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In Memoriam: Mistress Laura Hawkwood

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2016-04-14 15:02

Mistress Laura Hawkwood (also known as Laura de Segovia), 43rd Laurel of the East, passed away in Carolingia on Tuesday, April 12th. She was awarded arms in AS X at the coronation of Alaric and Yseult, and was one of only 14 inductees into the now closed Order of Fatima, which honored illustrious clothiers and seamstresses. (She also helped design the badge for this order, as well as the badge for the Queen’s Order of Courtesy which is still in use today.) In AS XX, she was recognized as a companion of the Order of the Moon by the Baron of Carolingia for her achievements in the arts which further the progress of those arts in the Barony of Carolingia. She was a founder of House Silverwing, and active in the heraldic community.

Her obituary is available on-line here.

Filed under: Tidings Tagged: barony of carolingia, Carolingia, in memoriam, obit, obituary

Event Report: The Coronation of Byron and Ariella

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2016-04-14 12:06

As you may know, our new monarchs are deeply rooted in the culture of late 14th century England. Their home is based on Bodiam Castle, which was built in 1385, and their personae “live” in that year. They wished to have as authentic a Coronation ceremony as possible, and so they turned to Master Steffan ap Kennydd of the East Kingdom for assistance. Master Steffan designed the German Coronation ceremony for Duke Maynard and Duchess Liadain three years ago, and has adapted period ceremonies for monarchs from numerous kingdoms around the Known World. For Byron and Ariella, he began with the “Liber Regalis,” originally used for the Coronation of Richard II of England in 1367. In collaboration with then-Prince and Princess Byron and Ariella, he adapted the ceremony to suit SCA customs and traditions. The result was a Coronation ceremony that incorporated many actual lines of dialog from the source ceremony, along with appropriate choral music of the time period, and featured elements that enhanced the sense of actually being in 14th century England. Many of the gentles in attendance remarked on how moving the Coronation was. In addition, the mood was aided by some modern technology. The photos in our report show the hall having stone walls and large stained glass windows, but in reality it has plain white walls and no windows. The illusion was created by a projection system, with assistance from the autocrat, THLord Thomas LeStrange, and Danielle DePalma of Unity Community Church. Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope reports on this unique ceremony and the event where it was held.

Some unseasonal light snow overnight on Friday and into the day on Saturday slowed or deterred some travelers, especially those who had to cross mountain paths, but on the morning of April 9th, the Last Court of the Imperatori, Tindal and Etain, commenced only slightly behind schedule.

The Augustus and Augusta processed in wearing garments that came as a breathtaking surprise: instead of Their usual Romano-Celtic clothing, They and Their children wore beautiful 16th century German outfits with puffs and slashes in green, black, and white.

Photo by Duchess Siobhán inghean uí Liatháin.

The Imperatori gave Their last awards, which included Sigils for Their children in thanks for their excellent behavior throughout the reign, and Court Baronies to Meisterin Felicity Flußmüllnerin and her husband, Lord Fridrich Flußmüllner, for their constant service during Their time on the thrones. They also made THLady Beatrix Krieger a Court Baroness for her service as Captain of the Queen’s Guard.

THLady Beatrix is made a Court Baroness. Photo by Duchess Siobhán inghean uí Liatháin.

Meisterin Felicity and Lord Fridrich receive Court Baronies. Photo by Duchess Siobhán.

Next, the Imperatori joyfully called Maestro Bastiano di Iacopo forth to be elevated to the Order of Defense. Maestro Bastiano was commended by Master Iago Benitez speaking for the Pelicans and the Order of Defense, Master Quinn Kerr on behalf of the Laurels, and Duke Timothy of Arindale on behalf of the Chivalry and Royal Peers. A coat with the insignia of his new rank was placed upon his shoulders, and he received the ancestral livery collar from the hand of Master Anias Fenne, as well as a personal collar from Master Iago. The populace greeted the new Master of Defense with great cheers.

Master Bastiano is elevated to the Order of Defense. Photo by Duchess Siobhan.

Prince Thomas Byron of Haverford then came forward to remind the Imperatori that “Times Change” and warn that Vandals and Visigoths threatened the doorsteps of the realm, requiring new leadership. The Augustus asked if Prince Byron’s claim to the throne was just, to which the Kingdom Seneschal, Duke Christopher Rawlins, the Silver Buccle Herald, Master Kameshima Zentarou Umekai, and the one of the Ministers of the Lists who presided over the Crown Tournament in Misty Highlands last October, Baroness Aemelia Soteria, all confirmed that it was. Seeing that all was in order, Augustus Tindal asked Prince Byron to allow Him time to set His affairs in order. The Imperatori thanked Their guard and retainers and dismissed them, then called for Prince Byron to claim the crown.

Prince Byron and Princess Ariella, clad in gold, white, and red brocade garments with deeply dagged sleeves, processed into the hall under a canopy borne by eight gentles, each representing one of the Grant-level orders of the Kingdom, to the choir chanting Firmetur Manus Tua, (Let thine arm be strengthened, and thy right hand be exalted. Righteousness and equity are the habitation of thy seat: mercy and truth shall go before thy face).

Canopies borne by members of each of the Kingdom Grant Orders. Photo by Master Fridrikr Tomasson.

The Prince and Princess were accompanied by four Knights as their escort. Princess Ariella entered with her long blonde hair flowing loose down her back, as was customary for a Queen at her Coronation. Upon reaching the dais, Prince Byron prostrated himself before the thrones in prayer while Princess Ariella knelt to do likewise. Augustus Tindal then bade Byron rise, saying “If thou be made the master, lift not thyself up, but be among them as one of the rest.” The Prince was assisted in rising by Sir Koredono and Viscount Bear.

Prince Byron prostrates himself before the thrones while Princess Ariella kneels in prayer. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.

After affirming to the Crown and the Silver Buccle Herald that They were ready to assume the burden of the crown, Prince Byron and Princess Ariella were turned to face the populace. The Silver Buccle Herald asked the populace if it would be ruled by them, to which the assembled gentles responded heartily with “Aye!” and “So be it!”

Byron and Ariella are presented to the populace. Photo by Duchess Siobhán.

The Prince and Princess were then asked to swear on the book of the Kingdom Laws that they would protect and defend the Kingdom, its laws, and its customs. They further promised to defend the people of the realm, whether rich or poor, to honor the peers and barons, and to dispense justice to Their people. Duke Christopher Rawlins, Seneschal of Æthelmearc, enjoined them to be wise and just rulers.

Duke Christopher addresses the Prince and Princess. Photo by Duchess Siobhán.

The Imperatori then removed the crowns of Æthelmearc from their brows. Augustus Tindal placed the crown upon Byron’s head and named Him King.

Tindal crowns Byron as King, Photo by Master Augusto.

Augusta Etain gave the Queen’s crown into King Byron’s hands, and He crowned His lady wife, Ariella, as Queen.

Byron crowns Ariella Queen. Photo by Master Fridrikr Tomasson.

The new King and Queen were escorted to the thrones by Tindal and Etain, who then departed to the cheers of the populace and the choir singing Alle Psallite Cum Luya.

The choir performing for the Coronation ceremony. Photo by Master Fridrikr Tomasson.

Their Majesties, Byron and Ariella, then gave Their crowns into the keeping of Their pages and knelt before the Silver Buccle Herald, who anointed Them with water from the River Thames in remembrance of the lands of Their ancestors and as a reminder to rule wisely and well, after which the Crowns were once again placed on Their heads.

Queen Ariella is anointed with water from the River Thames. Photo by Duchess Siobhán.

Duke Duncan von Halstern, King’s Champion, brought forth the Sword of State, which King Byron drew as the Silver Buccle Herald advised Him to use the sword in defense of the poor and those in need, and only in a righteous cause. His Majesty returned the sword to His Grace, saying ” I place this naked sword in your hand, that seeing it, the people will know that I will faithfully do all that I have promised.”

King Byron returns the sword to His Champion. Photo by Master Augusto.

The new King and Queen were invested with the symbols of Their new estate, presented to Them by various peers of the realm: armills of sincerity and wisdom, rings of royal dignity, the scepter of virtue and equity, and mantles of royal estate. The Kingdom Seneschal once again admonished them to be good sovereigns, and to support and protect Their people. The choir chanted the Roll of Kings and Queens of Æthelmearc, honoring all those who have borne the weight of the Crowns in days past, and adding the names of Byron and Ariella.

Their Majesties watch as the choir sings the Roll of Kings and Queens. Photo by Master Augusto.

The King and Queen next called for Their children. Their eldest son and Heir, Joshua of the Debatable Lands, was away on crusade, but Their daughter Leah and son Ian joined them on the dais. King Byron noted that, in ancient days, the sons of the King were known as Æthelings, and therefore instructed Ian that he and his brother would be known as Joshua Ætheling and Ian Ætheling for the duration of Their reign. His Majesty then turned toward His daughter, Leah, and pondered what title was appropriate for her. After entreating the populace for suggestions, He concluded that she could only be… Princess Leah! This caused some merriment among the populace as well as with the new Princess Royal.

Their Majesties with Ian Ætheling and Princess Leah. Photo by Lady Silence de Cherbourg.

Their Majesties next summoned Their Predecessors, Tindal and Etain, and recognized their rightful titles of Duke and Duchess of Æthelmearc and the Society. Mistress Felicity with Baroness Helene and a group of ladies then invested Duchess Etain with a cloak stitched with roses, and Their Graces departed to their estates.

Tindal and Etain are invested as Duke and Duchess. Photo by Duchess Siobhán.

King Byron and Queen Ariella accepted the fealty of Their Great Officers, then of each Barony in turn, and then of the peerage orders: Knights, Laurels, Pelicans, and Masters of Defense, as well as the Royal Peers. Likewise, They call forward Their retainers to swear their fealty.

Click to view slideshow.

Then Their Majesties summoned Their Royal Herald, Bryheres Gwendolyn the Graceful, and with Master Kameshima, the Silver Buccle Herald, invested her with the title of Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald, receiving her promise to serve Them faithfully as Royal Court Herald for the duration of Their reign.

Bryheres Gwendolyn the Graceful is made Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

The Silver Buccle Herald presented Their Majesties to the populace as their true and rightful monarchs, to which the populace responded “Long Live the King! Long Live the Queen! Ad Gloriam Æthelmearc!” Their Majesties then departed court to the sounds of the choir singing Gloria.

