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Portrait attributed to Leonardo seized from Swiss bank vault

History Blog - Thu, 2015-02-12 08:16

Italian financial police and the Carabinieri art theft squad teamed up with Swiss federal authorities Monday to seize a painting some believe to be a lost portrait of Isabella d’Este by Leonardo da Vinci from a bank vault in Lugano, Switzerland. Clandestine sale negotiations were ongoing when the police nabbed the work. The top asking price was 120 million euros ($135.9 million). Prosecutor Manfredi Palumbo said at a press conference that there are 70 people of interest in this investigation, all potentially part of a large illegal art smuggling ring attempting to move multiple works out of Italy into the black market.

The painting was found as a result of a fortuitous encounter during an unrelated investigation last August. The finance police in Pesaro, a town on the northeast coast of Italy in the Marche region, were looking into an insurance fraud case when they discovered documents indicating the portrait was in Switzerland. The finance police teamed up with the Carabinieri and tracked down the painting in the private vault of a Lugano trust. There’s some raw footage of the bust here. All that teal makes for a pretty sad looking Swiss bank vault.

This isn’t the paintings first sojourn in a Swiss vault. When the news of it first emerged in October of 2013, the portrait was one of 400 artworks kept in a Swiss bank by an anonymous Italian family who claimed the collection had been in Switzerland since the early 20th century. Completely unpublished and undocumented, of course, because that’s how Swiss private collections like it. Family lore whispered of it being Leonardo’s portrait of Isabelle d’Este so finally around 2009 or so, likely in advance of sale, they began intensive research on the piece. Radiocarbon dating found that the work was painted between 1460 and 1650; X-ray fluorescence found that the primer and pigments are consistent with those used by the Renaissance master. UCLA emeritus art history professor and Leonardo expert Carlo Pedretti enthusiastically authenticated the portrait as Leonardo’s work.

The question of whether Leonardo ever painted a portrait of Isabella d’Este has been much debated by art historians over the centuries. In December of 1499, Leonardo da Vinci fled Milan after the city was conquered by the French and his patron Duke Ludovico Sforza was overthrown. On the way to Venice, he stopped in Mantua where he was welcomed by Isabella d’Este, wife of Francesco II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua, who had met the artist at the double wedding where she married Francesco and her sister Beatrice d’Este married Ludovico Sforza. (Leonardo had actually designed some costumes for a joust held as part of the wedding celebrations.) He wasn’t in town for long, but Leonardo did make the time to draw a portrait of Isabella in black, red, white and ochre chalk on paper. He made at least two sketches of her portrait profile. One he took with him to Venice; the other he gave to Isabella’s husband Francesco Gonzaga. Multiple letters from Isabella to Leonardo asking him to make a painting from the sketch have survived, but there is no evidence that he ever did so. Isabella also asked him to make her another drawing after her husband gave hers away in 1501, but there’s no evidence he did that either. The sketch Leonardo gave to Gonzaga is now lost. The sketch he brought with him is now in the permanent collection of the Louvre.

The discovery of an oil painting undeniably modeled after the drawing sparked much discussion as other experts disagreed with Pedretti’s attribution. One glaring issue is that the portrait is on canvas while Leonardo and his school used wood panels. This would be the only known work he ever did on canvas. It’s also a remarkably accurate match to the sketch considering that it was ostensibly painted years after the drawing was done (Pedretti posits that it was painted in 1514 when Leonardo met Isabella again in Rome). Then there are the quality concerns. Parts of it — the crown and that atrocious palm frond she’s holding — are clearly not the work of the master.

Just to add another layer of labyrinthine complexity to this case, recall that the news of the Isabella portrait broke in the Corriere della Sera’s Sette magazine the first week of October, 2013. Less than two months earlier on August 27th, 2013, Pesaro police received a tip that a local lawyer, Sergio Shawo, was found in possession of a letter from one Emidia Cecchini, the 70-year-old putative owner of the portrait, in which she exhorts him to sell the painting for no less than 95 million euros ($107 million). By Italian law, all art works more than 50 years old cannot leave Italy without a special export license and there was no license pertaining to the portrait. Pesaro authorities asked their Swiss colleagues to execute a search warrant on the Swiss bank vault where the painting was believed to be kept, but they were unable to find it there.

So when all the big publicity about this incredible find in the Swiss vault was going down with the dueling experts and the lab testing and all that, as far as authorities were concerned at least, the painting was actively on the lam. Police suspected it had been smuggled back into Italy in a dastardly game of keep-away, and indeed it may have been before returning to Switzerland the next year where it cropped up in that insurance fraud case.

The painting is still in Switzerland for now where it will stay until legal ownership can be determined. Cecchini, the nice old lady in reduced circumstances whose grandparents put together so fine an art collection, may be the legitimate owner trying to win the lottery by the illegal export and sale of her property, or that whole 400 paintings in a Swiss vault since the early 1900s story may be a complete and total fabrication to cover an art smuggling conspiracy. Two art dealers are under investigation for involvement in this case, and they were looking to sell other Old Master works at the same time.

