Heraldry: First Draft of a Device for Genoveva

20 August 2011

I chose my SCA name in May — Gregor followed with his in June. And we just submitted both names for registration with the SCA while we were at Pennsic.

But I’ve been giving myself plenty of time to choose my device, because I want to be sure I like it and will feel good about using it for a long time. So after much thought and research, and ruminating about it at Pennsic where I could see lots of other devices, here’s my first draft:


Genoveva's Device: First Draft

Tinctures: The colors I’ve selected are easy to explain. Green is my absolute favorite color, followed closely by red. And I prefer silver (white) to gold. The fact that these happen to be the same as the Midrealm’s colors are just icing on the cake for me.

Charge: I’ve tentatively chosen the winged heart for several reasons:

  1. Symbolism. In heraldic terms, the heart can mean charity, kindness, and sincerity. wings may mean swiftness and protection. These are all important ideals I strive for in my life.
  2. Personal Meaning. Wings have long held importance for me, “angel” being an old nickname of mine. The heart symbol has a special significance between my son and I, as well. These two symbols together just “feel right” to me. It has many meanings to me, which I don’t need to go into here.

    Winged Heart on a Woodcut

  3. Historical Significance. The winged heart has been used throughout history. The one example I find most relevant is on a woodcut of a pilgrim attributed to Albrecht Dürer, a German artist of the 15th century (my time period/place of interest). The woodcut shows a pilgrim passing a castle, holding a coat-of-arms showing a winged heart, sun, stars, and moon.
  4. Uncommon. While used on SCA devices and badges, it is not common. I find just seven matches in OANDA. There are, of course, many matches for hearts in general. But not the winged heart. I want a charge that identifies me when people see it, and that’s more likely to happen if I’m one of the few with it.
  5. Simplicity. It’s a heart with wings and a border. Easy to draw. Easy to identify.

Bordure: I chose the bordure (border) because it feels “German” to me.

I believe the description would be: “Vert, a heart gules between wings argent within a bordure counter-compony gules and argent”

I have two concerns with this device:

  • I don’t want it to appear “cute” just because I’ve chosen a heart. I think there’s a range of ways I could depict the charge, from cute to more serious, and I can just lean toward more serious.
  • I’m not sure if I can have the heart red and the wings white, nor if the red heart on the green field violates the rule of tincture. If either is the case, I could change the heart to white, like this:

    Device with white heart

Here is an alternate drawing of the wings which look less like a crescent. These wings are styled after those which appear on the coat of arms of Germany during the Middle Ages.

As I understand it, though, I can draw the heart and wings as I like — I just need to get it passed in an acceptable form first.