King Byron and Queen Ariella. Photo by Lady Silence.

After a break for a sideboard lunch consisting of fish, mushrooms pies, fruits, and bread, Their Majesties sat in state while various artisans placed items on display for the enjoyment of the populace. Numerous gentles offered fealty, congratulations, or gifts to Their Majesties, including a small group of pilgrims who sang several new songs from the Red Book of Montserrat.

Pilgrimage singers offer their music to the new King and Queen. Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Meanwhile, the most determined fighters and fencers braved the cold and even some light snow to do combat. Lord Boden the Lost won the heavy weapons tournament, while Doña Emily of Dunvegan won the fencing tournament in a tiebreaker against Don Lodovic, thereby gaining a short black velvet cape of the style worn over the shoulder by 16th century dandies,  crafted by Countess Elena d’Artois as the tournament’s prize.

Click to view slideshow.

Slide show of A&S Display entries.

In the evening, Their Majesties held their First Court as King and Queen. It began with the King’s Champion, Duke Duncan, casting his gauntlet to the floor in challenge to any who would contest the right of Byron and Ariella to rule. No challenge was made, and court continued.

Their Majesties bestowed many awards on deserving gentles, including Awards of Arms on several worthy members of the Shire of Gryffyn’s Keep, hosts of the event, as well as Sycamores and Keystones. Notable were the elevation of Lady Alimé bint Yorgi to the Millrind for her many years of service to numerous groups around the western regions of Æthelmearc, Countess Rosalinda of Castile to the White Horn for her skill in thrown weapons, and Duchess Siobhán inghean uí Liatháin to the Fleur d’Æthelmearc for her Finnish spiral beadwork.

Grant-level awards given at court. Click a photo above to see them as a slide show.

Finally, King Byron and Queen Ariella summoned Duke Timothy of Arindale before them. They asked him how long he had lived in Æthelmearc, to which he responded that he had been here for 5 years. His Majesty mused on the impact that His Grace has had on the Kingdom in such a short time, teaching, inspiring, and rallying heavy fighters to train harder and become a unified force on the battlefield, as well as encouraging gentles of all interests, from archers to artisans, to strive and achieve greatness. Their Majesties then called forth the Order of the Pelican and asked if they would have Duke Timothy numbered among them, to which there was a resounding “Aye!” His Grace received a Writ of Summons for the Pelican to be answered at a date of his choosing.

Duke Timothy receives a Writ for the Pelican. Photo by Master Augusto.

Their Majesties announced that, after due consideration, Æthelmearc will fight on the side of the East Kingdom at Pennsic 45.

After some additional announcements, including a request for assistance in creating Queen’s Favors for SCA 50 year and Pennsic, court was concluded.

A feast of three removes, cooked by Maestra Tomasia da Collavento and her staff, featured dishes ranging from whole chickens to mushroom and onion pies, pasta, venison, meatballs, and a variety of sweets. At the end of the feast Maestra Tomasia particularly commended two gentles who were attending their first event and had spent the entire day assisting in the kitchen.

High table at the feast. Photo by Lady Catalina.

The day complete, gentles wended their way homeward through a night that was cold but no longer snowy, with pleasant memories of a Coronation filled with beauty and camaraderie.

The Royal Family: Ian Ætheling, King Byron, Queen Ariella, Princess Leah, and Joshua Ætheling. Photo by Lady Catalina.

Categories: SCA news sites

Viking treasure pokes finder in Denmark

History Blog - Thu, 2016-04-14 03:45

Søren Bagge had only been metal detecting for a couple of months in August of 2015. With no particular expertise, he picked a field near Lille Karleby on the Hornsherred peninsula of Zealand, Denmark, to scan just because he happened to have grown up nearby and so could easily stop at home for coffee breaks. The first couple of days he found a few Arabic silver coins. The next signal from his metal detector was weak too, but when he dug into the top soil, he found a small silver cup. He’d felt something pointy stabbing him as he was digging up the cup, so he suspected there was more to be found in the spot and rushed to alert the Roskilde Museum.

It was the weekend, though, and nobody was around to pursue his lead. Bagge put the cup back where he found it and reburied it to keep it safe until Monday. On Monday Roskilde Museum archaeologists did a small excavation on the spot. About a foot below the surface they encountered multiple artifacts and realized they had a Viking hoard on their hands. They removed the entire lot in a soil block to excavate it with careful deliberation in laboratory conditions.

Before excavating the soil block, archaeologists took it to Roskilde Hospital where it was CT scanned in the Radiology unit. The scan showed there were a great many artifacts encased in that soil block. It gave archaeologists a blueprint of how to proceed. There is video of the block’s arrival at the hospital and the scan. This video is in Danish, but you don’t have to understand what they’re saying to appreciate the excitement of the CT reveal.

The excavation revealed an exceptional treasure of 392 pieces. The silver cup Bagge found was one of two. There were 53 gilt bronze and silver pendants, more than 300 beads made of glass, amber, rock crystal and silver, 18 Arabic and Western European coins, a braided silver chain, a bracelet or arm ring with five smaller rings attached, elaborately decorated pieces from France, Eastern Europe and Ireland or Scotland. Some of the objects of Scandinavian manufacture were already antiques when they were buried in the second half of the 10th century.

I hesitate to play favorites with so many beautiful and important pieces, but the large ball penannular brooch, also known as a thistle brooch, is breathtaking. Penannular brooches were relatively common in the Viking era, but nothing like this one has been found in Denmark before. It’s Irish or Scottish and was made in the 10th century. It’s called a thistle brooch because it is decorated with three spheres in the shaving brush shape of the thistle bud. The brooch is large — 10 inches long — with a wicked long pin. It was that pin which poked at Søren Bagge when he was digging.

These large brooches were worn by elite men, high-ranking clerics and royal family members, with the pin facing upwards. There was a law on the books in Scotland that provided compensation for people who were accidentally stuck by long-pins. In a little historical irony, the reason the thistle is the national emblem of Scotland is that, according to legend, a barefoot Norse invader stepped on a thistle during an attempted nighttime raid on a Scottish army encampment. His cries of pain warned the Scots that the Vikings were coming and Scottish forces successfully repulsed the attack.

Another impressive import/pillaged piece in the hoard is a trefoil strap mount with acanthus decoration. This was a Frankish design which would later be copied in Scandinavia, only the Norse usually put stylized animal designs or geometric shapes inside the three leaves rather than the French acanthus motif. The French used trefoils as fittings on a sword strap. The Vikings converted them into a jewelry — belt buckles, brooches — and they’re usually discovered in women’s graves where there are no swords or any other weapons, for that matter. The Frankish style dates the piece to between the late 8th century and the 10th century.

Seven hollow silver beads in the hoard are of both Scandinavian and Slavic origin. The six largest, most elaborate beads decorated with rich filigree and showing the remains of gilding were probably manufactured in Poland or West Russia in the 9th or 10th century. They are very rare finds in Scandinavia. The seventh bead, on the other hand, is rounder with a silver spiral applique’ that is more typical of Scandinavian beads.

The bracelet or arm-ring with the rings attached is certainly a Scandinavian piece. The four smaller rings are closed with a knot, and the fifth and smallest ring is threaded through a heavy silver bead. The rings would have clinked together and chimed when the wearer moved her arm. Archaeologists think the design might represent Odin’s dwarf-forged gold ring, Draupnir (“the dripper” in Old Norse), which “dripped” eight rings of equal weight to the original every ninth night. In Norse mythology, it’s a symbol of fertility and prosperity.

As for the silver cup that started all of this, it and its companion are different. One is decorated with triangle designs close to the lip. One is plain. The decorated one is bigger and heavier than the plain one. Both were likely drinking goblets for the upper echelons of Norse society. Other Viking hoards also include silver cups, one larger and more ornamented than the other. Archaeologists think the uneven sets may have been used during important banquets or festivals where the honored guest would get to use the fancier cup and the host would take the plainer one. The style of the cups indicate they were made between 700 and 1000, but since the treasure was buried up to 50 or so years before the latter date, we can shave a few years off of that broad estimate.

The treasure went on display at the Roskilde Museum in December and is now in the National Museum for further study.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Call For Donations To SCA 50 Volunteers

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2016-04-13 13:14

Attention, Talented Artisans of the Society for Creative Anachronism

In the Society for Creative Anachronism, we are a collective of volunteers, each serving in their own way at one point or another so that all may have a chance to play, enjoy, learn and have fun. It is on this mantra that the SCA has gone on for 50 years now, and shall continue to do so.

As we Celebrate 50 Years of the Society, many of our SCA family will be considering attending the SCA 50 Year Celebration Event, June 17th through the 27th of this year and many of them will be giving their time and service to the event, staffing the Gate, serving on the Watch, Marshalling the Lists.

We wish to show appreciation to the Volunteers who give of themselves, from the newest member giving their first hour of service to the Multi-Peer who serves alongside that newest member. The Society works because our Volunteers continue to turn the wheels and drive us forward to fun, adventure, knowledge and my personal favorites, Family and Friendship.

Everyone who volunteers on site during the event will receive a ticket for each hour they serve. These tickets can be dropped into boxes that will labeled with the items you’ve donated: items that our volunteers would proudly use or displayed long after the event is over.

And Artisans, this is where you are most needed. We come seeking donations from the Amazingly Talented populace of the Known World: we are asking you to please consider donating handmade items that people would Buy/Trade/Commission for themselves.
No matter your rank, Laurel or student; professional craftsperson or astonishingly talented amateur: we’re asking all of you to help us recognize the volunteers in service to the Society’s 50th Year Celebration. Please, put forth your beautiful work to be a cherished gift for a Volunteer.

If you’re considering a specialized item (something that must be custom sized or fit, for instance) or you aren’t sure how to submit it to the cause, please contact my Coordinator, THL Justice McArtain, at justice.napier@gmail.com
All donations can be mailed to His Lordship Justice ahead of the Event or delivered at the SCA 50 Year Celebration Event if you are attending.

