heraldry-bks-msg - 6/7/96
Heraldry books. book reviews.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
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Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: dawyd at dasys1.UUCP (David Gurzynski)
Date: 13 Dec 89 04:46:11 GMT
Organization: The Big Electric Cat
Good Gentles of the Rialto:
I have had the pleasure to read a book which has been gathering dust
on my shelf for rather a while! This book is:
The Oxford Guide to Heraldry
by Thomas Woodcock Somerset Herald
and John Martin Robinson Fitzalan Pursuivant Extraordinary
Oxford University Press
This rather short book, only 233 pages, is quite complete and much
easier to read than the standard old standby of Fox-Davies. What I really
found to be great is that in the first two chapters there is a good
description of two theories of the origin of heraldry in Europe along with
a quite good run down of ethnic characteristics of heraldry in Europe
ranging from the Low Countries, through Spain, and Poland and Russia.
The illustrations are gorgeous and from sources which I had not seen
before. For example, the funeral certificate of Sir John Spencer of Althorp
(died 9 jan. 1599/1600) showing a standard, guidon, helm, mantling, and
crest, shield and tabard. I have previously only heard of the regalia of
heraldic funerals of this period and not seen this stuff! Some of our late
period compatriots should see some of this stuff. The color plates from
mid 16th century Garter Roll is beautiful, and the 13th century and 14th
century ordinary plates illustrate well the differing styles of the
I haven't finished reading this yet but I would highly reccomend
this book to all heralds, and to those who might be interested. Its a
good christmas or 12th Night gift for anyone! I remain,
David Gurzynski Jamaica NY dasys1!dawyd at cmcl2.nyu.edu
mka. Dawyd z Gury Ostgardr 73647.233 at compuserve.com
From: Tim Of-angle
To: Andrew Salamon
Date: 07-Jan-90 08:33pm
Subject: Re: Books on Heraldry
AS> From: salamon at sun.acs.udel.edu (Andrew Salamon)
AS> Date: 6 Jan 90 18:04:52 GMT
AS> Could someone recommend a good starters book on the art of heraldry?
"Simple Heraldry Cheerfully Explained" by Sir Ian Moncreiffe of that Ilk,
Albany Herald, and the fellow (whose name I have forgotten) who was Herald
Painter to the Court of the Lord Lyon. A small hardback, about 6 or 7 inches
square and no more than half an inch think, mostly pictures. I have
successfully taught 10-year-olds heraldry with this book, so it ought to work
even for the typical squire.
Tadhg, Star Principal Herald.
* Origin: Herald's Point (214)699-0057 Dallas TX (Steppes/Ansteorra) 124/5103
From: joshua at paul.rutgers.edu (Joshua Mittleman)
Date: 8 Jan 90 17:23:45 GMT
Organization: Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick, N.J.
Greetings from Arval!
Bleydion ap Rhys asks for some suggestions on basic heraldry
references. The most common standard reference on real-world heraldry
is A.C. Fox-Davies, "A Complete Guide to Heraldry" (Bonanza Books).
This books is widely available in bookstores and libraries, and is
owned by a good percentage of the heralds of the SCA. It is a good
introduction to English heraldry, with some material on continental
heraldry. It will teach you the names of charges, how to blazon, how
heraldry works, etc. It is a condensed version of his much longer
"Encyclopedia of Heraldry", which is a WONDERFUL source for research
on period style, but difficult for a beginner.
If you can find it, an even better introductory work is Julian
Franklyn, "Shield and Crest". It is out of print, and available only
a libraries. However, it is readable, and heavily illustrated with
real armory. One flaw in Fox-Davies' book is that the illustrations
show individual charges, not how they are combined. Franklyn's
pictures show full devices, many in color. Every illustration is
blazoned, so it is also a great way to learn English blazonry.
A couple good introductory books on Continental heraldry is Von
Volborth "Heraldry: Styles...". It is less thorough than the two
noted above, but shows a bunch of interesting styles that you won't
see in the English books.
Avoid "Boutell's Heraldry". Although it is a reasonably good survey
of British heraldry, it is absolutely the most boring thing written,
and contains a good deal of mis-information.
A good study of the historical role of the herald in European society
is Rodney Dennys, "Heralds and Heraldry". Many good pictures,
available is bookstores sometimes.
If you are feeling really serious about it, and want to read something
a little more in-depth, try flipping through Parker's "Glossary of
Terms used in Heraldry" or Woodward's "A Treatise on Heraldry British
and Foreign". Both are essentially catalogues of heraldic usage.
