katherine kerr of the Hermitage, her site

AS 50 Challenge

[Depth Challenge] [Breadth Challenge] [Persona Challenge]

The A&S 50 Challenge involves doing 50 things in the Arts and Sciences between May 1st AS 42/2007 and May 1st AS 50/2015, in honour of the SCA's 50th Birthday.

There are three kinds of challenge:

The Depth Challenge : to do, make or learn 50 of any one type of thing, to push skills and knowledge to new levels
The Breadth Challenge: to do, make or learn 50 new and different things
The Persona Challenge : to do, make or learn 50 different persona-related things

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Depth Challenge

I've completed this in one sense - I've made over 120 commonplace books. I did learn some new things:

  • quicker ways of doing the binding for mass production
  • further evidence that the stitching I was using was used in period
  • all the material related to the production and selection of content
  • some ideas on period layout of such books

However, these were produced in two large batches, for Canterbury Faire and Festival, and so I don't really feel as if I've really met the intent of the challenge. There wasn't an on-going improvement in skills and knowledge as such.

If I can, I'll take a look at binding 50 books; ideally ones I have typeset in period style or printed out from facsimile materials. Failing that, rebinding published works into period covers. And, for the lowest level of attainment, reading at least 50 books that could have been in the Kerr family collection of educational and other works. Some of these will be reasonably easy to source; others may take some digging.

Period Reading List

Mary Queen of Scots had 240 books listed in one inventory, so with a literate father and grandfather it's not unreasonable to think that I could have had access to 50 books. Admittedly, some of the works would not have been translated in English/Scots by 1566/7, but at least they were doing the rounds in various languages by that point.

Here's what I've managed to read through so far:

Books from Mary's Library:

  • Rabelais Pantagruel
  • Ptolemy Geography
  • The Book of Hunting

Other books of the period

  • Roger AschamToxophilus: The Schole of Shootinge
  • Ariosto Orlando Furioso
  • Boccaccio Decameron
  • CastilgioneThe Courtier
  • Froissart Chronicles
  • Homer Odyssey
  • Juvenal Satires
  • William Latimer Chronickall of Anne Bullen
  • Machiavelli The Prince
  • Machiavelli The Art of War
  • Sir Thomas Malory Morte d'Arthur
  • Marco Polo The Travels
  • Marie de France Heptameron
  • Sir Thomas Moore Utopia
  • Sir Thomas Moore History of Richard the Thirde
  • Ovid Metamorphoses
  • Christine de Pisan The Book of the City of Ladies
  • Christine de Pisan The Treasure of the City of Ladies
  • Pliny Natural History

Printed Materials and Period Communications

I have really gotten hooked on late period printing over the past five years and have gone from producing the odd so-so menu item and one-off projects to looking for more and more ways that I can use period printing practices to add an extra layer to events. It got to the point where I couldn't escape the notice of the Laurels, and I was invited to join the Order based on my body of work in the reproduction of period printed materials.

I'm now up to around 35-52 different examples of period printed items, depending on how you count them. So I should make that AS50 target to my satisfaction as I have some more ideas in this category to play with. Getting those last couple of different examples/uses could be tricky though, as I am going to start running out of period ephemera examples to work from. I do have some ideas though....

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Mapping the Known Worlde

I've started work on another AS50 Challenge: to map the Known Worlde and our part in it. I've been inspired by the huge Volume III of the History of Cartography and now have a journal full of ideas and different styles of maps. Most of the work I've done to date has been achieved while away on family holidays far from the computer, when I get the chance for a burst of creativity. And I've finally gotten around to putting the start of the AS50Map Challenge online -- take a look at it here.

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Applied Heraldry

I'm not really sure if this is a breadth or depth challenge, but I'm looking to learn more about period applied heraldry -- display, ceremonies, useage, development. So I'll record the many and varied things I research or do (or intend to do) into this category here. There are some overlaps in here with other categories, but I figure cross-fertilisation never hurts (and may even help make things more findable as this site continues to sprawl outside its original navigational structure!).

  • standards, banners, heraldic achievements et al:Yes, I have made it to 50 in this category!
  • a bunch of heraldic-related manuscript materials as part of the family papers: jousting cheques, birthbrief, heraldic visitation notes, impresa, roll of arms and armorial
  • heraldic chair seat
  • betrothal goblets
  • An Heraldic Interlude: a play for Half-Circle Theatre
  • funeral plaque and hatchment: probably for my grandfather or father as I haven't "died" yet!
  • personal seal
  • cushions
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    Breadth Challenge

    One of the things I am doing for my Breadth Challenge is to enter Kingdom A&S competitions during the Challenge period. Some of these topics will overlap with the Persona Challenge, as I'll be attempting to find a link or a way to undertake the A&S project that ties in with my ever-expanding persona story and background.

    Here's the list so far with links to completed projects.