Once ownership is established, the Italian authorities want the painting back in Italy. Until then, additional authentication research is on hold.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Announcement from the East KRM

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2015-02-11 23:59
Unto the Kingdom of the East do I, Don Frasier MacLeod send greetings, I am writing today to announce the filling of my Experimental Deputy position.  I received several outstanding resumes from many highly qualified candidates, and I am pleased to announce that Baroness Alesone Gray of Cranleigh will be taking over the duties of the Experimental Deputy position, effective immediately.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing Experimental Deputy, Don Pascual Del Mar.  I ask you all to welcome Baroness Alesone and give her all the support you can muster.  Welcome Baroness Alesone!! In Service, Don Frasier MacLeod, KRM, East
Filed under: Fencing

The Diversity of Equestrian Activities

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-02-11 21:56

As an active equestrian, and marshal, in the SCA, I have often been asked: What types of activities do you do with your horses in the SCA? I have written articles about the various equestrian activities practiced in the SCA. But what people often want to know is: What type of weapons do you use and what level of skill is required to be an excellent SCA equestrian? This simple question does not lead to a quick or simple answer, for SCA equestrians participate in numerous and diverse activities. In fact, equestrians participate in every area of martial activity that we currently have approved for participants in our Society. Competitions often involve many of these diverse activities. Therefore, the more successful equestrians have studied and learned a wide variety of weapons systems and skills, and are not limited to a single weapon style.

The martial horsemanship skill tests (commonly called “Games”) require a rider to learn to handle a sword and lance, much as a knight was trained in the Middle Ages. The sword is used to strike at opponent-type targets, requiring strength, while other targets such as the Reeds require more precise handling and speed. Maces are used for some of these activities as well. Equestrians engage in a variety of combat on horseback. This includes a form of heavy rattan fighting known as Mounted Combat where the sword is slightly padded to protect the horse from serious injury. Mounted combatants fight in the Single Sword style as well as Sword and Shield. There is a lighter form of fighting which has been in the program for many years, known as Crest Combat. In this type of combat, the only legal target is the crest mounted on a rider’s helmet. This type of combat is challenging in that there is only one target area to defend, making it much more difficult to score successful hits.

Sir Graedwynn utilizing the sword during last year’s Kingdom Equestrian Championship.

The lance, a weapon unique in the SCA to the equestrian program, is used to skewer rings, requiring point control and precision. The heavier Quintain lances require considerable more upper body and arm strength, and their use requires the rider to control the long lance during precise targeting. Follow through is needed to prevent being struck in the back by a well-designed Quintain. Spears are used to target objects on the ground, replicating the hunt and battle.

THL Meadhbh successfully striking the Quintain.

Recently, Rapier and Cut & Thrust activities have been added to the equestrian program (though at this point only on an Experimental level). This activity is based on the Unarmored Combat or Historical Combat as practiced in Caid and other Kingdoms. (Æthelmearc has recently been approved for this activity as well.) Equestrians use the longsword or arming sword in recreating the type of combat found in historical training documents such as the Fiore and Ringeck manuscripts. With the approval of this activity, equestrians have gained another area in which to gain expertise while mounted.

Mistress Ysabeau Tiercelin on Fauna doing Mounted Archery

Many of these weapons (with the obvious exception of the lance) are seen on the heavy list or rapier field.  Equestrians use weapons which participants in the Thrown Weapons and Archery programs commonly use as well. This includes javelins which are thrown at a variety of targets and bows identical to those seen on the target archery range. Mounted archery presents horse archers with a real challenge as they must shoot from a moving platform.

Lady Rowena throwing a javelin








Most people think of Jousting whenever they think of medieval riding, and the SCA equestrians can participate in two forms of this activity. One type uses a lance with a breakable foam tip and the rider is required to handle the lance accurately in order to strike a well scored hit. Wood Tip Jousting is still in the Experimental phase in the SCA, and requires substantial armor. The armor used by many participants in this activity closely approximates the full plate armor seen in use during the late period of the Middle Ages. The wooden lances are heavy and this level of Jousting requires a high degree of strength, skill and lance control. Riders must learn not only to handle their weapon, but also to maintain their balance while riding in armor. The helms used for Wood Jousting have small apertures for safety reasons, which greatly limits a rider’s vision and their armored hands limit their ability to feel the reins. These factors make Jousting, in either form, a challenging activity requiring a great deal of training and practice.

Training the War Horse.

All these weapons skills must be exercised in addition to the rider’s use of advanced horsemanship and equitation skills to remain balanced on the horse’s back, without interfering with their mount, and also guiding that horse into the most advantageous position. Maneuvering while mounted requires a high degree of horsemanship in order to effectively use these various weapons. Riders must guide their horses with the use of a single hand on the rein and through the use of leg cues and shifts of weight. Riders who can turn their horses smoothly and efficiently have a distinct advantage when navigating a complex horsemanship course, in order to engage a variety of targets. Mounted combatants who can position their horses in an advantageous position can more easily hit an opponent, and present a more difficult target for their opponent. Bold riders will often have the advantage in both combat and horsemanship skill tests.  Those who are fearless and confident in their balance and abilities can more quickly turn and move their horses.

SCA equestrians must also exercise the skills of a horse trainer. It is said that every time an equestrian is mounted on their horse, or even interacting with it on the ground, they are training the horse. In other words, they do not need to be a professional trainer to train their horse. SCA horses are often referred to as war horses because they must be trained to perform the same skills as the war horse of the medieval period. This includes tolerating the sounds of combat, the quick movement of weapons near their heads and bodies, and the noise and weight of an armored rider. This is only acquired through countless hours in the arena. A great deal of time must be spent training the warhorse, practicing maneuvering actions and achieving a high level of communication and harmony with the horse.

SCA equestrians must learn to master numerous weapons, their horses and just as importantly, themselves. This wide variety of activities presents the participants with many opportunities to test both themselves and their horses. It is both challenging and rewarding. I hope that you, the reader, will come out and watch these skilled riders and their magnificent war horses as they perform these varied and diverse activities.  And that you will consider joining us!

