The project was to create a ring as gift to commemorate the induction on Lily Morgaine into the order of the Maunche. Her persona of an 8th century resident of the central British Isles led me to the extant finger ring of the Queen of Mercia, a close contemporary (early 9th century) and geographically close. Done in the Trewhiddle style, inspired by, but not a recreation of this ring will be fine silver and cast.
Gold finger-ring; plain hoop expanding at the shoulders, which with the bezel are chased with Trewhiddle style designs upon a nielloed ground. The bezel is circular with a pearled border; it is ornamented with a medallion inscribed in a quatrefoil and containing the Agnus Dei between two letters; the leaves of the quatrefoil and the spaces between them are chased with foliage. Each shoulder has a semi-circular panel with pearled border, containing an animal on a ground of niello. Inside the ring is engraved with an inscription.
Production date: 853-874 (probably)
Cultures/periods: Late Anglo-Saxon
Materials: gold niello
Diameter: 26 millimetres
Height: 20 millimetres
Weight: 20.20 grains
Inscription type: inscription
Inscription transliteration: + EA⃒ÐELSVIÐ⃒REGNA
Inscription translation: Queen Æthelswith
I flattened the curved image as a composite from the different angles with the intent of recreating a curved final piece.
I relaced the center image with the Maunche badge, and the adjacent images with aspects of the recipient’s heraldry, lilies.
From the sketch design I created an etching resist template using PNP blue film and used ferric chloride and coppler plate to create a copper model.
Once the etched flat model was created it needed to be cut and cleaned and shaped.
Then a mold can be made. I used MoldMax 60 tin silicone to make a mold of the copper models. I was then able to produce wax and pewter casts of the original model.
The casts allow for additional detail work and opportunity for me to try different techniques and modifications to yield the desired effects of a final. I could correct issues on the wax using carving tools and create a final ring model to be used for the next step. Lost wax Casting. I used jewelers wax and investment plaster to create the molds, modern analogs of period beeswax and clay. Progressing through burnout to casting in fine silver to yield the ring.
Because I had done significant work in the wax medium the cleanup efforts on the silver were minimal. I needed only correct a few minor inclusions and errors from the casting process. Then a polish and shine.
While the original piece was gold that had the designs chased into the gold with highlights contrasted with niello, I chose to use silver due to material costs. I had originally thought to make authentic Niello to add to the piece to increase the contrast of the lines, but thought better of it as Niello contains lead, and since this is a ring to be worn, I did not want to risk and transfer while wearing through the skin. I will save that for a display only item.
Hello! Welcome to the new and improved blog of Baron Gaius Claudius Valerianus, member of the Order of the Maunche. Since he has given me free editorial rein, I’m going to take advantage of it until he notices and deletes this post.
In the meantime, please bear with us while we continue to make improvements and get everything up to date. More content very soon to come. Thanks for dropping by!
A project that my Mistress, the Countess Ro Honig von Sommerfeldt, challenged me to use my knowledge to create an award for the realm. She observed that the Consort’s Order of Courtesy traditional regalia of a white embroidered glove was not always apt to a persona that did not wear a belt. She invited me to examine the obstacle and fashion an alternative to the traditional. What I have created is a photo essay of the processes used to create the alternative. I hope that you enjoy the process journey. Please feel free to post any any questions or feedback.
We start the journey at the end with the finished examples.
To begin at the beginning with the first wax carving. I used an outline of the award design to create a template to start the carving, adding depth and detail to the wax models. When I reach a certain point i determine to “save my progress”, by creating a mold of the carved wax. Knowing that I will want multiples but not desire to carve each one in wax the mold will be used to duplicate the progress.
Next we start to work on the roses that will be inset. They are to be copper that is acid etched to be able to champleve and enamel. Fist step is to use PNP blue to resist the design on the copper discs. This is analogous to a wax or resin resist that would be painted on, but I lack the talent for painting tiny designs and use technology as my apprentice, or collaborating artist to help me achieve the desired result of the step. They are then soaked in ferric chloride acid to etch the copper.
Time to reproduce the wax hand models using the silicone mould we mentioned earlier. The copper etched roses are placed for scale confirmation.
Here we begin the enameling process of the roses. Because I wanted several different colors I chose to torch fire each color individually, starting with the blue petals, the tiniest of green leaves, then the gold petals, and followed ny a transparent seal to create a level finish.