To Donate, or if you have any additional questions, simply email the following details to justice.napier@gmail.com

  • SCA Title and Name
  • Mundane Name
  • Item to be Donated
  • To be mailed or delivered at 50 Year
  • Mailing Address
  • Any additional information / description of your item you wish to include (including pictures of our work if it’s a ‘after raffle’ item.

As a thank you to everyone who contributes, His Lordship Justice will be doing a raffle of his own.
Two artists will be drawn to receive a Gift Card each to get more supplies (or whatever you want to do with the money).
We thank you for your time and hope that you will reach out to offer your talent to support the Volunteers who give of theirs for this once in a lifetime Event.


In Service,

Herr Alexander Adelbrecht von Markelingen

SCA 50 Year Celebration – Volunteer Relations Coordinator


Shared by request of the author.  Original post may be found at the Midrealm Gazette


Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: SCA 50 Year

The Battle of Clontarf, Barony of the Endless Hills, April 30, 2016

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2016-04-13 12:20
The Battle of Clontarf in the Barony of the Endless Hills Barony of the Endless Hills, April 30, 2016

On April 23, 1014, at first light, the battle of Clontarf began, and by sunset, between 7,000 and 10,000 men were dead and the history of Ireland was changed forever.  Much of Irish lore still holds that the Battle of Clontarf freed the Irish from foreign domination.

On April 30, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. (slightly later than first light), the third Battle of Clontarf will begin in the Barony of the Endless Hills, and by 7:00 p.m. (a bit before sunset), warriors and spectators alike will make their way home from a day of fighting and fun.

Do you like fighting with rattan?  We have it!

Do you like fencing?  We have it!

Do you like archery?  We have it!

Is thrown weapons more your speed?  We have it!

Do you prefer the elegance and beauty of A&S?  We have it!

Perhaps you just prefer to relax around friends and enjoy delicious food?  We absolutely have it!!!!

For those who have a penchant for martial activities, Clontarf will be hosting fencing tournaments run by Lord Alain Piat.  Baron Murdock Bayne will be running a heavy tournament of honor which will include a procession and presentation to give up-and-coming fighters an opportunity to learn what they’ll experience if and when they fight for crown.

Baron Verdi and Baroness Fiona will be choosing their Baronial A/S champion at Clontarf, so all are invited (and encouraged) to bring their A&S projects to show off.

Archery is also on the schedule, as well as thrown weapons.

And, if that wasn’t sufficient enticement, Baron Perote Campbell will again be preparing a sumptuous dayboard for attendees.

There may be other events at the far ends of the Kingdom, but none where you will be made as welcome and appreciated as the Barony of the Endless Hill’s Battle of Clontarf.  For details and other information, please contact Lord Cormacc mac Gilla Brigde.

Click here for the Kingdom Event Info Page

Article and photos by Lady Christina Mary Lowe


Categories: SCA news sites

Coronation Thanks from Their Majesties

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2016-04-13 08:28

Unto the people of Æthelmearc, and all those who read these words, do Byron and Ariella, King and Queen of Sylvan Æthelmearc, Send Greetings.

Words of Thanks and Praise are due to all those gentles who assisted in making Our Coronation the most glorious Day, the most Medieval Day, of our time in the Society.

First, to the Shire of Gryffyn’s Keep: You came together and created a venue that was unparalleled. I think that everyone who sat in that sanctuary will remember the spectacle for years to come. Although the weather wasn’t the most cooperative, everything else seemed perfect. The site, the staff’s courtesy, the food and table setting, the scheduling and communication: they were all we could have hoped for. It was clear that the people of the Shire had put in a wholehearted effort that made the event a success.

But particular Thanks are due to our autocrat, the good and Honorable Lord Thomas LeStrange. We called him to Us, and told him of Our need, and he responded in the most Noble of ways, creating a day that will always be a source of pride and pleasure for Us. Even as Thomas spreads his thanks to those that served, he speaks for Us, and Our thanks go with his.

The site token from the Coronation of Byron and Ariella, designed by Master Duncan Blackwater. It measures ~1.5″ in diameter.

We would note a special Thanks to Master Duncan Blackwater, who designed the site tokens. They were the most amazing, most medieval site tokens that We have ever received at an SCA event. If any gentle has the token of the Day, and has not yet compared it to the original coin of Edward III, take a moment and look at them side by side.

Our Thanks, and the Thanks of all Æthelmearc, are given to Master Steffan ap Kennydd of the East Kingdom, for his knowledge of medieval coronation ceremonies was the cornerstone of Our Coronation. We advise all gentles in Our Kingdom and abroad to receive him with honors, as he is a man of depth and learning. The details of the Coronation ceremony have been freely published online, and we hope to have video soon to match.

Also critical to Our Ceremony was the Choir, led by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope. The singing (in Latin) of the Roll of Kings and Queens was a lovely addition that brought tears to many eyes.

To all those who participated in the Ceremony, as Escorts, Heralds, Order representatives, or Pages, We thank you. Know that 600 years ago, those same words were spoken, and those same steps trod, by those we try to emulate in our Society. To Our reign staff, retainers, and guards, we know that the wonderful Service you rendered Us this Day will continue throughout Our Reign.

And to those who braved the cold and snow to witness Our ascension to the Sylvan Thrones, we thank you as well. We hope that the memory is precious to you, as it is so very much to Us.

Byron, Rex AEthelmearc

Ariella, Regina AEthelmearc

King Byron and Queen Ariella. Photo by Duchess Siobhán inghean uí Liatháin.

Categories: SCA news sites

Was a lost Caravaggio found in an attic in France?

History Blog - Wed, 2016-04-13 05:21

A leaky roof may be responsible for the rediscovery of a long-lost Caravaggio masterpiece. In the attempt to reach the leaking roof of a 17th century house outside Toulouse, in April of 2014 the homeowners broke through a door in the attic that they had never noticed was there. Behind the door was an oil painting depicting the Biblical heroine Judith beheading Assyrian general Holofernes while her begoitered maid Abra holds open a bag in which his head will be placed. It was covered in dust but otherwise in excellent condition. The family called in local auctioneer Marc Labarde to assess the painting. He cleaned the white film of grime off the face of the maid with cotton balls and water and identified it as a 17th century painting from the school of Caravaggio.

Labarde called in friend and Old Master expert Eric Turquin to examine it further. Turquin spent two years cleaning, conserving and studying the painting. He had it X-rayed and analyzed with infrared reflectography. He found key elements characteristic of Caravaggio’s work: great speed of execution, bold, secure brushstrokes and, because Caravaggio never made preparatory sketches first, changes done midstream to the positioning of Holofernes’ right hand and Judith’s face. Two Caravaggio experts examined the painting and agreed with Turquin that it was the original work lost almost 400 years ago. Another determined it was a copy, albeit a very good one.

Caravaggio painted an earlier Judith Beheading Holofernes (1598–99) which is now part of the collection of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica in the Palazzo Barberini in Rome. He made the second in Naples during the first decade of the 17th century. We know of its existence because Frans Pourbus the Younger, a Flemish painter at the Gonzaga court in Mantua, wrote about it in a letter to his boss, Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua. Dated September 15th, 1607, the letter noted that Caravaggio’s Madonna of the Rosary, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, was for sale in Naples for 400 ducats. Pourbus also mentioned seeing another Caravaggio painting, a Judith and Holofernes, for sale.

What he didn’t tell Gonzaga was that both works were owned by a good friend of his, Flemish artist Louis Finson. The Duke was unwilling to spend 400 ducats on one Madonna, because a few years later Finson took it to Amsterdam with him. Finson also took Judith Beheading Holofernes to Amsterdam. Both Caravaggio works are listed in his will, but after his death in 1617, the Madonna was acquired by a consortium of artists including Peter Paul Rubens for a church in Antwerp while Judith disappears from the historical record.

Caravaggio was very famous in his lifetime, and while he never had a literal school or workshop with students like other masters did, he had followers who copied his works and painted pieces of their own that were heavily influenced by Caravaggio’s style. Louis Finson was one of the first Flemish Caravaggisti, as the followers were known, as was Rubens. Finson lived in Naples in the early 17th century when Caravaggio was there too. He owned several of Caravaggio’s original works and copied others. The Finson version of Judith Beheading Holofernes was considered a very faithful copy and since the original was lost, for close to 400 years, Finson’s copy was the only extant image of the work. Finson didn’t take it to Amsterdam and it is now on display in the Palazzo Zevallos Stigliano in Naples.

The French government has placed an export ban on the painting which means it cannot leave the country for 30 months. This will give experts plenty of time to study the work in greater detail, and will give French museums the opportunity to tap potential donors for the astronomical sum — something in the $130 million range — required to buy the work should it prove to be an authentic Caravaggio. As a contemporary copy of some quality, Louis Finson’s version will play an important role in the authentication process. One expert believes the newly discovered work is in fact another copy by Finson.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Unique Pictish Stone on display at Elgin Museum

History Blog - Tue, 2016-04-12 04:27

Three years have passed since Andy Johnstone broke a plough on a 1,500-pound Pictish Symbol Stone in a field in Dandaleith, near Craigellachie in northeastern Scotland. Landowner Mr. Robinson reported the find to the Aberdeenshire Council Archaeology Service (ACAS) and its experts determined the stone is Class I, the earliest type of symbol stone. It dates to the 6th-8th century B.C. and the symbols — an eagle, a crescent, a V-rod, a mirror case symbol, a notch rectangle and Z-rod — are carved on two adjacent sides, a unique configuration so far as we know.

Mr. Robinson allowed the five and a half foot-long pink granite stone to remain on his property for a year before arrangements could be made to remove it for conservation. In 2014, the Dandaleith Stone was transferred to Graciela Ainsworth Sculpture Conservation in Leith, Edinburgh, where Graciela Ainsworth’s team conserved it, documented it and laser scanned it to create a 3D model of the stone.

Meanwhile, the symbol stone was declared a Treasure Trove and the Scottish Archaeological Finds Allocation Panel allocated the find to the Elgin Museum, Scotland’s oldest independent museum (est. 1842), in Elgin, just 15 miles north of Dandaleith. The museum then had to raise the funds to pay the landowner and finder a fee equal to its assessed market value, plus more to pay for transportation, conservation and display. The fundraising was successful, thanks to contributions from the Heritage Lottery Fund, AIM, the Art Fund, the Pilgrim’s Trust, and Aberdeenshire Council Archaeology Service.