 By Shishido Tora (Gozen)

Categories: SCA news sites

Estrella War XXXI Collegium

SCAtoday.net - Wed, 2015-02-11 12:10

Estrella War is fast approaching and we are still in need of instructors for the collegium. If you have a skill or talent you could pass on to the populace, please consider teaching at Estrella War XXXI. 

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

College of 3 Ravens 2015 – Tentative Class List

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2015-02-11 09:37

Is the winter getting you down?  Are you looking for a new skill to acquire or to learn something new about medieval history and life?  The College of 3 Ravens has an interesting offering of classes to help cast off those winter blues.  If your interests run towards Dance, Scribal Arts, Teaching, Culture, or Fiber Arts, you will find something to pique your interest.  And that is just a sampling of the classes being taught at this year’s event.  If you are interested in sharing your own knowledge, there is still room on the schedule.

The Æthelmearc Gazette is pleased to pass along this missive from the Chancellor of Classes for the College of 3 Ravens regarding the tentative list of classes.

To the populace of Sylvan Æthelmearc does Lady Kadlin Sigvaldakona, Chancellor of Classes for the College of 3 Ravens, send Greetings!

The  class list can be found at http://1drv.ms/1EVGE5g

While this will fill the schedule quite a bit, there is still space for a few more classes if you wish to teach.  For those who have already signed up to teach, please let me know if I need to make any corrections.  My hope is to have a tentative time/room schedule posted by the weekend.


The College of 3 Ravens, which is hosted by the Barony of Threscore, will be held on February 21, 2015 at the Western Presbyterian Church, located at 101 E. Main St, Palmyra, NY 14622.  Event information can be found at  http://www.aethelmearc.org/eventinfo.php?event=1001

For further information about the classes being offered, to teach or update class information, the Chancellor of Classes, Lady Kadlin Sigvaldakona can be contacted at kadlin@thescorre.org – please include“C3R” in the subject line.

Categories: SCA news sites

Magna Carta found in Kent library scrapbook

History Blog - Wed, 2015-02-11 06:59

An exemplar of the 1300 edition of Magna Carta has been discovered in a Victorian-era scrapbook in the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone, Kent, southeast England. The newly discovered parchment is almost two feet long, but it is not in good condition. Moisture has claimed about a third of the document — a vertical strip down the middle is gone — and the royal seal of King Edward I is missing. Still, with so few exemplars surviving (there are only seven of the 1300 issue), even a damaged one is an exceptional find.

The document was discovered by Dr. Mark Bateson, Kent County Council’s community history officer, while he was looking for another medieval royal charter at the behest of University of East Anglia professor Nicholas Vincent, Principal Investigator for the Magna Carta Project, a wide-ranging study of the seminal charter limiting the rights of kings in anticipation of the 800th anniversary of its issue by King John at Runnymede on June 15th, 1215. Vincent asked Bateson to look up Sandwich’s original copy of the Charter of the Forest, a complementary charter to Magna Carta asserting public rights of access to royal forests first issued by John’s son King Henry III on November 6th, 1217. As the Kent History and Library Centre contains the county’s historic archives, a vast treasury of almost 9 miles of historical documents going back as far as 699 A.D., Bateson searched there for the Forest Charter.

He found it pressed in a scrapbook put together by E. Salisbury, a British Museum official, in the late 19th century. This particular edition of the Charter of the Forest was issued to Sandwich in 1271. Turning the page, Bateson saw another medieval parchment and recognized it as Magna Carta. The 1300 issue date was still visible at the bottom of the page. Professor Vincent authenticated it as genuine from its layout, the handwriting of the scribe and the details of the text which match the other surviving 1300 Magna Cartas.

Since King John was made to sign the first issue by his rebellious barons in 1215, Magna Carta was reissued multiple times to affirm and modify the enumerated rights. The 1300 reissue was the last to be distributed under the king’s seal, and the fact that Sandwich received a copy may indicate Magna Carta was more widely distributed to smaller towns and ports than previously thought. Sandwich was one of the Cinque Ports, a confederation of five coastal towns who maintained fleets of ships for the monarch in return for tax breaks and a number of self-government rights. Richard the Lionheart landed in Sandwich in 1194 upon his return to England after the extortionate ransom demanded by his captor, Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, was paid. The only other Cinque Ports town known to have a copy of Magna Carta is Faversham. Professor Vincent hopes the discovery of the Sandwich Magna Carta may be an indication that other small towns could have one of their own squirreled away in their archives.

The fact that Sandwich has originals of both the 1300 Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest in its archives is exceptionally rare. Only one other institution, Oriel College, Oxford, has the same pair. The two go together like the proverbial horse and carriage, historically speaking. The Charter of the Forest was issued to expand upon the forest law references in Magna Carta, like a Forest Bill of Rights to Magna Carta’s Constitution. Since avid hunter William the Conqueror first established a separate forest law to keep people from messing with his personal game preserve, lands declared royal forest had expanded greatly, especially under King Richard and King John. The Plantagenet kings had claimed ever more land, some of it not even wooded but rather moor or pasture land or even villages, as royal forest and forbade traditional customs like the use of forests as common land for grazing, fishing, collecting firewood, foraging or cultivating subsistence crops. The Charter of the Forest restored these rights to free men and abolished the death penalty for taking the king’s venison. Magna Carta deals with the rights of barons, so the Forest Charter is actually the first charter to protect the rights of the regular people from aristocratic overreach.