Parker is pretty readable, in small doses, and contains some amusing
anecdotes. Woodward is as heavy as bread-pudding, but extremely
thorough. I tried to read it once, and gave up after about 150 pages.
When reading any of this stuff, remember that SCA heraldry is not the
same as mundane heraldry. We have our own styles, restrictions, etc.
However, medieval heraldry should always be the starting and ending
Once you get a good grounding in the terminology of heraldry, I
recommend getting Compleat Anachronist #22, "Heraldry." This essay,
written by Master Marten Broeker and myself, is a discussion of
how to design heraldry for use in the SCA. I like to think it is
pretty well-written :) It cost $2, and will be in stock at the Stock
Clerk's office in a few months.
Several Kingdoms have Heralds' Handbooks, which are wonderful things.
The West, the Middle, and Atlantia (in preparation) all have pretty
good handbooks, which are available to anyone interested (I think :).
Other Kingdoms may have them. Contact a senior herald near you for
For the more advanced student, some good ways to keep a finger on the
pulse of heraldry (neat metaphors, huh?) in the SCA, are the Laurel
Letters of Acceptance and Returns (monthly, available by subscription
for $18/year) and my own Brigantia Letters of Report (monthly, $12 per
year). The former letters summarize decisions on names and armory by
the Laurel Queen of Arms, note changes in the rules, give book
reviews, etc. They are THE best source for heraldry in the SCA today.
However, they do require a firm grounding in the basics. My reports
are similar in intent, and cover only Eastern submissions, in more
detail. They come with drawings of each piece of armory. They are
primarily of interest to Easterners, but are available to anyone.
Finally, I would like to plug the East Kingdom College of Heralds' new
quarterly newsletter, "Millrind". It is a ten page (or so) newsletter
containing an assortment of articles, cartoons, and references.
Regular features are "Submission: Impassable", a selection of heraldic
puns in cartoon by Senor Alfredo el Bufon; "Out of the Ordinary", a
series of ordinaries of armory from unusual sources. It is available
to anyone by subscription for $3.00 per year. Deals are offered for
contributors. If anyone is interested, I'll send you the address of
the editor. I believe that the three back-issues are also available.
Full information will appear in the February Pikestaff.
Joshua Mittleman (joshua at paul.rutgers.edu or mittle at ibm.com)
H0-E12 T.J. Watson Research Center
PO Box 704, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
From: almond at HUSTAT.HARVARD.EDU (Russell Almond)
Date: 10 Jan 90 23:32:53 GMT
Organization: Society for Creative Anachronism
Peace be upon all from Mustapha al-Muhaddith.
I just wanted to append a few additions to Lord Brigantia's excellent
listing of heraldic sources. I believe that Fox-Davies has also put
out a book called the "Art of Heraldry" which may be of more interest
to Bleydion ap Rhys if he is trying to produces heraldic artwork.
I personally tend to use a slim volume by Oliver, I've forgotten the
title. But it has a relatively complete listing of field divisions,
ordinaries and postures for the basic charges. It is also easier to
lug to fighting practice and dance class than Fox-Davies (which must
mass a good 5 kg). It was given to me as a Chrismass gift by somebody
who always shops at a remaindered bookstore, so it could be cheap if
it is still available.
I also remember the advice given to me by Firebrand Herald when I
first expressed interest: "You can trust any author with a hypenated
--Mustapha (almond at hustat.harvard.edu)
From: Allyn O'Dubhda
To: Sionnaichan Am Diolaimadh
Date: 18-Apr-90 08:17am
Subject: Re: Two Part Question...
Your intended display seems like a good idea to me. You might want to
consider tapering the pennon some, as well. A very good source of information
about heraldic display is Gayre's _Heraldic Standards_ - it's talking about
flags and such, not rules and regulations. You will probably need to obtain
it through inter-library loan since it is long out of print and not very
From: aluko at portia.Stanford.EDU (Stephen Goldschmidt)
Date: 9 Apr 90 19:48:58 GMT
Organization: Stanford University
I now have an official price list (dated April 1st) for publications of
Free Trumpet Press, including the SCA Armorial ($25) and Ordinary ($40)
now complete through April of Year 23, six-month updates ($5 each),
proceedings of several heraldic symposia, _The Compleat Russian Name
Book_ ($10), and _The West Kingdom Heralds Handbook_ ($15).
