Home Forums Medieval Which shades to use to paint historically, figurines of Welsh warriors?

This topic contains 29 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Paskal 5 months ago.

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  • #79251

    Paskal
    Participant

    Hello everyone,

    I have just realized that even in the book WRG, there is little information on the color of clothes, shields and all that could be worn by Welsh warriors of the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries…

    If you can help, thank you, but please give your sources.

    Paskal

    #79273
    Ruarigh
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    I don’t know anything about Welsh sumptuary laws so cannot comment on social restrictions on clothing colours, but this link lists some of the dyes available so you can work out the range of colours available: http://www.cpgt2005.madasafish.com/PDF/Dye%20plants.pdf

    It’s worth remembering that using different mordants can affect the final colour of the dye as well as its colourfastness. Generally speaking, I would say that a full range of colours could have been used, based on the available dyes. That means you should be fairly free to use whatever you want, although dayglo colours would be right out.

    These colours are what the Vikings could have had using dyes in Scandinavia. Some of those dyes are the same as those available in Wales, and there is no reason why wealthier Welsh people would not have imported dyes or dyed cloth too.

     

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    #79274

    Paskal
    Participant

    Thank you Ruarigh,

    But were there colors by social classes as in some peoples or colors unloved or even prohibited for ‘X’ reasons?

    Paskal

    #79275
    Ruarigh
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    But were there colors by social classes as in some peoples or colors unloved or even prohibited for ‘X’ reasons?

    I don’t know. Sorry. I only know what was possible, not what custom or law decreed could be worn. I have done a quick search, and there does not seem to be much information for the period you are interested in.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    #79281

    Paskal
    Participant

    Thank you for your search, but I have the presentiment that it was so …

    Paskal

    • This reply was modified 10 months ago by  Paskal.
    #79283

    zippyfusenet
    Participant

    “‘Ow can yer tell ‘ee’s a king?”

    “Becos ‘ee’s not all covered wif sh*t.”

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    #79285

    Paskal
    Participant

    Hi Irv,

    How are you ?

    Sorry but I do not understand anything about what you wrote ???

    Paskal

    #79286
    Not Connard Sage
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Dyestuffs were expensive. Impecunious Welsh knights would probably have made do with what was locally available mostly.

    ‘Correct’ shades are bullshit. Colour depth depended on a multitude of variables, and wouldn’t be the same from batch to batch from the same dyer.

    Forget the colour fastness that modern aniline dyes give too. Most dyed cloth would fade quite quickly.

    So you want a green? Pick a dull earthy green, it’s the ‘right’ shade. Incidentally, green was a two stage process, yellow dye first, then overdye with blue. In Britain the blue would likely be derived from woad, and the yellow from weld, dock or dyer’s wort.

    http://www.wildcolours.co.uk/html/woad.html

    http://www.wildcolours.co.uk/html/weld.html

     

    I imagine that as far as Sumptuary Laws went the rebellious Welsh ignored ’em. 🙂

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #79301

    Paskal
    Participant

    Yeah in Wales we use what is most in Wales, except that it can be …

    #79312

    OB
    Participant

    We don’t have the detail of the Welsh Sumptuary Laws but they were probably very like the Irish ones.

    In Ireland we are told slaves wore one colour, free farmers two, with the aristocracy and learned classes wearing up to six colours depending on status. 

    Nothing to stop anyone wearing different shades of the same colour.

    The idea was that you could see who and what you were dealing with before speaking to them.  Quite an important advantage where the law of Sarhad (insult) was in operation.  The greater the status of the individual the more it cost to insult them.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #79314
    Ruarigh
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Dyestuffs were expensive … Most dyed cloth would fade quite quickly.

    It’s easy to overemphasise the expense of dyestuffs, when most colours can be produced using readily available plants, bark or nuts. Onions are not particularly hard to grow, dandelions are easily found, and some common lichens can be used, for example. The key element is whether you have the time to spend gathering them or not.

    The idea that old dyes faded quickly is a Victorian myth. While yellows are not particularly colourfast, dyes like madder and woad are very colourfast, even without a mordant.