The Charter of the Forest also bears the honor of being the cause for the coining of the epic name “Magna Carta.” The term was first used in a 1218 proclamation to distinguish the “Great Charter” from its smaller and more focused relation, the Forest Charter. In 1297, Edward I issued the two charters together in the Confirmatio Cartarum, or Confirmation of Charters, to pacify yet more unruly barons who were mad at him for taxing them. It’s of note that Sandwich received both charters even though the county of Kent had no royal forest. It suggests the two went out together as a team no matter the destination.

This is obviously a banner year for Magna Carta enthusiasts. Last week, the four surviving exemplars of the 1215 Magna Carta came together for the first time in a “unification” exhibition at the British Library. As these are very delicate documents, there was limited space for people to visit the once-in-a-millennium event so the BL went fully democratic and randomly selected 1,215 attendees from 43,715 applications received from more than 20 countries. After the all too brief three days of unification, the two Magna Cartas that do not live at the British Library permanently returned to their home bases: Salisbury Cathedral and Lincoln Cathedral. Salisbury Cathedral will host an exhibition of its own starting on March 6th. Lincoln Cathedral’s Magna Carta will be on display in a fancy new vault built at Lincoln Castle starting April 1st.

The British Library’s upcoming Magna Carta exhibition runs March 13th through September 1st, 2015. It is sponsored by legal firm Linklaters which has set up a simple and effective Magna Carta viewer where you can zoom in on a legible exemplar and read a transcript or translation of it.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Singing with the Pennsic Choirs

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2015-02-10 12:39

Article by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.

Photo by Arianna of Wynthrope

One of the oldest continuously run choirs in the SCA is the Pennsic Choir. Founded at Pennsic XVI in 1987 by Mistress Josselyn ferch Rhys of the West Kingdom, each year it brings Scadians from all over the Known World together to rehearse for a week and then perform a concert of Medieval and Renaissance choral music for the enjoyment of the Pennsic populace. Choir members have come from every Kingdom in the U.S. and Canada as well as Lochac and Drachenwald.

The Pennsic Choir

The Pennsic Choir is an open choir that anyone can join. There is no audition or requirement for prior singing experience. All you need to do is download the music from the Known World Choir website to practice in the lead-up to Pennsic, and then attend the daily rehearsals that run from 10 a.m. to 12 noon from Thursday of Peace Week through the middle of War Week. The concert is held on Thursday of War Week in the early evening at the Performing Arts Tent in the University district. If you plan to sing in the Pennsic Choir, please also go to the choir’s webpage on the Pennsic War website and register. It really helps the director to plan – if we know that we’ve got a major imbalance of certain sections, we can boost recruitment for the smaller sections. That said, well, it’s a choir, so we always need tenors!

Children, Youth, and Select Pennsic Choirs

In recent years, responding to demand from those who love choral music, the Pennsic Choir added a select, audition-based choir of 8 to 16 voices called Chorulus Pennsicus, as well as a Children’s Choir and a Youth Choir. All four choirs perform in the joint Thursday evening concert.

Directors for Pennsic 44

At Pennsic 44, three of the four Pennsic Choirs will be directed by gentles from Æthelmearc: THLord Kieran MacRae will conduct the Children’s Choir, Lady Rachel Dalicieux will direct the Youth Choir, and Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope will direct the full adult Pennsic Choir. Chorulus Pennsicus will be directed by Lord Cailin mac Aindréis of the Midrealm, who directed the adult Pennsic Choir at Pennsic 43.

Learn More

If you or your children are interested in singing with any of the Pennsic Choirs, check out the Known World Choir website. Each choir has its own page, and there are also pages with resources for those more generally interested in choral music. Music for this year’s full adult choir is already available for download, and information on rehearsal and performance schedules for all four choirs has been posted. As Pennsic approaches, the website will be updated with additional information on the songs for each of the choirs.

The video below is from the Pennsic Choir performance at Pennsic 39:

- Video by Master Robyn Solarius.

Categories: SCA news sites

Northshield 12th Night and Border Skirmish photos online

SCAtoday.net - Tue, 2015-02-10 11:25

Baroness Kateryn of the Amber Mists reports that Her Ladyship Elspeth has posted an album of photos from the recent 12th night event in the Kingdom of Northshield, as well as two albums from 2013 Border Skirmish. All albums are available on Flickr.

read more

Categories: SCA news sites

Wolsey’s Angels saved!

History Blog - Tue, 2015-02-10 01:56

The Victoria & Albert Museum has successfully raised £5 million to purchase the four bronze angels made to decorate the tomb of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. In early December, the V&A campaign was still a million and a half short of the goal. I was hoping for a viral push thanks to the huge popularity of Wolf Hall on bookshelves, the stage and television, but in the end only £33,000 were raised from online donations. The total raised from the public appeal (online, phone, mail donations and sales of “Save the Wolsey Angels” buttons in the museum gift shop) was a rather meager £87,000. The Wedgwood campaign’s million pounds in public donations infected me with a dangerous and unwarranted optimism, I fear.

With such low figures from the general public, the V&A’s fundraising team must have worked overtime to coax donations out of donors.

The campaign was very much aided by a grant of £2 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund most generously contributed £500,000, and the Friends of the V&A gave £200,000; a further substantial gift was made in memory of Melvin R. Seiden, and many other private individuals and trusts, most notably the Ruddock Foundation for the Arts, also donated.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund and Art Fund donations were already counted in early December, so it seems like those individuals and trusts with the less conspicuous but still significant contributions pulled through in the home stretch. That’s a great thing, because the loss of these statues would have been a damn crime.