With the enamel completed, each rose must be cut and filed from the disc. As each is individual, they are numbered for identification and orientation.
The identification is matched up to the corresponding wax hands. Each individual rose is then traced an a recess is created for the rose to fit in.
Preparing for casting, sprues are attached and the hands are connected to the tree. The trees are placed into the flasks and investment plaster is added to completely envelope the wax. I use a vacuum chamber to help eliminate any air bubbles that could translate into inclusions on the final metal version.
Once the plaster is cured the wax is burned out, first in lower temp (~500 deg F) toaster oven, and then later the hotter(~1400 deg F) furnace. The fine silver is prepared for melting and dual furnaces are employed; one to melt the fine silver, the other to maintain the plaster moulds at temp, until the fill pour is ready.
The sprue trees come out of the plaster and are cut away from the hands. The scrap ready to be cleaned and re-melted for the next project.
Some serious clean up is required. We have some severe pitting inclusions on a few of the hands and will take some extra work to correct with files and varied grits of sandpaper including the final stage of wet, high grit sandpaper to get a polished finish.
Once properly cleaned and prepared, the hands and roses can recombined. Then we begin to add the pin backs made from copper strips and steel rod sharpened to create a primitive pin enclosure.
And here are are at the end where we began. I hope you enjoyed the journey!
From the Middle Ages through the Renaissance, pomanders were considered an important and even necessary accoutrement in navigating through a pungent and often foetid environment. The jeweler’s talent and inventiveness was sorely challenged by the creation of these delicate cages of gold and gems designed to hold perfumes, cloves and ambergris -scents that greatly enhanced everyday life.
The term pomander originated from the French “pomme d’ambre”, translating to “apple of ambergris’’ and originally referenced the mixture of scented material, such as ambergris, clove, cinnamon, musk or civet that was rolled into a ball and held in a netted covering. The earliest known pomanders were reportedly from the East and reserved for the use of nobility and clergy. By the 14th century, the name pomander had evolved to also refer to the container, which became increasingly more decorative and symbolic. The earliest containers were spherical, opening to reveal two equal halves (referred to as loculi in French) perhaps influenced by the form of clove studded fruit. (https://www.langantiques.com/university/pomander-3/)
Now that it has been delivered, I would like to share the project I made for the East Kingdom Laurel & Maunche Gift Exchange; a brass pomander. When searching for a gift appropriate for a late period Italian / Arabic persona that I could make utilizing my metalsmithing and artifact manufacturing skills I came across an example of a beautiful silver pomander. In diving into the research about these items I discovered that they were used in part to ward off disease and illness, and I thought, what better gift to give in our time of global plague pandemic!
I welcome any questions, or constructive advice.
Inspired by research into multiple period examples of pomanders from various periods and regions. Construction based primarily on design of the 17th century Italian pomander in silver (Example 1). I chose to use the several examples as inspiration rather than working to reproduce any single extant example in detail, instead designing my own version of such an item that may have been created for a late period person in Italy.
I was very glad for this opportunity to research into a new era and learn not only new techniques and work for my craft, but also the opportunity to expand my research into a new era and new applications of my skills.
Materials used were brass patterned sheet, imitating etched floral pattern and painted with glass paint to provide a ‘faux’ niello effect, and brass tube stock and wire. The pattern was of my own, cut and formed. The top was a cast brass bell that had been procured and modified for this purpose.
The scent bag contained combination of clove, cinnamon, and dried orange peel in a tea bag.
*Please note: Inspiration descriptions are verbatim from websites where the examples were sourced and are intended to share knowledge, and are not intended to be represented as my work, analysis, or writings. Whenever possible links are included to the source works.