    Greens can be produced by using copper instead of iron as the mordant, so you don’t have to follow a two stage process. I forget which dyestuff you need for that though. I think it works with woad, but could be wrong.

    There’s an interesting overview of dyeing that discusses the dyeing process and how mordant, temperature, etc. affect the final outcome. It focuses on the Viking Age but the techniques are relevant to 11th- to 13th-century Wales. https://www.academia.edu/4652690/Viking_Age_Dyes-_A_Brief_Overview

    The other thing worth remembering is that linen is notoriously difficult to dye with natural dyes, and so it would be either natural or bleached.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/
    #79316

    Paskal
    Participant

    @ OB

    Yes entirely in agreement, some color had to be reserved, others forbidden, others not found ect … But maybe not in the way of the Irish …

    @ Ruarigh

    Of course, the natural dyes in Wales were numerous and strong, but what colors were used by whom and for what?
    Those who wrote about the Welsh in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries should know …

    #79317
    General Slade
    General Slade
    Participant

    Nothing to stop anyone wearing different shades of the same colour.

    It’s worth bearing in mind that colours were perceived differently than they are today. For example, glas (generally translated as blue) could refer to shades of blue, green and grey, so the concept of the ‘same colour’ probably meant something quite different back then.  I imagine you could be wearing a blue tunic, grey hose and a green hat and still be considered to be wearing only one colour.

    #79318

    Paskal
    Participant

    It’s strange that different colors are the same name …

    #79323

    Paskal
    Participant

    On the Llyfrgell Gendlaethol Cymru we find a Latin text of the Laws of Hywel Dda:

    Peniarth 28 : a Latin text of the Laws of Hywel Dda

    Peniarth MS 28 (formerly Hengwrt MS 7), containing a Latin copy of the Laws of Hywel Dda, belongs to one of the National Library of Wales’s foundation collections of manuscripts, the Peniarth Manuscripts, most of which come from the library of the seventeenth-century Welsh antiquary, Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt (1592?-1667).

    The manuscript comprises twenty-five vellum folios and measures 190 x 145 mm. (written space c. 145 x c. 115 mm.).

    It was rebound in red leather at the National Library in 1940.

    The ‘Laws of Hywel Dda’ is the term applied to a system of native Welsh law named after Hywel Dda (died 950) who is credited with its codification. None of the surviving Welsh law manuscripts, however, is earlier than the second quarter of the 13th century.

    Although they contain law that is of 12th- and 13th-century origin, scholars are agreed that these manuscripts contain a core of matter that is much earlier in date. Most of these books are small in size and were probably designed as ‘pocket-books’ to be carried about by lawyers rather than to be kept on library shelves.

    Peniarth MS 28 belongs to this first generation of law-books, being written probably in the middle of the 13th century, a date arrived at by Daniel Huws on palaeographical and physical grounds; this challenges J. Gwenogvryn Evans’s dating of the last quarter of the 12th century.

    However, the manuscript differs from its contemporaries in a number of respects.

    It is much larger than the other law-books of the period, probably intended for a library rather than the pocket of a lawyer, and it is written in Latin rather than in Welsh.

    But what singles it out most is the series of illustrations it contains portraying the king and the officials of his household.

    The conclusion to be drawn is that the scribe of Peniarth MS 28 had been commissioned to write a special copy of the Welsh laws, probably a presentation copy for some dignitary.

    The fact that it is written in Latin suggests an ecclesiastic rather than a lawyer, maybe a non-Welshman.

    Textual evidence suggests that it was probably written in south-west Wales.

    It is known that, by the beginning of the 14th century, the manuscript was at St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury.

    The evidence for this comes from one of two pastedowns preserved at the end of the volume.

    These are all that remain of the original ‘old oak boards binding’ seen by J. Gwenogvryn Evans at the end of the 19th century, when it was still at Peniarth, Merionethshire.

    One of these bears the press-mark of the library of St Augustine’s Abbey, Canterbury, and the name of the donor, now partly illegible but interpretable as that of William Byholte (fl. 1292-1318), prior of the abbey.