If you get the O&A together, there is a $15 discount. There is also
a consolidated update (May 22 to April 23) for $15.
As usual, I don't represent or work for FTP, but you can always ask
mka: STephen Goldschmidt
aka: Iulstan Sigewealding
net: aluko at portia.Stanford.EDU
geo: Palo Alto, California USA
From: Jeanne-Marie_Efferding%mackinac.cmi.com at RELAY.CS.NET (Jeanne-Marie
Date: 12 Jun 90 15:31:05 GMT
Organization: Society for Creative Anachronism
Subject:Acquiring Heraldry Experience-pt.1
I'm sure that Arval, Lord Brigantia, will respond to this, but I thought I'd
squeak in my tuppence worth, too.
Heraldic consulting is a very difficult job, particularly if you live in a
culture where heraldry has been grossly misused for advertising purposes, as
it is here in the States.
In order to get a feel of good heraldic style, as Hal Ravn has suggested, get
examples of heraldry. Unfortunately, many SCA examples are not the best
I suggest these four books that every herald can use:
NOTE: Not all of thse are currently available, but they are reprinted every 3
or 4 years.
1) _Boutell's Heraldry_, revised by J.P. Brooke-Little -- runs about
currency. It is the best single book on heraldry today, in its revised form.
It is not currently in the US _Books In Print_. Any edition of it will do. The
older editions have book jackets depicting colourful and rare rolls of arms.
This book basically outlines what heraldry is, charges, uses, the College of
Arms in England, etc. It has clear, well-proportioned illustrations that are
excellent models for any heraldic artist. It is one of the few books that
describes charges and blazonry basically as the SCA does, with few exceptions.
Do not attempt to get off cheaply by selecting books that look as if they cover
the same information, such as the 6 by 8 inch books with authors like Arthur
Fox-Davies or Guy Rotherby. You will only get Victorian, i.e. corrupt, heraldic
2) _Simple Heraldry, Cheerfully Illustrated_, by Ian Montcrieffe & Don
Pottinger. Less important than the other two, but an excellent illustration of
very simple devices and the use of heraldry, plus all examples are real arms.
It is basically a children#213#s book, but I have taught and snagged many a good
future herald by handing them this book. It runs 6.95 US currency.
3) _Heraldry: Sources, Symbols and Meanings_, by Ottofried Neubecker. This
last one was remaindered in Europe recently and may still be available cheap
outside the States. It usually runs about 40.00 US currency, remaindered it's
about 12.00-15.00, but not currently in _Books In Print_. It is not really good
for teaching heraldic principles, but it is a profuse collection of heraldic
illustrations from sources throughout the ages. A passable substitute is an
abbreviated version of this
4) _Heraldic Design_ by Heather Child, is for those interested in drawing up
visually pleasing devices in correct heraldic style. This book is really
priceless to artists and very helpful to the SCA herald. Currently sold for
I also recommend The Art of Heraldry, by Arthur C. Fox-Davies, but _only_ for
the period illustrations of rolls of arms, seals, heraldic woodcuts and
heraldic architecture, the majority of which are German. Most of the
illustrations are corruptly Victorian, and the text is almost useless.
It is a huge monster of a book, and can run from 15.00-30.00 remaindered,
but 60.00 is the current list price.
Center for Machine Intelligence
Electronic Data Systems Corp.
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Internet: jeanne at cmi.com
From: 504800%UOTTAWA.BITNET at MITVMA.MIT.EDU (Bill Sanderson)
Date: 23 Aug 90 17:26:53 GMT
On Books for Beginning Heraldry:
The best book available for an overview of *good* heraldry is far and
away, _Simple Heraldry, Cheerfully Illustrated_ by the late Iain
Moncreiffe of the Ilk, late Lyon King of Arms and Don Pottinger, ??
Herald, chief heraldic artist to the Lyon court. It is intended as a
children's book, I think, but it explains heraldry in clear and concise
terms, with enough illustrated examples to make it even more clear. The
late Lyon King was appalled at the Victorianesque heraldry that his
predecessors had registered and wrote the book with the intent of
describing what he felt was good heraldry, most of which is late Middle
Ages. Because that is also the avowed purpose of the Society's College
of Arms, it is an excellent introduction to Society heraldry as well. It
is still in print in its second edition.
