User talk:Rs-nourse

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De Vere coat of arms[edit]

The coats of arms you've put up today are a very nice addition to the articles. Thanks for all the work! One minor point. On the page for Richard de Vere, 11th Earl of Oxford, the arms are stated to be those of Robert de Vere, 9th Earl. NinaGreen (talk) 19:04, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

Not sure that I agree. They are rather too pastiche for the student of heraldry, who is interested in the blazon on the shield, not in seeing a garter and coronet surrounding and on top of each. This "decorative element" detracts from the pure heraldry and makes the image far too small. If these were accurate reproductions of contemporary historic images, that would be great, but they are not, hence I have called them pastiche. Obviously a huge amount of work has been expended in making these images, and I feel bad being unappreciative, but that's my opinion. What is your evidence for the label on the arms of Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon (1485 creation), KG (d.1509)?(Lobsterthermidor (talk) 20:05, 20 November 2013 (UTC)) Also I think placing coronets of various degrees above the shield was something which started in the Georgian or Victorian eras, and was unheard of in earlier times. Thus the images are in many cases anachronistic.(Lobsterthermidor (talk) 21:13, 20 November 2013 (UTC))
I appreciate your feedback. Your opinions, and the seriousness with which you have expressed them, are sincerely respected.  I am working to create illustrations for nearly 400 knights, so I will certainly make the occasional mistake and welcome the corrections. I have carefully researched each coat before I begin my work on a given piece. I pay close attention to printed blazons wherever they are available, but often must depend on visual source material from tombs, portraits, books or bookplates.  I whole heartedly accept your criticism on my general lack of source references. I realize this is a Wiki no-no, but I am relatively new to the WIKI and will be going back into each illustration and rectifying this as quickly as possible. I also appreciate and acknowledge my mistake with the label on Edward Courtenay's arms. It was an unintended carry over from Sir Hugh de Courtenay, the founder knight. I have since corrected it and posted the quartered arms as they appear on his stall plate.
With regards to the elaborate quarterings. All quarterings are based very specifically on those found in contemporary blazons in books, portraits, windows, tombs, etc. I never attempt to quarter arms where no contemporary example exists. Again, I do acknowledge my error with not including references, and I will be rectifying this.
As to your aesthetic critique -- pastiche -- you are certainly entitled to your opinions, but I am in no way failing to follow the rules of heraldry when creating these illustrations, and I will do my best to explain the decisions I have made.
First, allow me to say that I have studied heraldry for over twenty years.  Like you, I am immensely interested in the academic aspects and history of the practice.  However, I must beg your acknowledgement that, in addition to the academic discipline, there is a rich artistic aspect to heraldry.  Focusing purely on the blazon often produces dry, uninteresting executions which I do not believe was ever the intention of the heralds.  One cannot ignore the history of the pomp associated with the noble knight and his coat armour.  The range of charges and tinctures, shields, banners, barding and badges speak volumes to the fanfare associated with the practice of heraldic decoration, flamboyance and pride.  Why else would the College of Arms exist, laws be written, and suits be filed in the name of protecting the rights to bear a coat of arms?
If you need further evidence to the wide range of illustrative interpretation of blazons you need look no further than the cathedrals, monasteries and parish churches across England and Europe. These buildings are alive with brightly colored arms and you'd be hard pressed to find any two rampant lions that look alike. So, your point about distractions and liberties is a bit lost on me. I have stayed true to the rules of the blazon -- field, charges, tinctures, et al. Yes, I have chosen to employ diapering and other more modern forms of design, but I prefer to see arms beautifully illustrated rather than mechanically cut out with overly repeated charge elements from SVG and vector files so readily available.
So why then? Throughout my study of heraldry and history, it has always amazed me at just how difficult it can be to locate existing illustration of historic arms, quartered arms, etc.  I was recently writing a piece on the Most Noble Order of the Garter and found it incredibly frustrating that there was no comprehensive place to quickly reference the coat armour displayed by the knights therein. I know these arms are on display at the College, but not online. I therefore decided that I would take it upon myself to illustrate the arms of all the knights of the Order from the time of its founding through Elizabeth I – 392 to be exact -- no small undertaking to be certain.
I appreciate that you might disagree with my creative choices, and again, you are certainly entitled to your opinions.  However, I will begrudgingly explain my reasoning, though I do believe your aesthetic opinions on how a blazon should be interpreted holds no weight in the grand scheme of what should or should not be added to the Wiki. Your preference for the flat, cold version of the Courtenay arms -- big yellow field, three red dots -- suggests to me that you have gone too far in the other direction. Or three torteaux can be beautifully displayed and still be academically correct and perfectly acceptable to the "student of heraldry," Garter and coronet be damned.