Physical description: Combined rosary bead and pomander, silver gilt, shaped as a hollow, slightly pointed ball, divided into two halves and attached to each other by a centrally placed screw. Each half is pierced by Late Gothic tracery. A hoop at each end: to one is attached a corded ring. Place of Origin: Germany (made) Date: ca.1500 (made) Artist/maker: Unknown Materials and Techniques: Silver-gilt, pierced Dimensions: Height: 3.7 cm, Width: 2.5 cm
Object history note: The Museum purchased the object in 1853. The vendor was not recorded. It was acquired as a pomander or scent case, German, fifteenth century. In 1975 Michael Snodin (MS note in Departmental Register) suggested it was probably a scented rosary bead and compared it with the beads of the rosary in Joost van Cleeve’s Virgin and Child with St Bernard (Louvre), repr. Friedländer, Early Netherlandish Painting, IX, pt.1, 1972, pl.62 (a work of c. 1508). Ronald W. Lightbown (Medieval European Jewellery: with a catalogue of the collection in the Victoria & Albert Museum, 1992) agrees that ‘the bead in the picture closely resembles the present ball, and the hypothesis has much to recommend it.’ There is another, perhaps more comparable, rosary bead-cum-musk-ball in the portrait, by Barthel Bruyn the Elder, of Kunegundis von Heimbach. The entry for this object in the exhibition catalogue for ‘500 Jahre Rosenkranz: 1475 Köln 1975’ (Cologne, 1976) reads: ‘The wife of the mayor of Cologne, Peter von Heimbach, is in prayer, holding an expensive rosary with pomander (musk ball). As in other portraits by this artist, the form and function of the prayer beads (Gebetsschuere) typical in the Lower Rhein region are apparent, which are known almost exclusively through pictorial tradition.’ However, Lightbown points out that there is a ‘South German muskapfel of c.1500’, comparable to the object under discussion ‘with a small chain attached to a large ring, in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich. See Steingräber (1957,p.81).’ Steingräber notes that such scent balls were generally ‘in the shape of small, round ampullae and were worn as pendants on the belt or around the neck.’ Lightbown notes that ‘If a muskapfel, then a bead or ornament of some kind probably hung from the lower hoop.’ As ‘small musk-balls in open-work cases seem often to have been worn as paternosters, and paternoster beads appear to have had the same design’ there is occasionally, as in the case of Museum No. 918-1853, a question whether what we have is in fact a musk-ball or a paternoster bead, or both.
Historical significance: The piece demonstrates the importance of the role of scent in jewellery and devotional objects. There is a similar bead in the Pforzheim Jewellery Museum (South West Germany). This is described as a ‘Bisamapfel’, or ‘musk apple’, worn dangling from a girdle or attached to a chain and worn around the neck. See Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim, cat. no. 119 and colour image.
Historical context note: Pomanders: A pomander, (the name is derived from the French pomme d’ambre or apple of amber), is a mixture of aromatic substances carried in a small vessel, in the hand or pocket, or attached to a chain and hung from the neck or waist, especially as a preservative against infection. In the Middle Ages it was universally believed that strong-scented substances had the power to disinfect the air and to ward off plague and other diseases. Lightbown notes that: ‘The earliest recorded European pomander, or rather pomum de ambra (apple of amber) appears in 1287, in the inventory of Cardinal Goffredo d’Alatri. Clearly they were already a well-established adjunct of costume for five are also mentioned in the inventory of Boniface VIII in 1295, and their use probably goes back to the late twelfth century. They may have owed their introduction into European society to oriental example – Byzantine or more probably Islamic – for among the gifts King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem sent in 1174 to the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa were ‘golden apples filled with musk’. Originally the term ‘pomander’ (of which there are several variants), or, alternatively, the German ‘Bisamapfel’ or ‘Muskapfel’, referred primarily to the perfumed substance and not the vessel which contained it, but over time the meaning seems to have shifted, and the vessels were also termed ‘pomanders’. A recipe for pomander paste of the same period as this object can be found in a verse of 1482 by the German Meistersinger Hanz Folz (c.1450-1515):
‘Therefore we need to know now What withstands these poisons. That is: to temper the air, strengthen the stomach, heart and brain, Taste and savour aromatic things, (To chase away these Forces) One could wear a pomander Prepared as the recipes say: With frankincense, aloes, amber, Camphor, cloves, oil-of-Ben, dried ginger-root, Mace, lemon zest, Ground mint, nutmeg, Aromatic reeds, Stem of Valerian, Roses, gum, sandalwood, Java pepper, cinnamon, White turmeric, bugloss, laudanum, Marjoram and bone charcoal. Two types of apple are made of this For Summer and for Winter time. But whoever has the illness now Taste it quickly, is my advice.’ (Hans Folz, Die Reimpaarsprüche Pestregimen in Versen (1482), lines 149-170.)