    It is also thought that this was the copy of the Welsh laws consulted by John Peckham, archbishop of Canterbury, 1279-94, when he sent his letter to Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1282, denouncing the prince’s morals and those of the Welsh, and in which he makes two references to the Laws of Hywel Dda.

    The manuscript was still at Canterbury at the end of the 15th century, as ‘Leges Howelda Wallici’ appears in the catalogue of the abbey’s library compiled c. 1491-7 (Dublin, Trinity College Library MS 360).

    Its subsequent history, however, until its acquisition by Robert Vaughan of Hengwrt, is not known.

    The library catalogue once belonged to the astrologer Dr John Dee (1527-1608) and alongside the above entry, Dee has written ‘Leges Howelis Da’.

    It is known that Dee acquired many manuscripts from St Augustine’s, Canterbury, but there is no direct evidence that Peniarth 28 was one of them.

    The illustrations contained in the volume must be regarded as a rarity for medieval Welsh manuscripts.

    They fall into two categories, firstly those which portray the king and some of the officials of his household, together with some other human figures, and secondly those which depict birds, animals and items of legal value.

    The representation of the king seems to be based upon a higher-quality archetype than the rest of the drawings, which are crude and lack sophistication.

    They are probably the work of the scribe as they appear to have been drawn in the same kind of ink as the text. Apart from the ink, he uses two main colours, green and red.

    Assuming a mid-thirteenth century date for the manuscript, the scribe’s use of green rather than the more common blue used at that date, especially for the capital letters, must be regarded as an archaism.

    Paskal

    #79326

    OB
    Participant

    Grey could also be liath and blue gorm but we do get cú glas for wolf and no modern person ever saw a green one so yes a different perception seems to have been going on.  Should we think of glas as bluey grey shading to green?

    There is no shortage of words in Irish Paskal, there are words galore.  Its working out exactly what the old authors meant when they used them.

    On Welsh Law, there’s the original which is pre Roman and like that in Ireland,  There is a Roman influence, a Christian one, a reinforcement of the original when the Irish arrive, an English one and a Norman one.  I’d say the Welsh sumptuary laws were close to the Irish ones.  I’m not aware of any colour being reserved like purple was among the Romans. 

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #79327

    Paskal
    Participant

    So-called ‘Sumptuary laws’ forbidding certain colours or materials had not come in at this early date.

    The main issue was money – or what could be stolen from the English. Personally, I think check is very unlikely.

    There have certainly been zero finds in Wales.

    The early Welsh did not emphasise their ‘Celtic-ness’.

    They emphasised their ‘Roman-ness’.

    #79334

    OB
    Participant

    Have a look at Gildas Paskal, he has quite a bit to say about what the early Welsh ruling class was emphasizing.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #79338

    Paskal
    Participant

    Gildas? Wales was born in 580 after the Battle of Chester … Gildas is of the Arthurian area, it’s still not the Welsh “area”…

    • This reply was modified 10 months ago by  Paskal.
    #79351

    OB
    Participant

    My last post on this one. If you read Gildas you will see the cultural direction of travel inherited by the early Welsh post the loss of significant parts of lowland Britannia- it’s not one that emphasizes Roman-ness. 

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #79355
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Not sure why the use of green in the illustration of the king (and many of his officers) must be an ‘archaism’?

    I mentioned in the other thread on uchelwyr that Welsh troops of the period we are talking about are often mentioned wearing green and white (a trend that continued with the Twdwr rise to power).

    The Laws of Hywel Dda, fascinating though they are make no mention of clothing laws. They say the King must give woolen clothes, and the Queen linen clothes to their officers three times a year (no colour stipulated). And they say the payment for a freeman hitting a bondman is 12 pence, six of which are for 3 cubits of white cloth to make a coat for cutting furze in, three for trousers and one for buskins and gloves. And that’s it as far as I know for clothing.

    I agree there were probably no sumptuary laws in Wales at this time.