On March 1st of this year, the Dandaleith Stone was transported to the Elgin Museum by Graciela Ainsworth. She also brought the carved Pictish and early Medieval stones from the museum’s permanent collection that were conserved at her Edinburgh facility. The next day, the Dandaleith Stone was hoisted into position in the museum’s new display by the Elgin Marble Company which generously donated the equipment, time and manpower necessary to raise the massive stone and install it vertically next to a new row of lit shelves to display the museum’s other, much smaller carved stones.

The new Pictish Stone display opened to the public on Saturday, March 26th. Ploughman and finder Andy Johnstone was invited to cut the ribbon at the exhibition opening.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Event Report: Ice Dragon 40

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2016-04-11 16:26

The Fortieth Festival of the Ice Dragon, once again held on April 2nd at the Connecticut Street Armory in the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael, was packed with its usual heavy fighting, youth fighting, fencing, Arts and Sciences Pentathlon, meetings, and courts. Lord Wolfgang Starcke, on his fourth stint as Ice Dragon autocrat, reports that about 650 gentles were in attendance.

Morning Courts and Curia

Morning court saw three gentles sent to contemplate elevation to the peerage: Baroness Laurencia of Carlisle was sent to vigil to contemplate elevation to the Order of the Laurel for her skill in costuming; Don Anias Fenne was sent to vigil and to play the prize in preparation for being admitted to the Order of Defense, and THLord Marek Viacheldrago was sent to vigil for elevation to the Chivalry.

Click to view slideshow.

Anais, Marek, and Laurencia are sent to vigil. Photos by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Baron Athos is sent to vigil for the Chivalry. Photo by Master Fridrikr Tomasson.

After court, the Imperator held a Curia where the Award of the Golden Escarbuncle was officially entered into Kingdom Law. This award is to be given to gentles who impress the Crown on a specific occasion, whether for martial, artistic, or service activities.

Later, before the start of the Heavy Weapons Tournament, Augustus Tindal summoned the Order of Chivalry to him and then called forth Baron Aquila d’Athos, sending him to vigil to contemplate elevation to that Order.

Heavy Weapons Tournament

The Heavy Weapons bear pit tournament, run by Sir Sextus Plinius Callidus, commenced with 86 fighters lining up to test themselves against other combatants. Points were given for wins only, and any fighter who held a list for 5 rounds without being defeated was required to leave the list and join the line to return. The tournament ran for two hours, with the wait time in line averaging 2 minutes. Once again, Duke Maynard von dem Steine dominated the field, emerging from the tournament with 127 points. The next closest competitor, Sir Evander MacLachlan of the Kingdom of Ealdormere, accumulated 54 points. Duke Sven Gunarrsson was third. Duke Maynard has won the Ice Dragon Bear pit at least 8 times over the years.

Duke Maynard vs. Sir Dephinus. Photo by Michael Davis.

Rapier Tournaments

The Rapier list, run by Don Berhend von Elmendorf, held two tournaments. The first was a Pool Round Robin, where the fencers were divided into four lists of 10-11 fighters who fought round robin, and then the top two fencers in each list went on to a double-elimination final. The victor was Don Lodovic of Gray’s End, with Mistress Eyrny Ormarsdottir of the Kingdom of Ealdormere coming in second.

Photo by Michael Davis.

The second rapier tournament was a Bear Pit in which fencers were limited to a dagger and parry object. It was won by Master Will Parris with a total of 92 points. Don Clewin Kupferhelbelinc and Doña Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen were tied for second with 65 points each.

Master Will vs. Lord Jan ten Walde. Photo by Michael Davis.

The fencers also voted for who had made the “prettiest” kill. Don Po Silvertop nominated Duchess Dorinda Courtenay for slaying him in a particularly artistic manner, and the other fencers apparently agreed as she was named the winner of that honor.

Youth Combat and Youth Rapier

The Youth Combat list, run by Baron Edward Harbinger with MIT Baroness Anastasie Lamour, was busy with about 10 youth fighters. Many were new to youth combat so there was no tournament, but first-time fighters armored up with loaner gear and got to spar with more experienced youth fighters. All had fun and learned a lot.

Youth fighters marshaled by Baroness Anastasie. Photo by Michael Davis.

There was also youth rapier combat, with one young gentle, Simon Fjarfell, authorizing as a Division 1 youth fencer and then winning the three-person youth rapier tournament.

Wentliana authorizing as a youth fencer against Lady Gytha. Photo by Michael Davis.

Arts and Sciences Pentathlon

The Arts and Sciences Pentathlon, run by Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin and Mistress Juliana Delamere with assistance from Mistress Filipia Cupbreaker, attracted a goodly number entries ranging from ceramics to fiber arts, scribal entries and woodworking, as well as soap-making and music. Many of the entries can be viewed in the slide show below.

Click to view slideshow.

Judging the culinary entries. Photo by Tiercelin

Although entries have always been divided into levels (from novice to Laurel), this year the levels were only judged against each other since there were places at each individual category level as well as for the Pent itself (in past years all entries had been judged together with scores only counting for the Pentathlon at the different levels, and the judges unaware of whether they were judging a beginner or more advanced artisan). The levels were novice (Sycamore or no arts award), artisan (Fleur or other grant level award) and Laurel. There was also a category for youth entries. To create more time for judges to give in-depth comments, the Pent eliminated the complicated scoring sheets and went back to the original ribbon system of awarding first, second and third places.

There were over 115 individual entries, more than double that of the previous year.

The Pent winners were:

  • Mistress Fredeburg von Katzenellenbogen for the Laurel category

Mistress Fredeburg, Laurel winner. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.

  • Mistress Irene von Schmetterling for the Artisan category

Mistress Irene, Artisan winner. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.

  • Lady Elska Fjarfall for the Novice category.

Lady Elska, Novice winner. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.

  • Simon Fjarfall for the Youth category, who impressed everyone with a wicker pack basket that he made, including woven straps.

Simon, Youth winner. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.

Various nobles also chose their favorites to single out for recognition:

  • King’s Choice: Kalishka
  • Prince’s Choice: Lord Ruslan Igotavich Voronov
  • Princess’ Choice: Lady Arianna dal Vallone
  • Baron and Baroness’ Choice: Simon Fjarfall
  • A&S Officers’ Choice: THLady Rachel Dalicieux

In addition, the Imperator gave Golden Escarbuncles to Lady Edana the Red and Lord Ruslan Igotavich Voronov in recognition of the outstanding quality of their entries.

A full list of Pent category winners, with photos of all the first prize category entries, will be forthcoming this week.

Princess Ariella’s Favor Design Competition

Also in the Pentathlon room was Princess Ariella’s contest to choose the favor design for her reign. The design submitted by Lady Maggie Rue of the Shire of Hunter’s Home was chosen by both Her Highness and the populace as the favorite. Information on how to assist in making favors for Her Highness is available here.

Other Activities

While the rest of the site buzzed with activity, dancers made use of the court hall for dancing, and Lady Cordelia Colton ran children’s activities.

Of course no Ice Dragon is complete without the salons and merchants. Many of the usual merchants were there, including Mistress Gabrielle d’Auvergne with her fiber arts, Master John Michael Thorpe with an assortment of weapons and related goods, and other vendors selling items like jewelry and feast gear. Many of the salons offered displays and food themed to their group, including Clan Yama Kaminari’s Japanese salon. As always, the Scribes of Æthelmearc had a table where gentles could pick up completed backlog scrolls.

The Tavern was ably run by Lord Ursus Epicurius, and featured both meat- and vegetarian-based dishes.

As if all this activity was not enough, there were also numerous meetings, including one for autocrats and exchequers to explain the new terminology around what was previously referred to as the non-member surcharge, the first meeting of the new Æthelmearc Cooks’ Guild being formed by Lady Arianna dal Vallone of the Shire of Sylvan Glen, and meetings of various Orders and Marshals’ groups.

Afternoon Court

Afternoon court was long but many gentles stayed to the end to see their friends and family recognized for their accomplishments and skills. In addition to the tournament and pentathlon prizes listed above, numerous awards were bestowed on worthy gentles, notably a Fleur on Lady Katerina das Vögelein in absentia, Gage on Lord Garreth Whytbull, a Millrind on Baron Magnus de Lyons, and a Scarlet Guard on Baron Edward Harbinger.

Court ended with the elevation of the four new peers.

Baron Aquila d’Athos was first, with Barak Sir Carthalo (formerly of the Rhydderich Hael and now of Atlantia), speaking on behalf of his former squire for the Chivalry; Duke Timothy of  Arindale as a Royal Peer, Master Fergus for the Order of Defense, Mistress Alison of the Many Isles on behalf of the Order of the Laurel, and Countess Caryl Olesdottir for the Pelican. Sir Michael of Northwood and Duke Khalek Shurrag Od buckled the spurs of a knight on his feet, and his lady, Baroness Bronwyn nic Gregor, placed the white belt of a Knight around his waist. The Imperator delivered the traditional buffet and then hugged Sir Aquila in congratulations.

Sir Aquila d’Athos is dubbed a knight. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

Next, Don Anais Fenne processed in, preceded by the cutest sword-bearer in the Kingdom, his three-year-old son Elijah. For Don Anais, Count Isenwulf Thorolfeson spoke on behalf of the Royal Peers, Sir Tristen Sexwulf for the Chivalry, Master Quinn Kerr for the Laurels, Mistress Aleea Baga for the Pelicans, and Master Iago Benitez for the Order of Defense. Augustus Tindal placed the white livery collar around Don Anias’ neck and proclaimed him a Master of Defense.

Then the Silver Buccle Herald called forth Baroness Laurencia of Carlisle to be elevated to the Order of the Laurel. Master Llewelyn ap Goddodin of the East Kingdom spoke on behalf of the Chivalry, Duchess Dorinda Courtenay spoke on behalf of the Masters of Defense, Duchess Liadain ní Dheirdre Chaomhánaigh spoke as a Pelican, and Mistress Cori Ghora spoke on behalf of the Laurels. Her Excellency was invested with an ornate hood made by Mistress Elisabeth Johanna von Flossenburg and received a Laurel wreath crafted by Mistress Geirny Thorgrimsdottir. His Majesty pinned a Laurel brooch to her hood and named her Mistress Laurencia.