Cardinal Wolsey commissioned Florentine sculptor and architect Benedetto da Rovezzano, famous for his religious and funerary sculptures, to design and build his tomb in 1524. The meter-high bronze angels were created to hold candles atop four pillars on the corners of the black marble sarcophagus that would hold the cardinal’s remains. Wolsey’s political downfall in 1529 and death on the way to his treason trial in 1530 left his extensive properties in the hands of King Henry VIII. Henry decided to keep the parts of the tomb that had been finished for his own tomb and commissioned Rovezzano to make him an even fancier one than Wolsey had planned.

It was unfinished at the time of the king’s death in 1547. The remaining Tudor monarchs all made noises about completing their father’s tomb, but it never did happen. Then the Civil War came and the Parliamentarian penchant for converting the trappings of monarchy into cash saw the angels sold off. They disappeared for more than three centuries. We now know that some time during those 330 or so years, all four angels made their way to Harrowden Hall in Northamptonshire. When stately home was acquired by the Wellingborough Golf Club in 1975, the angels were on posts flanking the entrance gates.

Two of the angels were stolen from their perches in 1988, after which the survivors were brought indoors. The stolen ones wound up at a Sotheby’s auction in 1994. Their true history was lost — the catalog described them as bronze angels “in the Renaissance style” — and they sold for £12,000. They were finally returned to their illustriousness by Italian art historian Francesco Caglioti. He found them with a Paris antiques dealer and identified them from a detailed description of them in a 1530 inventory of Wolsey’s property. In 2008, he found their sisters at the Wellingborough Golf Club.

So even though the two Paris angels were stolen property, there was no way for the UK to claim them legally on account of the statute of limitations and conflicting laws in different countries. The Paris dealer offered his pair to the V&A for £2.5 million and the golf club offered its pair for the same price.

Now that justice has been purchased at so small cost, the Wolsey Angels will be taken off public display temporarily. They will be studied, analyzed and conserved and then will find their permanent new home on view with all apposite honors at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Applications for East Kingdom Chatelaine

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2015-02-09 21:56

The following announcement has been received from Mistress Vienna de la Mer.

Good Gentles of the East, pay heed –

My term as East Kingdom Chatelaine will expire on April 1, 2015.  Applications of those interested in the office will be considered at this time. Please submit a letter of intent, along with copies of your SCA and mundane resumes to King Edward, Queen Thyra, Mistress Mercedes (the East Kingdom Seneschal), and myself.

If you are interested in applying for this position and are not familiar with the duties of the Kingdom Chatelaine, I encourage you to contact me.

It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with the local Chatelaines and my staff to welcome newcomers to our great hobby.

In love and service,
Mistress Vienna de la Mer
East Kingdom Chatelaine.

Filed under: Official Notices Tagged: officers

Exchequer Reports Due

East Kingdom Gazette - Mon, 2015-02-09 19:45
The following message is from Maestra Ignacia la Ciega, East Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer. Greeting unto all the exchequers of the East Kingdom. Many groups have not sent in completed the End of Year reports. By my estimate less than half of the groups have sent in the the fourth quarter 2014 report. If you have not sent in a completed Q4 report, you need to do that now. Groups that do not have a bank account need to file the negative report each quarter; that form is on the exchequer website. While some groups have contacted the regional deputies for additional time, that is not the case for most groups. All exchequer warrants are renewed on Feb 15, based on a timely and complete Q4 report being submitted. The reporting requirements from the exchequer webpage are below. Q1=Jan, Feb, March: due April 30; Q2=April, May, June: due July 31; Q3=July, Aug, Sept: due October 31; Q4/EOY=Oct, Nov, Dec: due January 31. The reports should be sent to your local Seneschal, Regional Deputy Exchequer and Kingdom Exchequer and include:
  • All event reports not previously sent
  • All bank statements for the quarter
  • All cancelled checks (front only) for the quarter
  • A ledger, cumulative to the quarter being reported
  • A complete and balanced SCA Financial report, cumulative to the quarter being reported

Event reports are due 30 days after the event, to the Regional Deputy and the Kingdom Exchequer. This should include the check for the Kingdom’s portion of the profits for Kingdom level events.

Non Member Surcharge reports are due to the NMS Deputy within 14 days after the event. The NMS check is due to the NMS Deputy within 30 days after the event.

In Service,

Maestra Ignacia la Ciega,

Penny Supina

East Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Exchequer

A Celebration of Rapier!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2015-02-09 13:33

A Celebration of Rapier

Please join the Shire of Heronter in Celebration of the Art of Rapier. On May 1st, come join us as we celebrate the birth of a new peerage.

The site is a merely a deep lunge from Crown Tournament, so no need to miss that either. This event will take place on May 1, 2015 in the Shire of Heronter. Site opens at 3:00pm and the main hall closes at 11:00pm. This event will be held at Camp Timbercrest 11169 Moore Rd; Randolph, New York 14772

Stewards for the Event are Baroness Margerite Eisenwald (Jennifer Stendahl, 523 Winsor Street Jamestown NY 14701, 716-338-8184, projectmeek@gmail.com) and Lady Thora ni Drukkard (ladythora@yahoo.com). Reservations will be conducted online via facebook or electronic mail.

The Shire of Heronter is well aware that there is another Kingdom event the next day and thus will not be charging a site fee for the evening’s activities. As there is no site fee (although donations gladly accepted) there is no NMS.

We will be providing a sideboard for which there is a $5.00 fee. There may also be bunks available for a cost of $5.00 a bunk, for one night only). These fees will be collected on site only.

