I wanted to do something that really stretched my skills as a chainmailler and be a real center piece for my house, both as a nice artistic piece and as a personal accomplishment. It took a while to decide what I wanted to do, but after a lot of messing around with different designs and concepts, I finally landed on making a a large banner of my own personal heraldry. The details of the design will be covered in this article. I have to admit, I am really very proud of this piece.
I want to speak to the design of the banner. Every aspect of any personal heraldry should include things that speak to the the family history and personally identify the person for whom the heraldry stands. My name is Thomas Jackson Riley, and I am the second born son of my father. I am of the mixed heritage of Ireland and Scotland, but most of my bloodline is Italian and comes through my mother’s side. With all that being said, lets go over the details.
Starting with the most important part of the the heraldry will be the things directly related to my name. My family crest looks like this:
The aspects of the crest that I used are the colors; green and gold as the general color pallete, as well the disembodied hand, more on the story of that to come. The next thing to have in the design is the symbol designating my place as the second born son. In medieval heraldry that symbol is a crescent moon. I decided for the sake of visual appeal and good usage of space to have the hand holding the crescent moon.
One of my favorite pieces of art has the crescent moon as part of a heraldry of the knight in the piece. “The Accolade” by Edmund Blair Leighton is a beautiful piece showing a very classical romanticized knighting ceremony:
As a side note, one thing I find very interesting about this painting is the attention to detail. In the middle ages it was very common for the first born son to follow into military service, which could lead to knighthood. The second born, were very often placed into service with the church. So the knight in this painting must have done something truly amazing, and outside the expected role of the second born to gain knighthood.
I decided to use the eagle design from this painting to represent my Italian heritage, although the design is more Germanic in origin. As you can see I layered the hand holding the crescent on the eagle just as it appears in the painting above.
I only had 3 droplets of blood coming out of the hand to make the overall look a little more simple and less cluttered.
The Motto “Strength and Honour” is written in Anglo-Saxon runes. The motto is one I use, and overuse, taken shamelessly from the movie “Gladiator”, again referencing my Italian (Roman) heritage, and the runes being a reference of my Celtic roots.
The Celtic knot along the edges is another nod to my Celtic Roots.
The banner also includes the Golden Ratio ~1.62 height to width. The scale of banner and the number of rings is very hard to really see without having something (or someone) to help show the size. I am a little over 6 feet tall
Another picture of my mostly emotionless face. Probably because I spent the past 5 months working on this thing, and I’m too tired to smile.
Here are some the 16G 1/4″ ID Anodized Aluminum in my hand. to give an idea of the size of the individual rings.
Finally, I want to talk a little about the disembodied hand and the story behind it, although I embellish a little. There was a race to win the hand of the princess and the right to rule over the kingdom. In order to win the race, the contestants had to place their hand on the castle wall. A great many princes entered the race, and the last part was to swim across the moat. One of the princes, who greatly loved the princess, was not a strong swimmer and stood at the edge of the moat. Unwilling to lose the princess he loved and the rule of the kingdom, he drew his sword cut off his hand and threw it across the water hitting the castle wall and winning the race… EPIC!
Thanks for taking a look at my banner!