Kingdom Arms by Robin of Thornwood Calligraphy by Robin of Thornwood Populous Badge by Robin of Thornwood


Elayna Amavia, Award of Arms

The full scroll
More Detail

More Detail
Elayna Amavia's Award of Arms scroll, by Aldith Angharad St. George

Photos by Hal Ravn,
Contribution by Aldith Angharad St. George

In AS XXIII there was a show at the UC Berkeley Art Museum, "The Art of Milan, 1450 - 1530". The marriage grant of Ludovico "Il Moro" Sforza, Duke of Milan and Bianca Sforza from c. 1499 was in the show, and it was the inspiration for this scroll. I had made studies of the border decoration from the grant, and I had a black and white reproduction of it from the show catalog. The side borders, particularly, are mostly from that.

All of the figures on the side borders are quasi-portraits of Elayna, which works nicely with the Italian Blonde look. The figure with the key is one of the Virtues, Perseverance. The key refers to Elayna's service as Seneschale of the Mists. The figure in armor is another Virtue, Fortitude. The Greek goddesses Aphrodite (left) and Diana (right) flank Elayna's device, to symbolize Beauty and Purity, which is a pretty common allegorical convention in Italy in this period.

The scroll was done on 16" x 20" Australian vellum, which had been rubbed with sandarac. The illumination was done in Winsor & Newton gouache: Cadmium Red Deep, Cadmium Red, Ultramarine Blue, Prussian Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Purple Lake, Payne's Gray, Brilliant Middle Green, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow, Bengal Rose, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Ivory Black and Zinc White. The gold was done in Pelikan cake gouache.

I got the Bronze effect by painting a base coat of Winsor & Newton Bronze gouache. The dark areas were shaded with Brilliant Middle Green + Ivory Black (to get a forest-green type shade), and the light areas were shaded with Brilliant Middle Green + Zinc White. Likewise, I shaded the gold areas with Burnt Umber.

The jewel effects are disgustingly easy. I figured out the method below looking at Italian illuminations from the 14th and 15th c. It's a simple method of a base color, dark tone and white.

  1. Draw a lozenge shape and divide it vertically and horizontally. I always assume the light is coming from the top right. It doesn't matter what the direction is, BUT BE CONSISTENT.
  2. Paint the top left and bottom right with the base color (Ultramarine Blue=sapphire, Brilliant Middle Green=emerald, Cadmium Red=ruby).
  3. Mix some black in your base color to get the dark tone, OR use Prussian Blue (sapphire), Alizarin Crimson + Ivory Black (ruby, garnet). Paint the dark tone on the bottom left.
  4. Mix a teeny bit of the base color with white, and paint the upper left. OR, paint the upper left with the base color and highlight it with white.
Pearls are Zinc White shaded with Payne's Gray.

The night sky is easy, too. Mix a little Ultramarine Blue in Prussian Blue (1:3 is a good ratio) for night sky. The Ultramarine will reduce the greeny tinge and totally neutralize the streakyness of the Prussian. Dot the stars with Zinc White.

The calligraphy was done in a 15th c. Florentine Rotunda, which I partly got from the Black Letter Primer and partly from period samples. It was done with Higgins Black India Ink, using a 1 1/2mm Brause nib. The red lettering was done with Cadmium Red gouache thinned with water to the consistency of half-and-half, which was dabbed into the pen's resevoir with a paint brush.

-- Aldith Angharad St. George

[Scroll Page]     [Main Web Page for the History]     [Who's Who]

The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).