Categories: SCA news sites

SCA Board of Directors - Meeting Schedule

SCAtoday.net - Mon, 2015-02-09 11:22

The Board of Directors of the Society for Crative Anachronism has announced the location and time of the next BoD meeting.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Restored Berthouville Treasure at the Getty

History Blog - Mon, 2015-02-09 07:36

For the first time since it was discovered in 1830, the entire Berthouville Treasure, a group of exceptional Roman silver objects, has left France and is on display at the Getty Villa in Malibu. Ancient Luxury and the Roman Silver Treasure from Berthouville exhibits the complete 93-piece treasure — which includes a statue of Mercury, elaborately decorated silver pitchers and cups, a repoussé silver jug, plain silver beakers, a spoon collection and a number broken handles, rims and fittings — along with a selection of luxurious jewels, like the eight gold, emerald, pearl and amethyst necklaces of the Treasure of Naix, all on loan from the Département des Monnaies, Médailles et Antiques (the department of coins, medals and antiques) of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

On March 21st, 1830, farmer Prosper Taurin was working his field in Berthouville, near Bernay, Normandy, when his plowshare jammed against an ancient Roman tile. Once dislodged, the tile was found to be protecting a trove of 95 or so Roman silver and gold objects buried only eight inches beneath the soil. Weighing a total of 55 pounds, the stand-out pieces were two statuettes of the god Mercury and about 60 vessels.

Several of the vessels were incscribed with votive dedications to Mercury, including a group of nine ultra deluxe gilded silver vessels — a pair of wine pitchers with scenes from the Trojan War, a pair of drinking cups decorated with scenes of centaurs, a pair of drinking cups with masks, a silver and gold beaker with scenes from the story of Corinth and Isthmia, a large bowl with a central medallion of Omphale and Eros laying on Hercules’ Nemean lion skin and a ladle decorated with Mercury, a goat and a tree — made in the 1st century. These nine pieces all bear the inscription “MERCVRIO AVGVSTO Q DOMITIVS TVTVS EX VOTO,” or “To August Mercury from Quintus Domitius Tutus as vowed,” and are superlatively high quality silver and gold work from 1st century Italy.

Subsequent archaeological excavations of the site in 1861 and 1896 found two temples, a theater and hypocaust-heated rooms: a Gallo-Roman sanctuary built in at least two stages. One of the temples was dedicated to the important Romanized Gallic deity Mercury Canetonensis, the same god name-checked in the vessels’ votive inscriptions. The other was dedicated either to his mother Maia or his wife Rosmerta. The hoard was buried under the brick paving in the gallery of the sanctuary.

Archaeologists did not encounter evidence of a town or cemetery in the vicinity of the sanctuary, so it seems likely to have been a pilgrimage site. The objects date from the 1st to the late 2nd centuries A.D. and are therefore thought to have been buried in the late 2nd, early 3rd century. They could have been buried for their own preservation during turbulent times, but given the context they may have been cached for ritual purposes rather than under extremis.

Taurin put the treasure in the hands of a local nobleman who prevented archaeologists from examining it. An expert from the Louvre and one from the Cabinet des Médailles of the Bibliothèque Royale, today the Département des Monnaies, Médailles et Antiques of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, were allowed access to the group to arrange a sale. The Cabinet acquired the treasure for 15,000 francs, a modest sum even then. At the library in Paris the objects were cleaned and the fragments that could be puzzled back together were. There the Berthouville Treasure remained (with some individual pieces taking occasional short trips elsewhere in France) for 180 years.

In December of 2010, the whole treasure was shipped to the Getty Villa for an extensive program of documentation, analysis, research, cleaning and conservation. Each of the 93 objects (plus four unrelated platters from late antiquity in the Cabinet collection) were photographed and X-rayed to assess their condition and for evidence of how they were manufactured. After a metallurgic study, conservators began to clean the surface of the vessels with simple damp cotton swabs. The grime and dust removal promptly revealed gilding and inscription details that had long been obscured. Further progress was made with mild cleansers and solvents like acetone and ethanol which were able to remove the thick tarnish layers, accretions and corrosion that the 19th century conservation had been unable to budge.

The restoration project took four years to complete and the beautiful results are now on display in California. The exhibition runs at the Getty Villa through August 17th, 2015, after which it returns to Paris whose citoyens will get a chance to see the treasure clean and shiny for the first time.

Here’s a nifty video from the Getty conservation team on how Roman silversmiths would have made the Cup of the Centaurs.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Three Ravens Feast Menu

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2015-02-08 20:05

Have you registered for College of Three Ravens which will take place on February 21 in Thescorre yet?

Your paid feast reservation must be made by Sunday the 15th to secure a seat. Note that there are many gluten-free options, but you must let the head chef know beforehand. Please use this link:

We now have a delicious menu for the “Tour across Europe” Feast provided by
Baroness Nezah with assistance from Lady Elzbieta and Lord Andrew:

The Tour across Europe Feast Menu:

Shredded Chicken & Bacon (in sauce) (Portuguese)
** GF Portion will be thickened with GF Flour. (Please contact Nez)
Basmati Rice
**GF Bread upon request (contact Nez)

Beef Marinated in Garlic Wine Sauce (French)
**Beef made without wine upon request (contact Nez)
Sauteed Mushrooms and Leeks (English)
Carrots in Cumin Sauce (Roman)
Bean and Ricotta Tortellini (Italian)

Ham Pastries with Fig, Honey, and Bay Leaf (Roman)
**GF will have ham slices cooked without the pastry. (Please contact Nez)
Crustless Genovese/Herb Tart (Several Cultures, but taken from German

Fried Apples (French)
Pears in Wine Sauce (English)
Crustless Custard (English)
Salted Caramel Dates (Roman)
*******CONTAINS NUTS*********

This menu is obviously subject to change, based on what is available and
reasonably priced. ALSO: Please be sure that you’ve contacted Nez if
you have any dietary concerns. She will do her best to work around just about
anything. Please contact her by 2/15/15 so that we can be sure to
account for you in our plans. If you haven’t heard back from her, but think
 she knows you’re coming, please check in with her again to be sure. Thanks!!!