Baroness Laurencia is made a Laurel. Photo by Arianna.

Last came the elevation of THL Marek Viacheldrago. Having already surrendered his squire’s belt to his liege, Sir Tristen, at morning court, he pronounced himself ready. Dukes Maynard von dem Steine and Khalek Shurrag Od spoke as Royal Peers, Mistress Dorinda once again as a Master of Defense, Duchess Liadain once more represented the Pelicans, Mistress Chrestienne de Waterden spoke on behalf of the Laurels, and Sir Alric of the Mists spoke emotionally on behalf of the Chivalry. Sir Tristen bestowed upon His Lordship the Knight’s Chain of the West, which he proclaimed had been worn by 40 Knights, who had among them sat a throne 80 times. Sir Tristen and Sir Alric affixed the spurs to his boots, and his lady, Sybilla Julianna Detwyller, tied the white belt around his waist. Augustus Tindal delivered the buffet, and the populace cheered the new Knight, Sir Marek.

Sir Marek receives his spurs from Sir Alric and Sir Tristen. Photo by Lady Aine ny Allane.

The Augusta being absent, it fell to the Imperator to choose His inspiration of the day. He called forth THLady Zofia Kowalewska and thanked her and the scribes of Æthelmearc for their work completing backlog scrolls, many of which had been on display in the scribal booth.

THLady Zofia is recognized as the Augustus’s inspiration. Photo by Arianna.

With that, court was closed and another Festival of the Ice Dragon came to an end. Alas, the Ice Dragon itself was not through, and many gentles had long slogs home that night through a raging snowstorm. We can only hope that the Ice Dragon retreats soon to leave us to our long-awaited spring!



Categories: SCA news sites

Crown Tourney Letters of Intent – Deadline Extended

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2016-04-11 15:53
Due to the Crown Tourney Letters of Intent website inadvertently closing early, it has been reactivated and will remain active until approximately 6:00 PM EDT on Tuesday April 12th.


The address is http://surveys.eastkingdom.org/index.php/925981/lang-en

Mercedes Vera de Calafia East Kingdom Senechal
Filed under: Announcements Tagged: Crown Tournament, Crown Tourney, Letter of Intent

Rare 13th c. tile floor on display under new shelter

History Blog - Mon, 2016-04-11 02:15

An extremely rare surviving 13th century tile floor at Cleeve Abbey in Somerset is now back on display under a new, state-of-the-art shelter. The oak shelter will protect the 40 x 16-foot section of pavement from the elements, something its predecessor, a tent, could not do.

Cleeve Abbey was a Cistercian monastery founded by William de Roumare, Earl of Lincoln, in 1198. Populated by only 12 monks in the beginning, by the mid-13th century there was a cruciform church, a cloister, chapter house, sacristy and dormitory. The refectory was constructed in the second half of the 1200s, probably around 1270, and it was paved with expensive polychrome encaustic tiles nine inches square. Each tile is decorated with heraldic designs. The arms of several aristocratic benefactors of the monastery were kiln-baked into the floor tiles, including the chevrons of the earls of Gloucester from the de Clare family, the lion rampant of the earls of Cornwall, the double-headed eagle of Richard of Cornwall, second son of King John of Magna Carta fame, who bribed his way into election as King of the Romans (ie, King of what would become Germany) in 1257, and the three white lions of the Royal Coat of Arms representing monastery patron King Henry III, Richard’s brother. Archaeologists believe they were manufactured by a tilery in Gloucestershire and installed to celebrate the marriage of Edmund, 2nd Earl of Cornwall, to Margaret de Clare in 1272.

In the 15th century, the old refectory was demolished and a new, larger refectory was built just to its north. The old tile floor was not reused elsewhere (the usual practice when dealing with luxurious features like these tiles), but buried, keeping it in situ in its original configuration virtually undamaged for 400 years. Thanks to its hiding place, the floor made it through the Dissolution of the Monasteries unscathed while the abbey church was demolished. Henry VIII sold the abbey property and other structures, stripping any valuable architectural features for individual sale. The abbey became a farm, and most of the buildings are still standing today because of it.

The Cleeve Abbey tiled pavement is the only large example of a decorated medieval refectory floor in Britain. The fact that it survived with its original placement still intact makes it a rarity of international significance. A smaller piece of the 13th century church floor was also discovered at Cleeve Abbey, and while it too is made of colorful encaustic tiles, they have been relain and look like a patchwork quilt now.

The old refectory floor was rediscovered in 1876. To protect it for future generations, the floor was reburied until 1951 when it was again exposed and displayed to the public. It was covered each winter to save it from inclement weather and uncovered during the summer months so tourists could view it.

In the 1990s, tests by English Heritage found that the tiles were dangerous deteriorating from their exposure to the elements. Thermal stress was damaging the protective glaze surface and eroding the detailed patterns in the clay, while microbes and high salt gnawed away the priceless pavement. In an attempt to prevent further damage, English Heritage installed a marquee tent over the floor tiles, which helped keep the sun’s rays from hitting the tiles directly but was only a temporary solution while they worked on a permanent one.

Last year construction began on a new shelter made of louvred oak slats which allow light to enter the space for optimal viewing, but keep direct sunlight from beating down on the tiles. There’s a ventilation system which keeps the temperatures inside the enclosure stable at all times. Visitors can enjoy the floor comfortably from seating and viewing platforms.

The new shelter opened on Good Friday, March 25th, 2016, and will be open daily through October 21st, 2016, which is when Cleeve Abbey closes for the winter. It will open again next spring.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Artisan Profile: Angellino the Bookmaker

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2016-04-10 19:18

The next in our series of Æthelmearc Artisan Profiles, from Meesteres Odriana vander Brugghe: Lord Angellino the Bookmaker.

For this month’s Artisan Profile, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lord Angellino the Bookmaker. During his years in the SCA, Angellino has done a little bit of everything: Fighting, marshaling, archery, thrown weapons, shopping, dancing (at least once), bardic arts, and the scribal arts. Despite his diverse experiences, his focus is on the scribal arts and running the Inter-Kingdom Scribal Guild (INKS Guild) with Lady Ylaire Sainte Claire and THL Ursula of Rouen.

What is your background? Specifically, did you attend school to learn your art or did you come to your art through the SCA or some combination of the two?

I mostly scribbled with pen and pencil back in high school in favor of actually applying myself. (don’t just stay in school kids but pay attention, it’s worth it). I had all but left art that behind in my adult life prior to joining the SCA. I had gone to a couple of scriptorium events in the Shire of Sylvan Glen when Marija Kotok mentioned that AE was always looking for new blank templates and I thought “I can do that”. I owe being a scribe entirely to her because she was the person who set me on the path. My first tentative steps were quaint, looking back. Each time I’d finish a template, like it or not, I’d paint it anyway (just to prove it could be turned into a scroll) then think “I can do better than that.”  The process still holds to this day.

Can you tell me a little bit about the INKS Guild?

This is a group that I had the idea of creating and my wife, Lady Ylaire, supported me in creating. THL Ursula is the administrator for the guild and is an essential part in its success. It’s a collective of scribes from 3+ Kingdoms that do scroll blanks for whatever Kingdom needs them. We use a facebook group to coordinate with each other.

Currently we’re finishing up a package for Atlantia but instead of blanks we’re doing 10 backlogs for Atlantian kids.

What inspires you?

All kinds of stuff. I comb through art both modern and historic. It’s surprising sometimes what I pick up and think “I can use that.”  Sometimes it’s just the way they turned a small line, added a brush stroke, two colors sitting next to each other or even how they went from nose curvature to eyebrow on a face. It’s all about breaking down what I’m looking at, how they layered the paint, spatial relations, shading or not, blending, any and all combinations of everything on the canvas. Taking it as a whole then drilling down and examining the pieces.

What work do you most enjoy doing?

All of it. Creating something from nothing scratches a very special itch for me that nothing else can compare. I know we’re a historical re-creation based society but I’m in it for the art part WAY more than I’m in it for the historical part.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

For the most part, I don’t get a lot of feedback/responses to my work and I kind of like it that way. I like my art to speak for itself and I’m not doing this for recognition. All I ever want to hear about a scroll going out is if the recipient liked it and I can usually get that from a friend who was in court when it was given out.

I will say though, as part of the INKS guild, I had a scroll end up being awarded to a lady in The East Kingdom (Connecticut). I’d never had a scroll go so far before and she sought me out (with no real connection between us) through the web to ask if I would blazon her AoA and paint her device on it. She’d been in the SCA for quite some time and had never gotten her AoA [scroll]. She was excited and pleased with my work and wanted me to complete the scroll so she sent it back to me to put her device on it. It was like having a pen pal in another country! (which I guess it was when you think about it)

What research do you do?

I’m more obsessed with the art part than the historical part. I comb over picture after picture looking for new and unusual things to make something different for the recipient. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t squirrel something away in a folder on my computer with a thought of “I think I can take that style and make something new out of it”.

 How have your work practices changed over time?

I’m a structured planner sort of person. So, when I first started, I sat down and logically thought out how best to take something digital and move it to a finished state on paper. My general process has changed little since I’ve started; mostly what I change is style, pushing myself to draw stuff I’m not good at drawing (people and animals!) and try to put something new into every piece I do.

Who inspires you (either inside or outside of the SCA)?

Everything and everyone. I’m always looking through what other people are doing (both in and out of the SCA scribal circles). Deconstructing, trying to see what someone did to create an end piece. Everyone comes at scribal differently, everyone has something to bring to the table.

What is your dream project?

My next project, definitely. Have I shown you pictures? I’ve got this crazy idea and I’ll get it done in two weeks!!! Honestly, I drive everyone around me nuts talking about “my next big thing” that will never live up to the expectations in my head but darnit, in my head at least, it’s gonna be the freakin’ Mona Lisa! Only to mope at every errant brush stroke or every paint mix that didn’t dry to the color I wanted or didn’t have the right shading but that’s ok cause have I told you about my next project? It’s going to be 3-D and have unicorns and one hundred and seventy different colors.

If you would like to see Lord Angellino’s work, please visit his Deviant Art page.

If you would like to participate with the INKS Guild or learn more about it, please visit their Facebook page.