    AS 42
    May Crown: Painting on Cloth or Leather
    July Coronation: no entry (I was co-Steward for our first Kingdom-level event, so was rather busy)
    November Crown: no entry (no excuse)
    Twelfth Night Coronation: Banner in the Style of the Wars of the Roses

    AS 43
    May Crown: Period Favour (Velvet Sleeves)
    July Coronation: Sonnet in Praise of the Queen
    November Crown: Parade Shield
    Twelfth Night Coronation: Earrings

    AS 44
    May Crown: Patents of Nobility: papers that show noble descent to enter lists

    Midwinter Coronation: Rosaries: six entries
    November Crown: Antiphonals: two entries Twelfth Night Coronation: Silk Painting: A Painted Forepart

    AS 45
    May Crown: Item of clothing or armour re-created from a portrait / illumination / woodcut: Turkish Venetian Coat and Chemise
    Midwinter Coronation: Gardening - a treatise on the properties of a perfumed plant (in the style of Culpepper): A Crescent Isles Herbal
    November Crown: Glassware: Venetian Betrothal Goblets
    12th Night Coronation: Bestiary:

    AS 46
    May Crown: Tudor or Elizabethan Jewellery: 15 items

    I took a break at this point, partly because of the major earthquakes which had been hitting my city every couple of months over the space of a year, which made life fairly frantic at times; partly because I was Laurelled and that was a deterrent as I've seen very few Laurels enter any competition; and partly cos I'd been Kingdom A&S Champion four out of five years just because of entering regularly, and that was becoming a bit embarassing.

    I'm now up to 46 items entered, so only have a few more to do and I'm done with that challenge. So from now on I'll pick something that is definitely a new skill for me (though most have been that, so far) and which can tie in with my increasingly enriched persona development.

    Other Projects

    Things I have made or would like to make (these are in addition to the things directly listed in my Persona Challenge:

    Jupon
    A set of instruments as found in Holbein's The Ambassadors
    A curiosity cabinet with contents such as cowrie shell, coconut cup, fossilized shark's tooth, unicorn horn
    A proper set of roundels
    Sundials
    More clothes for my children: Achieved three items for Grace
    A triptych, possibly of arms or some suitable literary theme
    A clock
    A selection of interesting things from Queen Elizabeth's New Year's gifts
    Heraldic Achievements for Bartholomew and me

    I'm sure I'll be adding to this as the folk on the AS50 Challenge list inspire me.

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    Persona Challenge

    This is going to be the most interesting of the challenges I think, as it will involve making a much richer persona story to tie in divers elements. There are at least three generations involved in this, as many of the things I am doing will have relevance to my English grandfather (Francis Lovel), my Scots father (Richard Kerr) and my Venetian mother (Caterina Mocenigo).

    Here's the current listing of completed and planned projects, some of which have involved other people or purchases. I'll be fleshing out the family history as part of this, but have included notes here relating the projects to the people concerned. It has formed a useful example for a class on persona development and how that can be tied into a more focused look at A&S.

    Francis Lovel (1446-1536), born in England, died in Scotland

    In 1487 (June 16) Francis fought in the Battle of Stoke, the last large battle of the Yorkist cause. He fled to the court of Margaret of Burgundy, and in November 1488 came to Scotland on a safe conduct, bearing messages from Margaret to James IV. Francis chose to stay, taking up a new identity and new life in Scotland, marrying Anne Kerr, of the Border clan the Ferniehirst Kerrs.

    Service with James IV during the latter's campaign against the Lord of the Isles and his brief invasion of England in November 1495 in support of Richard Duke of York (called by some Perkin Warbeck) saw Francis granted Scottish arms and a holding under the name Francis Kerr of Jedburgh.

    Francis Kerr took part in the tournaments which celebrated the marriage of Richard, Duke of York and Lady Katherine Gordon, in 1496. That was to be the last time he faced a lance, but in 1507 he took his son Richard to Edinburgh, so that the latter could enter the Tourney of the Wild Knight.

    Francis rode to Flodden with his King in 1513, but left before the battle (along with 20,000 others) when James took a week to dally with Lady Heron.

    He died in 1536, when the English took Ferniehirst Castle, killing many inhabitants and despoiling the women.

    Richard Kerr (1490-1546), born in Scotland, died in Scotland

    In 1518, my father, Richard Kerr, went to serve in the Garde Ecossais, the personal bodyguard of the French King Francis I. The following year, he met up with an Italian artist attached to the French Court, one Leonardo da Vinci, and became friends with the old man. This gave him an interest in engineering and Things Mechanikal.

    In 1520, the Field of Cloth of Gold meeting between Francis I and Henry VIII of England saw a great deal of combat over three weeks. Richard took part in the various tournaments on the French side. One of the court attendants sketched a number of combatants, so Richard has a record of his attendance at this event and of the impresa he bore against an English competitor Francis Bryan (this man seemed to keep popping up at various times in Richard's life).

