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heraldry-bks-msg - 6/7/96
Heraldry books. book reviews.
NOTE: See also these files: heraldry-msg, heraldry-tips-msg, Herald-Embro-art, banners-msg, mottoes1-msg.

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:
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Thank you,

Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous

Stefan at


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

published 1988

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,

Your servant


David Gurzynski Jamaica NY dasys1!dawyd at

mka. Dawyd z Gury Ostgardr 73647.233 at

From: Tim Of-angle

To: Andrew Salamon

Date: 07-Jan-90 08:33pm

Subject: Re: Books on Heraldry

AS> From: salamon at (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 (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.

Heraldically yours,


Joshua Mittleman (joshua at or mittle at

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

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

common anyway.



From: aluko at portia.Stanford.EDU (Stephen Goldschmidt)

Date: 9 Apr 90 19:48:58 GMT

Organization: Stanford University


Greetings again!
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

me questions.

mka: STephen Goldschmidt

aka: Iulstan Sigewealding

net: aluko at portia.Stanford.EDU

geo: Palo Alto, California USA

phone: (415)494-1748

From: 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

heraldry available.

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

35.00 US

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.


Jeanne-Marie Efferding

Center for Machine Intelligence

Electronic Data Systems Corp.

Ann Arbor, MI 48105

(313) 995-0900

Internet: jeanne at

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

useful ones:

_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 - to the puppies."

From: mittle at (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 (rosalyn rice)


Subject: Re: Heraldry Book

Date: 23 Jun 1995 23:55:37 GMT

Organization: Indiana University, Bloomington

In article <3sfgoa$m98 at>,

Heather L. Garvey 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

supporting information.

"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

medieval heraldry.

So, it's reasonably good but be aware of its limitations.

From: IVANOR at


Subject: Heraldry Book

Date: 25 Jun 1995 21:55:04 GMT

Organization: Delphi Internet Services Corporation

Quoting garvey from a message in

> 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 (Barbara Nostrand)


Subject: Re: Heraldry Book

Date: Mon, 26 Jun 1995 00:38:00 -0500

Organization: DeMoivre Institute of Mathematical Sciences
Noble Cousins!
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

Solveig Throndardottir

Amateur Scholar

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