The practice of encircling the arms with the Garter of the Order began to see prevalence during the reign of Henry VII.  It became constantly observed in the design of stall plates during the reign of Henry VIII.  There are examples of earlier encirclements (e.g. Charles, Duke of Burgundy - c.1469, and Francis Lovel, Viscount Lovel (1483).  Seeing as how my goal has been to illustrate the arms of all of the knights of the Order from Edward III through Elizabeth I, I made the conscious decision to encircle all of the arms with the Garter for consistency sake and as a nod to the currently accepted practice. I am not attempting to replicate the original plates or represent my illustrations as historical copies. They are my interpretations of the historical blazons, but true and accurate to the best of my abilities, and following the rules.  I wanted the group of 392 illustrations to be consistent and uniform in this manner, so yes, there are definite anachronistic elements in play.  I would point out that there is a great deal of precedence for this practice throughout the history of writing on the subject.  Biographers, heralds, engravers, artisans, and historians have, for centuries, created all sorts of illustrative elements where the Garter and/or coronets have been added to historical arms.
With regards to the coronets.  I differ with you on this issue in that I prefer to be able to quickly identify the peer ranking of a subject.  Coat armour tells us nothing of this and while you are correct that it is a relatively recent practice, it is certainly the current practice and it is very much my artistic right to make such a choice as it is not outside the rules or acceptable practice of modern heraldic illustration.  To be honest, my preference would have been to include the crests, helms and mantling of each individual, but alas that is additional time I cannot spare.
Again, I do appreciate your feedback.  While I strongly disagree with your aesthetic opinions, I do value your corrective feedback and the ability to have such discourse in the online Wikiverse.
R. Scott Nourse (talk) 06:41, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
Your work is of enormous benefit to WP, and you deserve great credit. I am not a wikilawyer, and my complaint re lack of source was not in that regard but simply to express what a shame it is for fellow students of heraldry like myself that you did not enrich your work still further with these details, which no doubt you have made a note of somewhere. Your work came to my notice as I am putting together an article Garter stall plate which aims to reproduce images of all the Garter stall plates ( I'd be delighted if you can help), and I deduced that these were your sources in most cases (perhaps not for Edward Courtenay). What is a real shame for me is that I can't see the "meat" of your images as large as possible, because they are made smaller by the addition of coronets and garters. All that work in depicting the quarterings then not to show them in a size which can be properly examined! I take your point about recognising different degrees of the peerage from the coronet, but as a purist and speaking here from an art-historical viewpoint, I don't like the red velvet caps. They are I think anachronistic for most of the early KG's. the shape of coronets too changes over the ages, although the elements may stay the same. I associate your style of ensemble with for example smart 19th century bookplates, and have trouble seeing that very recognisable style in an article about a Tudor statesman. I do agree with you that escutcheons should be decorative, and that the svg ones generally used on WP are flat, but size-wise they do give a large view of the "meat" which is at the core of the study of heraldry. That's why it's a shame you have denied us the benefit of your beautifully made images in large size. That's my point - the real value of your work is detracted from by unimportant periphery items which shrink the images. Also, why the gilded edges to the escutcheons? That's decorative certainly, but in my opinion they'd be perfect if black edged without the garter and coronets, at 200px. Can you do 2 versions, another with just the shields, black edged, concentrating on the blazon? What a cheeky question! But I must say they do look good in List of Knights and Ladies of the Garter, which you have done great work on. My conclusion is that your work is very valuable, but could be even more so to the student of heraldry if only the arms were divested of their "frames" & shown & bigger. Thanks for taking my comments as intended constructive suggestions. I do admire very greatly the artistic skill you have put into the shields, so much better than the usual svg ones, and the sheer quantity of your work is staggering. P.S. having re-read your post I was struck by "(I) found it incredibly frustrating that there was no comprehensive place to quickly reference the coat armour displayed by the knights therein." Note your use of the word "coat armour", i.e the meat of heraldry. Something I've been looking for too, your work could be the ultimate solution, the nec plus ultra, if you'd loose those distracting coronets and garters and just give us the coat armour!(Lobsterthermidor (talk) 20:27, 24 November 2013 (UTC))

Unembellished arms images - thanks![edit]

Thanks very much indeed for your new images of "unembellished arms" minus garters etc. These are superb images which I doubt could be bettered. As I suggested above, these would be the nec plus ultra of heraldic images on WP, and I think I'm right now seeing the results. I will certainly be using them and helping to get them onto the pages where they belong. Thanks for the great work! (Lobsterthermidor (talk) 16:26, 2 January 2014 (UTC))


Hello. I just wanted to let you know that I think your coats of arms are amazing.--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 00:20, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Thank you very much, Brianann. I deeply appreciate the feedback. --R. Scott Nourse (talk) 02:56, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

A barnstar for you![edit]

Special Barnstar Hires.png The Special Barnstar
For your beautiful coats of arms which add to the visual appeal of so many articles. Your work is very much appreciated! Madame Bonheur (talk) 06:15, 13 April 2014 (UTC)
Dear Madame Bonheur, Thank you so very much. It is nice to hear that people are finding my work helpful. Your feedback, and the barnstar, have truly made my day. Very kind regards, --R. Scott Nourse (talk) 02:01, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

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