George Cavendish’s Life of Wolsey (1557) describes a pomander in use when it states that the Cardinal “held in his hand a very fayre orrynge, whereof the mete, or substance within was taken out and fylled uppe agayn with the part of a sponge wherein was vynegar and other confecsions agaynst the pestylente ayers: to the which he most commonly smelt unto, passing among the prease or ells whan he was pestered with many sewters.” Descriptive line: Silver-gilt ball for musk; with pierced Gothic tracery, German, late 15th-early 16th century
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no) Lightbown, Ronald W., Mediaeval European Jewellery: with a catalogue of the collection in the Victoria & Albert Museum, (London, V&A Publications, 1992), PP. 530-531. Falk, Fritz. Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim: Von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Pforzheim: Schmuckmuseum, 1980 (4th repr 1987). Schiedlausky, G.. Vom Bisamapfel zur Vinaigrette: Zur Geschichte der Duftgefässe. Kunst und Antiquitäten, 4, 1985, pp. 28-38. Smollich, R. Der Bisamapfel in Kunst und Wissenschaft. Stuttgart, 1983.
POMANDER Object Number: BR65.14 People: Unidentified Artist Title: Pomander Classification: Vessels Work Type: vessel Date: 16th century Culture: German Persistent Link: https://hvrd.art/o/218097 Medium: Gilt silver Dimensions: 13 x 4.4 cm (5 1/8 x 1 3/4 in.) Inscriptions and Marks inscription: center: IHS MARIA HILF UNS AUS NOT ON END https://www.harvardartmuseums.org/art/218097
Pomander • Place of origin: Italy (made) • Date: ca. 1350 (made) • Artist/Maker: Unknown • Materials and Techniques: Partially gilded silver, niello • Credit Line: Bequeathed by Francis Reubell Bryan • Museum number: M.205:1 to 3-1925 • Gallery location: Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 11, shelf C, box 7
Physical description Pomander shaped as an apple, of silver, silver gilt, and niello. The sections of the body of the pomander are held in place by a pin with a screw section at the top, the whole attached to an octagonal gadrooned head to which is hinged a quatrefoil handle. Inscriptions run around the edge of each section relating to the Judgement of Paris, the interior and exterior decoration of scrolling foliage and geometric patterns.
Marks and inscriptions Segment 1: Cover: IUNO Border: PRO. POMI. DONO. PARIS. AGE(?). PAREM. TIBI. DONO Juno Come, Paris, for the gift of an apple, I give you a spouse. Segment 2: Cover: VENVS Border: SENSV. DIVES. ERIS. SI. ME. DITEI. DECVS. ERIS. Venus You shall be rich in delight, if, the prize being mine, you become my consort. Segment 3: Cover: PALAS Border: SE. DANT. REGNA. REGI. MICHI. SI. FA(V)EAS. TIBI. REGI Pallas (Minerva) Kingdoms shall be yours to rule as King if you favour me. Segment 4:
Cover: PARIS Border: EST. MAGIS. ORE. VENUSTA. CAUSA. PATET. IUSTA. VEN. Paris Venus is the loveliest, her claim is clearly just. Dimensions: Height: 6.5 cm, Width: 4 cm
Object history note Londesborough and Wyndham Cook Collections, Francis Reubell Bryan Bequest funds used to purchase the pomander from Durlacher Bros. New Bond Street. Shown in Leeds Exhibition, 1868. Sold at the Humphrey W. Cook sale at Christies’, July 10 1925, lot 434. Sold at the Londesborough Sale at Christies’, 8 May 1884, lot 137 (wrongly described as from the Bernal collection). Descriptive line: Pomander of partially gilded silver and niello, made in Italy, 1300-1400 Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no) Campbell, Marian, Medieval Jewellery in Europe 1100-1500, London, V&A Publishing, 2009, p.68, fig.68 Lightbown, R.W., Mediaeval European Jewellery , London 1992, cat. no. 84, pp. 335-7, 529 -30 Schiedlausky, G., Vom Bisamapfel zur Vinaigrette: Zur Geschichte der Duftgefässe. Kunst und Antiquitäten, 4, 1985, pp. 28-38. Ajmar-Wollheim, Marta and Dennis, Flora At Home in Renaissance Italy, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2006, cat. 197, pp. 185 and 364 Brilliant, Virginia. ‘Pomander’. Catalogue entry in A Feast for the Senses: Art and Experience in Medieval Europe, ed. Martina Bagnoli. Catalogue of the exhibition held at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, October 16, 2016 – January 8, 2017 and at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, February 4 – April 30, 2017. Baltimore: The Walters Art Museum / New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016. ISBN 9780300222951 Catalogue of the Art Collections of Mr Wyndham H. Cook, 1905, p. 97, no. 446 A. H. Church, The Portfolio, Vol. XVII, p. 166, fig. 2 Burlington Fine Arts Club Loan Exhibition Catalogue, 1901, p. 181, cat. no. 9, pl. XX
Object Details Title: Pomander Date: 16th century Culture: German Medium: Silver gilt Dimensions: Height: 2 5/8 in. (6.7 cm) Classification: Metalwork-Silver Credit Line: The Collection of Giovanni P. Morosini, presented by his daughter Giulia, 1932 Accession Number:32.75.45 Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings Inscription: Inscribed at top of each segment: CANEL [cinnamon]; MVSCAT [nutmeg]; ROSMARIEN [rosemary]; SCHLAG [?]; WVRZ.N [possibly gewürz nelke; clove]; BERNSTEIN [amber]
At outer end of each slide: B On back, each slide lettered A to E
While these coins of silver were historically struck using dies of bronze or iron, there is evidence that the dies themselves were cast rather than carved to provide a more consistent and uniform coin. There have also been discovered clay molds of coins and theories that these molds could have been used for the casting of dies or coins.
