spur others again to force themselves perseveringly to use their days in deeds and feats of arms and virtuous and courageous works to gain the renown of that ancient courtesy in their lineage and posterity. And where that nobleness is once in the blood it may not be lost without too long continuance in sloth and vices: Also as Gaius Alammunius says That honest poverty takes away no part of nobleness, And the Doctor Bartholomew in his treatise of tokens of Arms says, If the arms be once ours they may in no wise be taken away from us. Whereby that which was most prudently devised in the beginning to stir and kindle the hearts of men to the imitation of virtue and nobleness, even so is the same continually observed to the end that such as have done commendable ser vice to their King, Prince or Baron whether in war or peace may receive due honour and reward in their lives as according to both law and custom. For this end I, the Schwarzdrachen Herald at Arms as above mentioned, have at the request, urging, and formal command by my Sovereigns Sven and Sio bhan king and queen of all the lands of Drachenwald from Frostheim in the north to Kalavirki in the West, from Adamestor in the South to Saint John of Rila in the east who having rightfully received the thrones from Thorvaldr and Tofa, who sat before them and received from Paul and Aryanhwy, who sat before them and received from Sven the fourth by that name and Siobhan the first, have not only by common renown but also by the witness and re port of noble and gentle men worthy of credence been truly informed, notified, apprised, and advised that Dougal MacEverard of the Barony of Aar nimetsä, companion of the Order of the Ring of Lindquist, gentleman who has for a long time followed feats of arms in [this] as well as in his other affairs and offices has carried himself valiantly and governed honourably, has thereby truly deserved and is worthy that henceforth perpetually he and afterwards his memory be in all places honourably admitted, renowned, accounted, numbered and received in the number and in the company of other former courteous and noble men and for this seeing as all these things also nobly and rightfully done, forthwith fulfill the earnest request and solemn entreaty of the said Sovereigns in this case, as right and reason will it, for the remembrance of this courtesy by virtue of the authority and po wer confirmed, ratified, and attributed to my office of Herald by the king and queen abovesaid truly advertise, announce, report, and declare that the aforenamed Sovereigns have ordained and assigned, and hereby grant to the said Dougal MacEvrart for him and him alone the blazon set down in the College of Arms in the following manner: To wit argent, a wolf rampant and in chief two roundels sable, as the picture in the margin shows it, to have and to hold for himself alone to invest for ever. Acting in due faith and fidelity on the will, power, and authority of my sovereigns and liege lords the most noble kings of Drachenwald aforementioned, I have drawn up the present letter by my own hand, and in witness whereof Sven and Siobhan the said king and queen have signed it with their hands. Given at Unikankare the vii of September in the year of the society xlviii, the iv month of our reign:

The text is composed from the 1492 grant of arms to Thomas Elyott and the 1480 to Christopher Brown.

The design is based on that of the grant to Thomas Barowe, 1477; I settled on this one on Aug. 24, then drew the layout, the lines, and the initial and shield. It's a A3 sheet with 5cm margins and .5cm lines (2+3).

Sun. Aug. 25 I began in earnest, starting with outlining the shield and the initial "T", in paint rather than with a pen as I often do. While working on it, I posted the following status to FB:

Working on the biggest scroll I've ever done: A3. That might not seem big to some, but my default calligraphy is "small" and so lends itself better to small scrolls. But this text has ~450 words, nearly twice the longest I've ever done, so I'll need all the space!

A few seconds later, the first person to "like" this status was the recipient, who, at that time, was still completely in the dark. Cue big grin!

Hesitant to do the gilding next, and still awaiting an emblazon of the arms from Robyn (since she is skilled with computer graphics and I do much better if I have something to trace), I then began the calligraphy during Gwen's nap. About 5 lines in, I realized I had way too little text, so I began changing duplicate to triplicate, triplicate to quadruplicate. Then Master Þorfinn from Lochac shared a link to an amazing Augmentation of Arms for Master Gwynford Lloyd that he'd done, and then very kindly sent me the text. His text was 800+ words, and I happily cribbed some nice turns of phrase from it, and decided to leave a larger gap at the bottom (maybe for a seal some day?) than planned. I did about 3.5 hours of calligraphy that day, until I reached the recipient's name and my hand cried "stop". Aug. 26, I completed the calligraphy in another 1.5 hours. There are only four egregious typos: three duplicated/misplaced words, and one that was omitted altogether. All other typos involved transpose letters, or spelling "renown" with a k ("reknown"), a misspelling which plagues me regularly. Not bad out of 713 words!

I drew and painted the arms on Aug. 27. For the arms, I used one of the wolves in the Pennsic Traceable Art Project. Last was putting down the gold size and then the gold leaf. That took up (not counting the waiting time for the size to cure) about 1.5 hours, so all told, this scroll took about 7 hours to complete.

The gilding process was rather fraught, and there was a brief period of ACK! when this happened:


Thank goodness for Ari who walked me through how to clean it up, and then cautioned me to set it aside and finish cleaning the edges the next day. Aug. 28 I spent about 20 min. cleaning it up, and erasing pencil lines, and reached a point where I'm sure someone with more facility with gold could probably do better but I'm going to stop now because otherwise I think I'd make it worse.

I am very happy with this scroll. It's certainly in my top 5 of ones that I've done, and it's coming very close to vying for #1.

© 2013, Sara L. Uckelman.


Genevieve la flechiere said...

It has a splendid, massive effect - WHUMP you've been hit by a serious document. :-)

Do you have any closeups of your calligraphy? esp the first line with the cadels?

Which ink did you use? It looks pale, but I know one of my oak gall inks goes on pale and gets darker w/ time.

Ari said...

Hey. Don't "thank goodness" for me--I've got an image to uphold! :)

Sara / Aryanhwy said...

I've got a 3000x4000 pixel version of the scroll somewhere, I'm sure I can get a closer look at the upper cadels. The ink is an iron gall ink (I think) that Margaret de Mey picked me up at Pennsic a few years ago, which is incredibly light, so it has a splash of ordinary fountain pen blank ink in it.