SC - Charters

Leslie Miller Miller at
Mon Aug 2 15:08:56 PDT 1999

> Okay, so the question on the Ansteorra list is do we or do we not want to
> move towards having our award charters be more historically accurate than
> what we are doing now.  Ches suggested a longer discussion might held
> here, so I thought I'd jump in and ask the question.

Hmmmm, let's see if I'm understanding the conversations correctly. 
It has been stated categorically that period charters (is that the 
correct term? Awards....?) would not be illuminated.  

I'm picturing my diploma with a lengthy bit of text, or something 

I'm fine going that route if the general consensus is that we should 
do things more period... heck, I'm much more of a calligrapher 

However, I have to say that I enjoy the fancy bits of artwork on my 
wall as part of an SCA tradition, even if they aren't the best 
reflection of a period document.  They're pretty.  So, maybe that 
sounds trite, but they're pretty, and I personally find value in pretty 

Charter painting did not lead me to do calligraphy and illumination.  
What it *did* do was lead me to do calligraphy and illumination in a 
more period fashion.  Guache paint was quite the discovery for me, 
(thank you, Margaret Pearce) when I had been using normal 
watercolors (or, yes, I confesss, in the very beginning, magic 
markers) without much success.   It was so much fun that I 
actually started looking at books to see what period pieces really 
looked like, so I could try to reproduce the effects.  Charter painting 
enabled me to learn the medium.

I can't begin to describe the thrill I get when I look at a new book 
and find a page that has the original upon which one of our charters 
is based... Wow!  For me, they serve as an educational tool, not 
only for myself, but for everyone who comes over to paint charters 
at my house.  Honestly, I don't think they've gotten tired of me 
shoving books at them and saying, "See, this is how the original 

I don't think our current system is without its own virtues.  Frankly, 
I like having charter painting parties at my house, and it does open 
up a venue for participation in scribal arts that many people would 
not take advantage of otherwise.

As for the suggestion of doing charters with illumination, only doing 
them all by hand, so that every award is original:   I can only say.... 
YIKES!  I think that as a kingdom we would either have to 
dramatically increase the number of active scribes, or dramatically 
decrease the number of awards being given out.  Probably a bit of 
both.  As things work now... it ain't gonna happen.  I think the few 
active scribes in the kingdom would burn out faster than lit 


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