The obverse of this denarius features the visage of Master Tiberivs Ivlivs Rvfvs Primvs with his name using the standard documented coin abbreviations: TI = Tiberivs IVL = Ivlivs RV = Rvfvs PRIMIS = Primvs The reverse of the coin features the registered badge: A lightning bolt palewise between and conjoined to two bees with a laurel wreath superimposed.
The master was etched on copper and the final denarius was sand cast in pure silver.
I was asked by Her Highness to make a representation of her favorite athletic team so that she might show her support and pride in their prowess and share in the joy of their victories.
I wanted to make for her an item that was inspired by a reproduction of a 13-14th century pilgrim badge from the shrine of St Leonard at Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat, France. It would keep some aesthetics from the original piece, but incorporate the visage of the sports mascot in place of the image of St. Leonard. (and a few other detail tweaks)
I had inspiration, I had an idea how make it, now came the work of carving. Carving a reverse image into soapstone is not my strongest skill, and the best way to get better is to do it. I decided to challenge myself with this project and not only make this a two sided pilgrim badge, but to make it a reverse image as well.
After the carving came the casting. I used R-98 pewter (98% Tin, 1.5% Bismuth, 0.5% Copper), sourced from Rotometals. I was having issues with thickness and blockage preventing the smooth flow of pewter throughout the entirety of the mold. I created an extra gap in the mold to overcome this issue, but the side effect was an extreme excess of flash around the outside.
That was OK because I also needed practice with the jeweler’s saw. I went about cleaning up the the edges of the badges with saw and hand files, and when it was complete, I added a few little embellishments to add to the spirit of the sport. I antiqued one badge using acid to artificially age the pewter. It gave it a darker hue that more closely matches the current condition of the original badge, and left a second shiny and new. Using the team colors I added some colored metal rings into the loops that would have been used to sew the badge onto a garment and added a chain so that Her Highness could wear the badges easily. The rings can easily be removed to allow for a more permanent attachment at her pleasure.
I added some glass paint to a third badge to grant the full colored version of the mascot.
These were presented to Her Highness on her Birthday at the East Kingdom 12th Night Hosted by Barony of L’ile du Dragon Dormant – Ile Perrot, QC
Pilgrim badge from the shrine of St Leonard at Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat, France. This badge is in shape of a prison tower. St Leonard is depicted listening to the prayers of a manacled prisoner. At the top is an inscription on the battlements of the tower: ‘LEONARDI’. The back is decorated with a cross pattée. There are two circular stitching loops at the bottom, and two angled loops (one missing) at the top which double as supports for the battlements. These loops would have been used to sew the badge onto a pilgrim’s clothes. St Leonard is shown standing on the right, with his right hand raised in a gesture of blessing. A naked prisoner kneels on the left. Manacles hang from the wall above his head.
St Leonard of Noblac was known as a liberator of prisoners and is often shown with fetters or manacles. His shrine at Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat in France was covered in fetters from the many prisoners who had offered them in thanks for their release. It was a popular stopping-off point for pilgrims on their way to the shrine of St James at Santiago de Compostela in Spain.