Categories: SCA news sites

17th c. treasure hidden during uprising found in Bulgaria

History Blog - Sun, 2016-04-10 01:20

A treasure of silver jewels buried in the 17th century has been found near the northwestern Bulgarian city of Montana. The hoard was discovered by local residents who very responsibly reported the find to the National Museum of History in Sofia. There’s a tiara, two forehead bands, two ear tabs, connectors between the headpieces and the ear tabs, a pair of earrings and two rings. They are all made of silver and are of very high quality, decorated with expensive, highly skilled techniques including filigree, granulation, niello, gold leaf and a green glass-like mass that is probably enamel. The objects were placed in a leather purse, surviving fragments of which were found at the site.

The jewelry is almost certainly local work. The area was known for its very fine gold and silversmiths. The work of the Chiprovtsi smiths was famous all over Eastern Europe for its complexity and delicacy. They had access to a steady supply of precious raw materials, thanks to local silver ore deposits which were extensively mined in the 16th and 17th centuries.

After the Ottoman conquest of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, some areas were granted the right of Christian self-government, among them the village of Chiprovtsi and neighboring towns. When silver ore was found in the region in the second half of the 15th century, the population of the villages swelled with Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Albanians and German miners while the old Catholic nobility appears to have ruled virtually undisturbed with only a token Ottoman representation in the municipal government. Chiprovtsi was closely linked to the Catholic ecclesiastical hierarchy as well. The official residence of the Catholic archbishops of Bulgaria was Chiprovtsi’s Monastery of St. Mary.

The mix of peoples, strong Catholic leadership and quasi-autonomy of the region spurred residents to seek to overthrown the Ottoman Yoke. The Chiprovtsi Uprising, a rebellion of Roman Catholic (and some Eastern Orthodox) Bulgarians against Ottoman rule, was precipitated by Austria’s capture of Belgrade from the Turks on September 6th, 1688. Chiprovtsi Catholics had been trying to induce the monarchies of western Europe to take Bulgaria from the Ottomans for more than four decades, coming very close several times to triggering elaborate invasion plans that ultimately fell through. When Belgrade fell to the Austrians, the Chiprovtsi rebels thought that after so many false starts, the moment had finally come. Hopeful that the Austrians would send reinforcements to support the uprising, extend their victory east and ultimately liberate all of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule, the insurrectionists rose up and fought the Ottomans and their Magyar allies.

It did not go well. There was no coordination between Austrian and Bulgarian forces, and the Turks handily won the military encounters. The decisive battle took place near Montana, then called Kutlovitsa, in October of 1688. The Ottomans won decisively. They captured Chiprovtsi on October 18th and razed it to the ground, killing almost everyone and enslaving whoever survived. While a much-reduced guerilla resistance continued for a few months, the Austrians never came and much of the remaining population fled west to the Danube or north to Wallachia. Archbishop Peter Knezevic led the emigration to Wallachia. Few Christians remained in the northwest and the Ottomans ruled directly, stripping the Bulgarian nobility of their old privileges and political power.

The National Museum of History experts believe the cache of silver jewels was a family fortune buried in the turbulent days of the Chiprovtsi Uprising in the fall of 1688. Since almost everyone in the area was killed in battle, executed, enslaved or fled, there was nobody left to dig up the treasure.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Tiny Arabic chess piece found in museum dig

History Blog - Sat, 2016-04-09 02:06

Archaeologists excavating the back yard of the Wallingford Museum on High Street in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, have unearthed a tiny medieval chess piece. At first museum curator thought it was a figurine of a cat, but once it was cleaned, they recognized the artifact as an Arabic chess piece carved from the tip of an antler.

[Curator Judy Dewey] said: [...] “It is one of only about 50 medieval chess pieces found in England and, at only 21.7mm high, it is unique in being the smallest medieval Arabic chess piece known in the country.

“The chess piece was made from the tip of an antler in the 12th or 13th century and is highly decorated with traditional roundels – most other such pieces are at least double the size.

This is a bishop so the other pieces in the set must have been really tiny – it may have been part of a travelling set.”

The museum’s main building was once Wallingford Priory, a Benedictine abbey that was suppressed by Cardinal Wolsey and of which only the foundations remain today, all of them underground. Wolsey secured a papal bull ordering the dissolution of Wallingford and 30 other small monasteries deemed to be rife with corruption. Funds raised from the dissolution would go to one of Wolsey’s pet projects: the construction of Cardinal College at the University of Oxford. The priory was surrendered in 1525 to notary John Allen, as witnessed by Thomas Cromwell, then Wolsey’s right hand man. It took three more years before the priory was finally suppressed for good. On July 6th, 1528, the monastery and its lands were formally transferred from the crown to Cardinal Wolsey for the construction of his college at Oxford.

Before the demise of the abbey, visitors to the castle of Wallingford were sometimes housed in the priory. Chess was deemed a game for the nobility and educated classes. Any one of those visitors might have owned a portable set, or the monks themselves may have played.

Chess was introduced to Europe from Persia by the Islamic Arabian empire, likely through Spain. The Norman French brought it with them to England after the Conquest in the 11th century. Within a hundred years the original Arabic designs and names of the pieces were altered to forms more recognizable to the elite players of northern Europe. The Vizir became the Queen, the Fars (horse) became the Knight and the Al-Fil, the war elephant, became the Bishop. The look of the pieces shifted from the non-figural representation of the Islamic tradition to the people and characters we know today.

The piece discovered at Wallingford is a war elephant, aka the future Bishop. The round protrusions represent tusks. To Christian European eyes those bumps were reminiscent of a bishop’s mitre, which is how the war elephant became a high-ranking clergyman. The piece likely dates to before the mid-12th century when the figural designs set in, increasing the game’s appeal and popularity across Christendom.

The chess piece is now on display at the Wallingford Museum. Digging is scheduled to resume this July, and archaeologists are crossing their fingers and toes that they might find more pieces from the set. It’s a long shot, however.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Court Report: Ice Dragon

AEthelmearc Gazette - Fri, 2016-04-08 21:51

Documented from the Scrolls of the Reign of Magnus Tindal and Etain II, basileos kai basilissa Æthelmearc: the Business of The Emperor’s Court at The Festival of the Passing of the Ice Dragon, 2 April Anno Societatis L, in the Barony of Rhydderich Hael, accompanied by Their Highnesses Byron and Ariella, Prince and Princess of Æthelmearc; Their Highnesses Nigel and Adrielle, Prince and Princess of Ealdormere; and Their Excellencies Magnus and Miriel, Baron and Baroness of the Rhydderich Hael. As recorded by Their Silver Buccle Herald, Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai, with the assistance of Baroness Miriel du Lac; Baroness Helena Mützhasenin, Fleur d’Æthelmearc Herald; Brehyres Gwendolyn the Graceful; THL Gytha Oggesdottir; and THL Sophie Davenport, Seedling Pursuivant.

In the morning:

The Imperator called for Baroness Laurencia of Carlisle, who had been served at Rhydderich Hael Investiture with a Writ of Summons to contemplate elevation to the Imperial Council of the Laurel. Confirming that it was her intent to sit vigil, the Imperator convened the said Council and directed them to conduct Her Excellency to the place that had been prepared for her.

Baroness Laurencia is sent to vigil for the Laurel.

The Imperator then summoned THL Marek Viacheldrago, who had been served at Gulf Wars with a Writ of Summons to contemplate elevation to the Imperial Council of Chivalry. Confirming that he too was prepared to sit vigil that day, he returned his belt of servitude to his Knight, Sir Tristan Sexwulf, who released Marek from his oath of fealty. The Imperator then convened the said Council and directed them to conduct His Lordship to the place that had been prepared for him.

THLord Marek is sent to vigil for the Chivalry. Photo by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

The Imperator next called for Don Annanias Fenne, who had also been served with a Writ of Summons at Gulf Wars, his to contemplate elevation to the Imperial Council of Defense. Confirming as well that he was prepared to hold the field in contemplation, the Imperator convened the Council and directed them to conduct His Lordship to the field that was prepared for him.

Don Anias is sent to vigil for the Order of Defense. Photo by Mistress Arianna.

The Imperator announced that following Morning Court, the Royal Curia would be convened to approve the addition of the Award of the Golden Ecarbuncle to Kingdom Law, and following Curia, Imperial business that had not been completed would be conducted.

At Curia:

The Kingdom Officers approved the addition of the Award of the Golden Escarbuncle into Kingdom Law.

Following Curia:

Lady Elsa Taliard was inducted into the Order of the Cornelian in absentia.

Ayleth of Stormsport was Awarded Arms in absentia.

Edwynne of Casa Valdez, called Lairdbreaker, was Awarded Arms in absentia.

Elva the Evil was Awarded Arms in absentia.

Lady Tomassa Isolana was inducted into the Order of the Golden Alce in absentia.

Master Ian Muir was inducted into the Order of the Golden Stirrup in absentia.

Count Sir Andreas Morgan was inducted into the Order of the Keystone in absentia.

Lady Laurentia of Caledonia was inducted into the Order of the Keystone in absentia.

Lady Maggie Rue was inducted into the Order of the Keystone.

Lord TW of Livonia was inducted into the Order of the Sycamore in absentia.

Before the heavy weapons tournament:

The Imperator had words for His Excellency, Baron Aquila d’Athos, whose skill on the field was matched by his service to the heavy weapons community and to the Kingdom at large. Thus is was decided that, instead of marshalling the day’s tournaments, His Excellency should instead sit vigil in contemplation of elevation to the Imperial Council of Chivalry. The Council was convened, and His Excellency was escorted from the field to a place that had been prepared for him.

Baron Aquila d’Athos is sent to vigil for the Chivalry. Photo by Master Fridrikr Tomasson.

In the evening:

The children of the Kingdom were assembled, and excused from the business of Court that they might be better entertained.

The Imperator granted leave to Their Excellencies to conduct the business of their Baronial Court.

During Baronial Court, the Imperator called for THL Ruslan Igorovich Voronov and Lady Edana the Red, and awarded them the Golden Escarbuncle for being his two finalists for King’s Choice in the Arts and Sciences Pentathlon.

Her Highness Ariella announced that of the many designs that had been submitted for her Queen’s Favor competition, she had chosen Lady Maggie Rue‘s design, and decreed that 700 of them should be made immediately. Any interested in assisting in this venture should contact Her Highness.