There are a number of other books available on heraldry, most of which
are more technical and may leave the reader confused. Some of the more
_Shield and Crest_ by Julian Franklin
_An Heraldic Alphabet_ by J.P. Brooke-Little
_The Art of Heraldry_ by A.C. Fox-Davies
There are *lots* more. Check your local library (CR and CS sections in
the Library of Congress scheme) for more books on the subject.
Gwilym ap Alun Bill Sanderson "SCA politics is like a
Skraeling Althing 15-210 Chapel St puppy love -
Skraeling Althing Ottawa, ON It doesn't mean much
Ealdormere K1N 7Y5 but it's awfully real
Middle Kingdom 504800 at uottawa.ca - to the puppies."
From: mittle at watson.ibm.com (Josh Mittleman)
Date: 5 Sep 91 15:52:21 GMT
Organization: IBM T. J. Watson Research
> 5) Any good recommendations on a reference book? I use Friar, but he is more
> of a dictionary than a "how-to" guide.
I originally learned blazonry from Julian Franklyn's "Shield and Crest."
It is out of print, but common in large libraries. Like Fox-Davies and
Boutell, it is a primer on English heraldry, but unlike those books, its
illustrations are real armory, rather than just pictures of individual
charges. It is also equipped with an appendix of blazons for each
There are many SCA references on blazonry. Any of the kingdom heralds'
handbooks has an article on the subject. I happen to like the appendix on
blazonry in the Compleat Anachronist "Heraldry," probably just because I
wrote it. All the illustrations in that pamphlet are blazoned.
From: rorice at nickel.ucs.indiana.edu (rosalyn rice)
Subject: Re: Heraldry Book
Date: 23 Jun 1995 23:55:37 GMT
Organization: Indiana University, Bloomington
In article <3sfgoa$m98 at newdelph.cig.mot.com>,
Heather L. Garvey <garvey at poohbear.cig.mot.com> wrote:
> In a local book store I found copies of the Fox-Davies Heraldry
>book. Is this book any good and is $8 a decent price? I've been thinking
>of picking it up, but I didn't want to get something that's a known
>crock or just not very good. However, I thought I remembered the
>names and just want to check. :)
Fox-Davies wrote a lot of stuff in the late 19th c. and it gets
reprinted at intervals. His major work is "Art of Heraldry" which is
pretty good but is maddening for its lack of footnotes, index, and
"Complete Guide to Heraldry" seems to be in the 1/2 price
bookstores right now. There are two versions out there. One version has a
forward by J.P. Brooke-Little (current ??? King of Arms in the English
CoA) and is revised by B-L. The other is just a reprint of the Fox-Davies
book. If you can get ahold of the B-L edition it is better and more
complete than the F-D version, but both are pretty good as a basic
heraldry text for a local herald's office novice herald or a non-herald.
Keep in mind though that "Complete Guide" makes no pretense to
represent medieval heraldry, and like any introductory book doesn't go
into details. It also doesn't touch on anything east of England. Using
Fox-Davies you can certainly learn about heraldry and you can certainly
design stylistically decent heraldry, but you still won't know about
So, it's reasonably good but be aware of its limitations.
From: IVANOR at delphi.com
Subject: Heraldry Book
Date: 25 Jun 1995 21:55:04 GMT
Organization: Delphi Internet Services Corporation
Quoting garvey from a message in rec.org.sca
> In a local book store I found copies of the Fox-Davies Heraldry
> book. Is this book any good and is $8 a decent price? I've been
>thinking of picking it up, but I didn't want to get something that's a
>known crock or just not very good. However, I thought I remembered the
> names and just want to check. :)
It's a good basic text on the subject, and $8 is a super price (I paid $12)
Actually, I believe it's one of the don't-be-without-it s in a herald's
Carolyn Boselli, Host of Custom Forum 35: SCAdians on Delphi
Ive Annor M'Quhairr of Sighty Crag, Chronicler-elect, Dragonship Haven
From: nostrand at mathstat.yorku.ca (Barbara Nostrand)
Subject: Re: Heraldry Book
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 1995 00:38:00 -0500
Organization: DeMoivre Institute of Mathematical Sciences
There are several books by Arthur Fox-Davies and they are all pretty much
worth having. Further, a hardbound book for $8.00 is not such a bad thing.
Whether these books are as useful for the SCA Herald as they once were is
a matter of some uncertainty. Since the begining of the Gregorian year,
the Society College of Arms has essentially established itself as an
autonomous heraldic jurisdiction which no longer is interested in
assuring the uniqueness of SCA armory with respect to historic armory.
This has a number of interesting effects.
Your Humble Servant