We hope to see you in Thescorre 2/21/15 at College of Three Ravens!  A
class schedule will be released soon as well.

Yours in Service,
Lady Mairghread Stiobhard Inghean uí Choinn
(Margaret Wilcox) at wilcox.margaret@gmail.com or 585-414-3748 before 8:30

Categories: SCA news sites

Incipient Heirs For Carolingia

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2015-02-08 19:03

Their Majesties have announced the successors to Fergus MacRae and Imiglia Venture as Baron and Baroness of Carolingia.  Maitresse Nicolette Bonhomme and Baron Colin Ursell will be invested on Saturday, April 4 at the German Club in Walpole, MA.  More information is available in the event announcement.

Baron Colin Ursell

Maitresse Nicolette Bonhomme


Filed under: Tidings Tagged: Carolingia

Pennsic War Financial Committee seeks candidates for Pennsic War Exchequer

SCAtoday.net - Sun, 2015-02-08 18:25

Chai'usun, Social Media & Publications Coordinator for Pennsic 44, reports that the Financial Committee is looking for candidates for Pennsic War Exchequer.

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Categories: SCA news sites

Get Your Fight On – Getting Started in Rattan Combat

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2015-02-08 13:24

This was written by Sir Tanaka Reiko in response to requests the Gazette has received for an article on how to start in rattan fighting. The Gazette thanks him for writing the article.

You watched fighting for some time now, and you’ve been amazed at the feats of arms and honor. So much so that there’s a little voice inside you saying, “do it….just do it.” Well, you should just do it. Immerse yourself in the game; try something to give you a better perspective on another aspect of this thing of ours. Pick up the gauntlet and accept your challenge.

First and foremost this activity is FUN! From the physical elation to the psychological uplift to the adrenalized kick in the pants, fighting will be exciting and enjoyable to the individual who can overcome themselves. We’re all different, how we react to the elicitation of our “fight or flight” instinct will determine how much fun this game is for you. Some love the competition, or the camaraderie. The shared challenge will bring you closer to others and yourself.

The way to start in Heavy Combat is find a practice that is relatively close to you. I say relatively because not all local groups have heavy weapon practices. Take a look at your Kingdom’s website and locate where your home group is. Contact the group’s seneschal and ask if they have a local practice when and where it may be.

The local seneschal may or may not put you in contact with their Knight Marshal. He’s the officer in charge of running practice and teaching new fighters. He will advise you to the particulars of practice–the where, when, how of it–and will be in charge of showing you the basics and the ropes of what you’re doing.

About starting the first time in Heavy Combat, you should be aware that it is physically strenuous. This should not be taken lightly. If you do nothing else but wear armor, it will send your blood pressure soaring. The typical suit of SCA armor is 30-60 lbs. Just standing in it will elevate your heart rate. So as a popular series of commercials say, check with your doctor and make sure your heart is ready for…

SCA combat is real conflict. Nothing is choreographed. The blows are meant with murderous intent. There are no weight classes or gender classes. You’re a fighter. This is daunting to some and liberating to others. If you expect to have the game dumbed down for you, please find something else to do. New fighters have to learn not only how to move in armor, but move in ways that their bodies aren’t accustomed to. The loading on your limbs is significant and constant. You need to be aware of this going in.

You will be struck. You will be hit. The blows will be hard. That is part of the game. We teach you how to calibrate the blows you are receiving. By the rules a “telling blow” is one that would have defeated the armor standard. The armor standard is a chain mail hauberk over a padded gambeson, with an open faced helm. A safety assumption in our game is impervious hand and knee armor. This all translates to being struck with force. The majority of armor will protect you from injury, but you may likely be bruised. It happens. “Rough game Quidditch”.

As you may or may not know there are two forms of Heavy Weapons List combat; The Tourney (one on one) and Melee (team on team). As a new fighter you’ll typically train in one-on-one combat to start with learning and drilling the basics. There are also multiple weapon forms that you can train in. Weapon and shield can be single handed weapon in concert with a shield, usually sword and shield but often mace or ax and shield. Two weapon which can be two swords, two maces, or two axes or any combination of them. Polearm or halberd is a bladed weapon on a pole between 4 feet and 7.5 feet in length. Two handed sword or greatsword is any sword that is wielded with two hands. Spear, which is a “thrust-only” weapon, is usually only a melee weapon. Last but not least is combat archery, which can be either a hand bow (that is a longbow or recurve bow) or a cross bow. Combat archery is a melee only weapon form.

The majority of weapons are made of rattan, which looks like bamboo but is actually a member of the Palm family. It’s lightweight, strong, and flexes under stress. As it wears the fibers come apart and rarely fails catastrophically. If it does break, it does so without jagged or pointed edges unlike hardwoods. Spears most often are made of a protruded fiberglass haft with a padded tip. Sometimes they’re made of rattan, but those spears flex a great deal.

So you show up at a practice and a knight marshal or his/her designate takes you and shows you how to do footwork, shield work, and how to throw shots with a broadsword. You don’t HAVE to start with sword and shield, but it is the best combination of offense and defense in our game. They may or may not put you in armor right away. It’s a judgment call base on how you’re doing.