Cassandra MacTire of Norwich was Awarded Arms for her skill in leatherworking and her assistance in preparing for events, regardless of whether or not she would be attending. Scroll by Lady Vivienne of Yardley.

Siobhan Readnait was Awarded Arms for her service in preparing side boards, sitting troll, and event cleanup, as well as her prowess on the archery field. Scroll by THL Eleanore Godwin.

Siobhan Readnit is awarded Arms. Photo by Master Augusto.

Lord Wolfgar Ronaldson was inducted into the Order of the Golden Alce in absentia.

Lady Brigette de Sainte Mere-Eglise was elevated to the Order of the Keystone for her many years of service as Baronial officer, dance mistress, marshal, and mistress of the lists. Scroll illuminated by Baroness Juliana Rosalia Dolce di Siena and calligraphed by Tiarna Ard Padraig Ó Branduibh.

Mistress Liadin ní Chléirigh na Coille was created a Companion of the Order of Keystone for service to the Barony and to the scribal community. Scroll by Lady Vivienne of Yardley.

Mistress Liadin receives a Keystone. Photo by Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato.

Lady Edith of Winterton was inducted into the Order of the Sycamore in absentia for her devotion to the research of fiber arts, including the raising of sheep and the spinning and dyeing of thread. Scroll by Baron Caleb Reynolds.

Lady Katerina das Vögelein was Granted Arms and inducted into the Order of the Fleur d’Æthelmearc in absentia for her skill in the art of tailoring. Scroll illuminated by THL Isabel Fleuretan and calligraphed by Kameshima-kyō Zentarō Umakai.

Lord Garreth Whytebull was Granted Arms and elevated to the Order of the Gage for his skill in sword and shield combat, as well as his extensive travel to both learn and teach others. Scroll by Lady Felice de Thornton and Lady Juliana Stafford.

Lord Garreth is inducted into the Order of the Gage. Photo by Master Augusto.

Baron Magnus de Lyons was named to the Order of the Millrind for his extensive service to his Barony. Scroll by Lady Mary Elizabeth Clason.

Baron Magnus receives a Millring. Photo by Master Augusto.

Baron Edward Harbinger was created a Companion of the Order of the Scarlet Guard for his many years of teaching and leadership in the archery community. Scroll by THL Eleanore Godwin.

Baron Edward is inducted into the Order of the Scarlet Guard. Photo by Baroness Anastasie Lamour.

Baron Aquila d’Athos was called before the Imperator to answer the question that had been set before him earlier that day. Confirming that he had indeed sat vigil and received counsel, he was now ready to take his place among the Council of Chivalry. Duke Sir Timothy of Arindale came forth to thank the Imperator for righting a great wrong that His Grace had committed when he sat the throne and had not elevated Aquila to the Chivalry. Master Benedict Fergus of the Council of Defense recalled Aquila’s strong leadership when he was Baron of Thescorre and testified that he would be a strong defender of the Kingdom. Mistress Alison of the Many Isles of the Council of the Laurel sung the praises of Aquila’s devotion to his arts of metalworking and pouch making. Countess Caryl Olesdatter of the Council of the Pelican called Aquila a paragon of chivalry and service. Sir Barak Carthalo of the Knights of Atlantia, who had once called Aquila squire, praised his passion, heart, and prowess, and was proud to call Aquila “brother.” So moved by this testimony, the Imperator called for the regalia of a Knight: spurs for his heels, a belt for his waist, the Ancestral Chain of the Chivalry of Æthelmearc, and a personal chain to wear once the Ancestral Chain had been passed. The Imperator then used the Sword of State to dub Aquila a Knight and Peer of the Realm and Grant him Arms by Letters Patent. The Imperator then received Sir Aquila’s Oath of Fealty. Scroll by Mistress Gillian Llewellyn of Ravenspur.

Sir Athos is dubbed a knight. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

Don Annanias Fenne was summoned to answer the question that had been set before him. Confirming that he had held the field in the tradition of the Council of Defense of Æthelmearc, he was now ready to take his place among that Council. Count Sir Isenwulf Thorolfssone called him a positive example who balances ferocity on the field with the courtesy of an enjoyable fight. Sir Tristan Sexwulf testified that Annanias always strives for excellence and inspires those around him. Master Quinn Kerr of the Council of the Laurel praised his devotion to his arts, which makes his love for his art, his Kingdom and the Society clear to all those who see him. Mistress Baga Aleea of the Council of the Pelican named Annanias as someone who will help anyone who needs it and who will do so with enthusiasm that is infectious. Master Iago Benitez of the Council of Defense recalled good times with Annanias both on the fencing field and in the kitchen, and named him a master of the blade in all its forms and an inspiration. So moved by this testimony, the Imperator called for the Ancestral Livery Collar of the Defenders of Æthelmearc, placed it around Annanias’s neck and named him a Peer of the Realm and a Councillor of Defense, and Granted him Arms by Letters Patent. He then received Master Annanias’s Oath of Fealty. Scroll wording by Master Quinn Kerr.

Don Anias is elevated to the Order of Defense. Photo by Master Fridrikr.

Baroness Laurencia of Carlisle was recalled before the Imperator to answer the question that had been set before her, and she confirmed that she had received such counsel as to now be prepared to take her place among the Imperial Council of the Laurel. Duke Maynard von dem Steine recalled the skill and passion with which she teaches her art regardless of the distance she must travel to do so. Master Llewellyn ap Gododdin of the Eastern Council of Chivalry, for whom Laurencia had made clothes for his own vigil, spoke of her kindness and generosity. Duchess Dorinda Courtenay of the Council of Defense, likened the precision of Laurencia’s needlework to the skill one may master with a fencing blade, and like that skill, each takes time and devotion. Duchess Líadain ní Dheirdre Chaomhánaigh of the Council of the Pelican recalled how, when some new fighters had asked Laurencia to make fighting garb for them, she instead taught them how to create it for themselves, thus better serving them for their careers in the SCA. Mistress Cori Ghora of the Council of the Laurel stated that the Council needed this lady, for she brings new research to the Kingdom. So moved by this testimony, the Imperator placed upon Laurencia’s shoulders a hood, pin, and wreath signifying her as a Councillor of the Laurel, Granted her Arms by Letters Patent and named Her Excellency a Companion of that Council and Peer of the Realm. Finally, Mistress Laurencia was presented with the traditional Fruitcake of the Council of the Laurel of Æthelmearc. Scroll by Duchess Anna Blackleaf, Duchess Dorinda Courtenay, and Duchess Líadain ní Dheirdre Chaomhánaigh.

Baroness Laurencia is made a Laurel. Photo by Arianna.

THL Marek Viacheldrago was brought before the Imperator, and stated that he had spent the day preparing to accept elevation to the Council of Chivalry. Duke Maynard von dem Steine called Marek a quiet man who chooses his words wisely, and all who know him are better for it. Duke Khalek Shuraag Od called it the duty of Royal Peers to seek out virtues and nobility in all the populace, and having witnessed Marek’s accomplishments, was convinced that his elevation was right and just. Duchess Dorinda Courtenay of the Council of Defense refrained from regaling the Imperator with stories of Marek’s greater-than-normal courtesy, because “greater than normal” courtesy is normal for Marek. Mistress Chrestienne de Waterden of the Council of the Laurel witnessed his support of the arts, gathering all those who wish to learn the arts of metalwork and wireweaving. Duchess Líadain ní Dheirdre Chaomhánaigh of the Council of the Pelican called Marek an inspiration who embodies service. Sir Alric of the Mists testified that, while the Chivalry may foster prowess above all the other Knightly virtues, it was not necessarily the most important of them, and that Marek excels at all of them. So moved by this testimony, the Imperator called for spurs and a belt, then placed the Ancestral Chain of the Chivalry of Æthelmearc around his neck, followed by a traditional chain from his household, and an ancestral chain worn by more than 40 Knights across the SCA who have ruled as Royalty more than 80 times. So bedecked, the Imperator took the Sword of State and dubbed him a Knight and Peer of the Realm, and on that sword Sir Marek swore his Oath of Fealty. Scroll forthcoming.

Sir Marek is dubbed a Knight. Photo by Lady Aine ny Allane.

In the tradition of the Imperata, THL Zofia Kowalewska was named Inspiration to the Emperor for her diligence in running the backlog display table.

Lady Zofia is recognized as the Augustus’s inspiration. Photo by Arianna.

There being no further business, the Emperor’s Court was closed.

Categories: SCA news sites

18th c. marine chronometer found in Rhode Island collection

History Blog - Fri, 2016-04-08 02:41

On March 3rd of this year, the Newport Historical Society (NHS) in Rhode Island announced via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that staff members were on a secret mission in the UK. A follow-up image taken at the Pitt Rivers Museum was posted the next day, and then a third photo showed a gloved hand working on what looks like a timepiece.

The secret mission, it turns out, was to send Ingrid Peters to the Royal Observatory, Royal Museums Greenwich, to have their experts examine a pocket watch from the NHS collection. The Royal Observatory’s curator of Horology Rory McEvoy confirmed that the watch was not just a watch, but rather fourth in a series of five precision marine chronometers made by watchmaker John Arnold to calculate longitude. It was made around 1772. The third of the series is the only other one in the series known to have survived, and it’s in the British Museum.

John Arnold was born in 1736 in Bodmin, Cornwall, the son of watchmaker and nephew of a gunsmith. He worked for his uncle for a while, ultimately following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a highly skilled and innovative watchmaker. In 1764, just two years after opening a shop of his own in London, Arnold secured permission to present to King George III and his court the smallest repeating watch in the world. The half-quarter repeating watch cylinder escapement watch was mounted in a ring. The king and courtiers were impressed, and Arnold quickly became the watchmaker to the rich and aristocratic.

His ingenuity was put to the test in a problem that had obsessed clockmakers for decades: create a timepiece that would allow British sailors to calculate longitude while on board ship. Clockmaker John Harrison invented the marine timepiece which made it possible for the first time to calculate longitude at sea in 1759. His invention, which looked like an oversized pocket watch, took him six years to build, too long for his timepiece to be in compliance with the 1714 Longitude Act‘s requirement that construction of the device be practical as well as accurate. The whole point, after all, was for every ship in the Royal Navy to have one, so production had to streamlined.