    When Francis I stopped paying his troops during the wars in Italy, Richard left his service and joined Giovanni (de Medici) della Banda Nere's condittiere group as a man-at-arms involved in mapping and engineering (interests sparked by his time with Leonardo). Following the Battle of Pavia (24 Feb 1525), Giovanni was shot in the knee, Richard himself was lamed and they both went to Venice for treatment. In 1526, Richard married Caterina Mocenigo (1500-1535), the fifth daughter of a cadet line of the noble Venetian house. While living in Venice, he took an interest in the art of printing, pioneered in La Serenissima by the likes of Aldus Manutius.

    Richard and Caterina had three children: Katherine, born in 1526, and two short-lived sons: Androu and Francis, born in 1532 and 1535 respectively. Caterina died shortly after the latter’s birth. Following that, Richard left for Scotland with his daughter, taking with him his wife’s wedding cassone, a chest filled with the most precious items and memorabilia which would be given to his daughter.

    Richard and Katherine travelled via Paris where they saw James IV marry his French Princess in January 1537, and then journeyed back to Scotland in his train. Richard used his Venetian experience in publishing to invest in the developing book trade in Edinburgh.

    • Hat jewel (won off this big English guy in a dice game at the Field of Cloth of Gold, 1520)
    • Birth brieve (a bit like a passport or patent of arms)
    • Jousting cheque: two versions
    • Impresa
    • Festival Book entry for Rychard Ker
    • Ballock Pouch (made by Jarl Alfar)
    • Black sash a la Banda Nere
    • Portrait (by an elderly Italian chap from Vinci who was at Francis I's court in Paris in 1519)
    • Maps (collected from around Europe, from Leonardo and elsewhere): Venice, Berwick, Edinburgh, battle of Pavia etc
    • Astronomical compendium: compass, latitude list, ports/harbours, perpetual calendar, lunar indicator etc
    • Bills
    • Letters: handwriting
    • Safe conduct papers
    • Coins: I have some faux English groats, Scots coinage and florins
    • Curiosity cabinet: coconut goblet, shark’s tooth, unicorn horn
    • Marriage contract
    • Venetian printing: I have some period examples of Platina and others

    Caterina Mocenigo (1500-1535), born in Venice, died in Venice

    Married Richard Kerr; mother of Katherine; the fifth daughter of a cadet line of the House of Mocenigo.

    • Wedding cassone
    • Garb from Venice 1520s :The Lotto Dress (made by the good ladies of Ildhafn)
    • Venetian Betrothal Goblet: representing Richard and Caterina (parents and goblets both deceased)
    • Turkish Venetian Coat
    • Venetian Chemise
    • Venetian veil
    • Zibellino: though I still need to make a jewelled head for it
    • Venetian painted sea-farer's thank you panel
    • Bookmarks
    • Venetian betrothal/birthing gifts: rings, coins, coral teether, ribbons, gloves, handkerchiefs, thimbles, spindles, globes, jewellry boxes, Venetian necklace
    • Deschi da parto: painted trays to celebrate a birth -- preliminary test done on a folding tray
    • Maiolica birth set: a bowl with a lid
    • An Arnolfini mirror
    • Cameo
    • Testament (as in will)

    Katherine Kerr (1526 - ), born in Venice, came to Scotland in 1537

    My father Richard died at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh (1547) fighting against the English troops led by Francis Bryan; I was left as sole heiress to the arms of Kerr of Jedburgh. I left Scotland after the battle of Carberry Hill (June 15, 1567), and have resided in the Laurel Kingdoms thereafter.

    • Annotated persona timeline
    • Italian handwriting based on that of Mary Queen of Scots: reasonably happy with my hand now, and have developed a different hand for Richard (based on Cecil's)
    • Library/reading challenge (see Depth Challenge above)
    • Casket sonnet
    • Pomander
    • Mary Queen of Scots Rosary
    • Learn Psalm 51 (the "neck" verse)
    • Collected letters/journal: a la the Pastons for 1566 and 1567
    • A copy of the Darnley death drawing
    • A facsimile of the hare and mermaid poster
    • An inventory of the goods in my dwelling
    • A girdle prayer/commonplace book with a jewelled cover
    • Mary Queen of Scots Earrings
    • Luckenbooth brooch: I now have one, but very much doubt they were made in period
    • Learn some of the songs from Mary's time and place: Achieved: as a member of the Southern Swans, I sang Depairte, Depairte at the Half-Circle Theatre, Canterbury Faire AS43; it really suited our step-down
    • Kerr family tree from an heraldic visitation
    • Armorial: showing katherine and Bartholomew
    • Applied heraldry: chair seat, full achievements of arms
    • A License to Crenellate: a Laurel Kingdom item; the official one undertaken by the Ildhavn cabal with the scribal assistance of Master Iarnulfr

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