As mentioned you will get hit. I suggest you get it over with early so you’re not wasting your time or money. In our game only “telling blows” count. There will be times when you’re struck or throw a blow that just isn’t good. It’s the nature of the game. Armor does defend you. So you have to hit people with significant force. You will train up to it. We do not fight with “light sabers”. You have to hit people with force. There are times you will be hit and you will be bruised. Yes, you will be hit that hard. If you don’t want to bruise, don’t play this game. Even the best get hit with murderous intent; in the beginning everybody gets hit. If you go in with excitement and a sense of adventure, it will mitigate the fear of being struck. You’ll have fun.

In the beginning you’re going to be loaned armor. Sometimes a local group has loaner armor, many times it will be off the body of another fighter. This is a rite of passage in the SCA. Expect that you’ll be hot swapping armor. Fighting is a hot sweaty affair; you’ll sweat just standing in the armor. Once you start fighting you’ll be sweating like digging ditches in Georgia in the summer; expect it and plan accordingly. Helms are the most important part of your kit. They are heavy, but intentionally so, for a heavy helmet protects your brain. The mass of the helm will protect your brain; the heavier your helmet, the more protective to your brain. If you’re thinking you want a light weight helm, go play another game for your sake and ours.

There are few activities that will sort out the practitioners from the posers faster than heavy weapons combat. Check your ego at the door, practice and learn, it’s a worthy endeavor and you will find it enlightening.

This IS a martial art. It is strenuous. It is a lot of fun.

Filed under: Heavy List

Gaugin exhibition includes $300 million painting

History Blog - Sun, 2015-02-08 04:06

The principles are being cagey about the details, but it seems that a real live Swiss private collection has sold Paul Gaugin’s Nafea Faa Ipoipo? or When Will You Marry? to Qatar for something in the neighborhood of $300 million. The 1892 painting of two young Tahitian women was sold by Rudolf Staechelin, a former Sotheby’s executive in Basel, Switzerland, who runs the family trust of 20 Impressionist and Post-Impressionists paintings collected by his grandfather, also named Rudolf Staechelin. He would neither confirm nor deny that the buyer was Qatar, but that’s what inside sources have claimed, and the oil-rich state has been famously snapping up artworks for record prices over the past years in its quest to develop a world-class museum collection. The previous record price for a painting was set when Qatar bought Paul Cézanne’s The Card Players for $250 million in 2011.

The grandson said that the works had never been hung in his family’s home because they were too precious and that he saw them in a museum along with everyone else. He has decided to sell, he said, because it is the time in his life to diversify his assets. “In a way it’s sad,” he said, “but on the other hand, it’s a fact of life. Private collections are like private persons. They don’t live forever.” [...]

“The real question is why only now?” Mr. Staechelin said of the Gauguin sale. “It’s mainly because we got a good offer. The market is very high and who knows what it will be in 10 years. I always tried to keep as much together as I could.” He added, “Over 90 percent of our assets are paintings hanging for free in the museum.”

“For me they are family history and art,” he said of the artworks. “But they are also security and investments.”

The Gaugin painting and the rest of the Staechelin collection has been on long-term loan to the Kunstmuseum Basel since the death of the first Rudolf Staechelin in 1946. The main building of the Kunstmuseum is closing this month for a major refurbishment. A selection of its masterpieces will be shown at other museums in Basel and Spain until it reopens in April of 2016. This temporary closing spurred Staechelin to seek a new loan contract with the canton. Talks did not go smoothly, and although the canton tried to get the collection back for the reopening, Staechelin cancelled the loan by invoking a provision that required the works be on public display at all times.

Now Rudolf Staechelin is looking for a new museum in which to house the collection. It has to be a top museum that can afford the security and insurance and that will accept the works on loan without a lending fee. They must also promise to blend the paintings into their permanent collection instead of grouping them together.

As for the $300 million Nafea Faa Ipoipo?, the buyer won’t take ownership until January of 2016. For now it is still in Basel, on display at a Gauguin exhibition at the Beyeler Foundation from today until June 28th. This special exhibition brings together 50 paintings and sculptures by Gaugin from museums and private collections in 13 countries. It took the museum six years to arrange so broad a show that covers Gaugin’s entire output but focuses on his work in Tahiti and the Marquesas (1891 – 1903). In returned for a loan of Picasso works, they secured a spectacular work from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston: the monumental D’où venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous? (Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?), which at 4’7″ high and 12’3″ wide almost never travels.

Another star of the show is a 1902 sculpture called Thérèse which disappeared from public view in 1980. It turns out to have been unpublished in a private collection in London. The director of the Beyeler Foundation saw it at the Lefevre Fine Art in London last October and arranged a loan of the figure for the exhibition. Thérèse is a notorious figure from Gaugin’s life. Depicting a Polynesian woman who worked for the Catholic Bishop of the Marquesas Islands Joseph Martin, Thérèse was displayed in front of the artist’s home along with a companion piece: Père Paillard, or Father Lechery. It was no mystery who those sculptures were meant to represent. Père Paillard is written clearly across its base and Monseigneur Martin had a servant named Thérèse who was one of several reputed to have been the recipient of the bishop’s sexual advances. Since the bishop repeatedly admonished Gaugin for his sexual relationships with local women, the artist expressed his opinion of the priest’s moral consistency with this pair of sculptures. Père Paillard is on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and will not be part of the Beyeler exhibition with its newly rediscovered mate, alas.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Medieval city of Ukek found in Russia

SCAtoday.net - Sat, 2015-02-07 19:37

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 750-year-old city along the volga River in Russia. Ukek, a major city of Batu Khan's Golden Horde, is believed to have been founded by the descendents of Genghis Khan.

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Categories: SCA news sites