In 1767, the Board of Longitude published a detailed illustrated description of Harrison’s clock, The Principles of Mr. Harrison’s Timekeeper, and spread it around to inventors in the hope that one of them might figure out a way to build a faster, better mousetrap, as it were. Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne gave Arnold a copy hot off the presses. He went his own way, creating a different device he presented to the Board in 1771. It was a clock in a mahogany box, and three of them were put to the test by Captains James Cook and Furneaux during Cook’s second voyage to the southern Pacific in 1772-1775.

Arnold’s were not very effective — only one of them survived the voyage in some semblance of working order — so he turned to pocket marine timekeepers instead. They worked. Captain Constantine Phipps, 2nd Baron Mulgrave, took one with him to the North Pole in 1773 and it performed like a champ. The Newport Historical Society’s chronometer — a term coined by John Arnold for a precision timekeeper and still in use today — is one of these.

This watch, produced in the early 1770s while one of Arnold’s see-saw escapement timekeepers was away on sea trials features a pivoted detent escapement; others had designed such mechanisms, but Arnold’s was a technological improvement.

It has an impeccable provenance, too.

The watch was acquired by Peleg Clarke in 1792. Clarke was a descendant of one of Newport’s first English settlers and wealthy merchant of the American colonial period who likely bought the watch from Arnold during a trip to London. He was an eyewitness to the Boston Tea Party and recorded his impressions in a letter now also in the society’s collections. The watch was passed down in the Clarke family for over 200 years, as a pocket watch, until it was donated to the society in 1997.

Arnold & Son, the company John Arnold founded in the 1787 with his clockmaker son, John Roger Arnold, is still in business today, and still makes marine chronometers, now in wrist watch form rather than pocket watch.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Unofficial Mudthaw Court Report

East Kingdom Gazette - Thu, 2016-04-07 21:25

The following is the court report from Mudthaw held by Their Majesties Brennan Ri and Caoilfhionn Banri on April 2, AS L.  Court heralds were Master Malcolm Bowman, Mistress Kayleigh MacWhyte, Master Ryan MacWhyte, and Baron Yehuda ben Moshe.

Filed under: Court

Share the Knowledge! How to Turn Your A&S Project Into a Class

AEthelmearc Gazette - Thu, 2016-04-07 11:38

From Mistress Alicia Langland, Chancellor of the Æthelmearc Æcademy:

Were you one of the many artisans who devoted uncounted hours to researching, crafting, and documenting your Ice Dragon entry?

Photo by Lady Aine ny Allane.

So much time and effort went into your piece … Wouldn’t it be nice to have all that work transcend a single event?

Why not have your Pent entry do double duty by using what you’ve created as the basis for a class?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Historical Background Class

The research you did for your entry provides you with the historical background and practices needed to understand who, when, where, why, and how someone in the Middle Ages would have crafted your item.  This information would also be of interest to students in a class.  In a Historical Background class based on your research, you might include information about:
  • the item’s time period, culture, or geographical area
  • the artifact, illustration or painting, historical document, or website that inspired your work
  • how your item would have been produced in the Middle Ages or Renaissance
  • additional books, websites, and other sources you used for researching your project

Sharing this information will speed your students on their way toward creating their own versions.

How-I-Did-It Class Chances are, as you created your item, you had to make decisions along the way.  A class in which you describe in detail the decisions you made — about tools, materials, and procedures — would be of immense help to someone who’s always wanted to try doing what you’ve accomplished.  In a How-I-Did-It class based on your entry, you might include information about:
  • what tools and materials you used to make your item, why you chose them, and where you obtained them (If you made the tools you used, include how you did that as well!)
  • what techniques you used and why you used them
  • any particular steps you would change if you were to do this project again

Especially helpful — in addition to your finished project, of course — would be any practice pieces or missteps.  Sharing problems to avoid or solutions that worked for you would give your students confidence that they, too, can be successful.

Make-and-Take Class

With the knowledge and skills gained by creating your entry, you can help others make their own great thing.  By providing tried-and-tested materials and demonstrating recommended techniques, you can help your students avoid time-consuming and costly mistakes.  In a Make-and-Take class based on your entry, you might provide:
  • (for a reasonable fee) supplies and materials needed to make the item
  • loaner tools needed to make the item
  • step-by-step instructions needed to make the item

If you took progress photos of your entry as you worked on it, these would provide you with a step-by-step format to follow in your class.  Sharing the photos with the class would help visual learners — those who learn best by seeing — understand and remember what you’ve said.  They would also serve as a reminder for students who continue working after the class is over.

You’ve already done so much work to create your piece … in fact, much of the work of putting together a class is already done!

If you have questions about how to turn your Ice Dragon entry into a class, please contact me at ae.aecademy@aethelmearc.org

Categories: SCA news sites

Met conservators repair della Robbia that fell from wall

History Blog - Thu, 2016-04-07 02:00

Late on the night of June 30th or early in the morning of July 1st, 2008, a blue-and-white glazed terracotta relief of Saint Michael the Archangel by Andrea della Robbia (1435-1525) on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art fell from its metal wall mounts high on a wall above a doorway and crashed to the ground. A security guard found the lunette the next morning on its back on the stone floor, broken into many pieces. The gallery was closed and conservators picked up the pieces, some large — Michael’s head was undamaged — and some as small as fingernails. The pieces were bagged and numbered and removed to the museum’s Department of Objects Conservation later that day.

The Met hasn’t had the greatest luck with the mounting of their Renaissance masterpieces. At least they were able to puzzle out this jigsaw in seven years. The fall of Tullio Lombardo’s Adam in 2002 was even more catastrophic; it took 12 years to put all of his pieces back together. The museum notes all wall-mounted sculpture was reviewed after the accident, and new systems — comprehensive and regular inspections, formal approval of all mounts — were put in place to prevent something like this happening again.

Andrea della Robbia’s uncle Luca (1400-1482), who in his youth had an illustrious career a sculptor in bronze and marble, invented the blue and white tin-based glazes that made terracotta reliefs exceptionally durable, easy to clean and impervious to the vagaries of the weather. The glazed earthenware pieces were significantly less expensive than marble or bronze, and since they looked so good and needed so little care, soon della Robbia reliefs were in great demand. Luca’s clients included some of the most important people and institutions in Florence — Piero de’ Medici, Jacopo de’ Pazzi, the Duomo — and elsewhere.

Andrea, who had learned the secret glaze recipe as his uncle’s pupil, took over operations of the della Robbia workshop on Via Guelfa in Florence in the late 1460s or early 1470s. He picked up where his uncle left off, executing high-end commissions for reliefs of increasing size and architectural importance from major private clients and churches all over northern Italy. Saint Michael the Archangel was made around 1475 for the church of San Michele Arcangelo in Faenza, a town outside Ravenna known for its majolica pottery. In fact, the town is literally synonymous with majolica tin-glazed earthenware which became known as faience after Faenza. The relief was installed above the church door and remained there until 1798 when the church was demolished and Saint Michael the Archangel sold.

The Met acquired the piece in 1960 at an auction of the estate of American industrialist and diplomat Myron C. Taylor for $40,000 (about $320,000 today). The museum has one of the most important collections of della Robbia works in the United States, including an exquisite Virgin and Child. Saint Michael, however, is probably the most important of all.

There was an upside to the crash. Conservators were able to study the relief thoroughly before they went about reassembling the pieces. They found the artist’s finger and tool marks which shed new light on della Robbia’s production process. The workshop made quality artworks for refined and wealthy clients, but it also had to crank out new pieces at a canter to keep up with demand. Conservators found evidence of this in Saint Michael’s robe. It was made separately and then attached to the lunette, but the toga cracked during firing. Instead of starting over again — a time-consuming and expensive approach — they stuck it back together. It was going above a door, after all, and nobody was going to be at eye-level to see the tiny fissure lines.

The sculpture was originally made in 12 interlocking pieces. While conservators Wendy Walker and Janis Mandrus reassembled the broken pieces and filled in the areas of paint loss, conservation preparator Fred Sager developed a custom mount that secured each of the 12 sections individually to an aluminum backing plate. This makes it safer while still allowing visitors to enjoy the entire composed piece.

The most challenging part of the restoration, Ms. Walker said, was the in-painting between repaired cracks — trying to recreate the signature cobalt della Robbia blue that the critic Walter Pater described as being like “fragments of the milky sky itself, fallen into the cool streets.”

“In the morning it would look good,” she said of the modern paint, “and by noon, in a different light, you’d see and go, ‘No!’ and just want to pull your hair out.”

But another lesson the accident taught, in the end, was how durable della Robbias were made to be, despite their humble, seemingly fragile clay origins. St. Michael’s head, for example, was completely unharmed after its violent detachment the night of the fall.

“For hundreds of years, this was outside, in the elements, protected by its glaze,” Mr. Bell said. “And the amazing thing about these ceramics is that the surface still looks pretty much the same as the day it came out of the kiln.”

The relief is now back in the Met’s European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Galleries, but this time it’s been mounted about at eye level to allow visitors to get a proper look at della Robbia’s amazing details, like the facial expressions and the little babies on the scale. They’re actually souls, not babies, weighed on the scales of justice and mercy. The happy light-weight one is saved for heaven; the facepalming heavy one is doomed to hell.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

East Kingdom Server Planned Outage Notice

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2016-04-05 19:08

“The East Kingdom Server will undergo a planned upgrade during the late evening of Wednesday, 4/6/2016.

This is the third in a series of planned updates this year. (The second update did not require an interruption of services, and was performed last Thursday.)

We will be migrating from our current level of service “Linode 8GB” to the next tier of service “Linode 16GB” with the same Hosting service, which will appear to be seamless to the populace. This will be expanding our available resources and offer a better user experience.

Time Frame 9:00pm-12:30am Eastern Time

This is expected to run for 144 minutes. (I am giving it extra time in case anything happens and a recover is required.)

During this time frame all East Kingdom services will be unavailable to the populace.  Tools that backbone or pull from the server will also be affected (IE: Email, Help Desk, List Server, etc).”

For more information on the EK Server upgrade, please see the EK Webminister’s notice.

Filed under: Announcements, Official Notices