    We have evidence of sorts for green red and white – so go with those if you need evidence. As others have said though, I think you can probably stretch your palette if you wish.

    As for chequered cloth – it had been fairly common throughout Europe, but I don’t remember seeing a lot of it mentioned or depicted in manuscripts at this period, so probably not.

     

    #79359

    Paskal
    Participant

    @ OB

    No at the time of Gildas everything had to be very different from the time of the Welsh who are no longer Sub Roman British…

    There is a reason for the WRG vagueness – lack of knowledge of that period in that place. Personally, I know of no visual representations from the period that interests me, and the archaeology is minimal.

    Medieval Welsh liked the colour red, they wore a lot of Whites and greens as well as earth tones ?

    Had a variety of shields and some would have one shoe because it was easier for them to get a grip on the ground from which they fought.

    Capes were also worn by some ? And they would be mostly white, red or green…

    There is I believe a a 13th century representation of a Welsh bowman – with a short bow !

    Also Most ‘Wargaming Welsh’ are actually a fantasy army…

    No ?

    Most English observers just said the Welsh were poorly dressed and left it at that. If Welsh warriors only managed one shoe in the 13th century, they probably managed none before then.The current theory is that they dressed like really really poor Saxons, (obviously not a theory that came from Wales!) I can’t find any record of Welsh shields at all. If you try Googling ‘welsh shields’ every image is of shields found in England.

    le seul expert actuel je suis au courant est http://heatherrosejones.com/index.html and I am afraid it will confirm how little information there is.

    Also our own estimates will be as good as someone else’s …

    • This reply was modified 10 months ago by  Paskal.
    #79363
    Not Connard Sage
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Impecunious

    Good god man, stop using big words.

    I am most compunctious about my sesquipedalian loquaciousness 🙂

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #79369
    Guy Farrish
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    @ OB No at the time of Gildas everything had to be very different from the time of the Welsh who are no longer Sub Roman British… There is a reason for the WRG vagueness – lack of knowledge of that period in that place. Personally, I know of no visual representations from the period that interests me, and the archaeology is minimal. Medieval Welsh liked the colour red, they wore a lot of Whites and greens as well as earth tones ? Had a variety of shields and some would have one shoe because it was easier for them to get a grip on the ground from which they fought. Capes were also worn by some ? And they would be mostly white, red or green… There is I believe a a 13th century representation of a Welsh bowman – with a short bow ! Also Most ‘Wargaming Welsh’ are actually a fantasy army… No ? Most English observers just said the Welsh were poorly dressed and left it at that. If Welsh warriors only managed one shoe in the 13th century, they probably managed none before then.The current theory is that they dressed like really really poor Saxons, (obviously not a theory that came from Wales!) I can’t find any record of Welsh shields at all. If you try Googling ‘welsh shields’ every image is of shields found in England. le seul expert actuel je suis au courant est http://heatherrosejones.com/index.html and I am afraid it will confirm how little information there is. Also our own estimates will be as good as someone else’s …

     I think you have been teasing us!

    I agree – virtually no evidence at all.

    Bad form to quote one’s own thread but see  Welsh one shoe Soldiers

    As Ms Jones seems to believe that Welsh (whenever we/they became Welsh -around this period in fact if changing self reference from Brython to Cymro is the test) wore pretty much the same as the English and vice versa, I take it your search for ‘distinctive celticism’ in the uchelwyr thread is itself something of a grail quest – at heart impossible?

     

    #79377

    Paskal
    Participant

    I’m happy with this topic, for now I’ll be content with red, white and green in solid color of tunic or shield , alternating it will make a lot of combinations, and for the Uchelwyr, they can have tunics of two colors to causes of their ornamental bands.

    It will be colorful and I hope that with such colors, it will not be more flashy than reality.

    Paskal

    #79510

    Paskal
    Participant

    This might be helpful:   https://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/vikdyes.html

    • This reply was modified 10 months ago by  Paskal.
    #79639

    Paskal
    Participant

    From what it seems from the 14th century Welsh warriors begin to lose the appearance they are familiar with (the 12th and 13th centuries), but what is their appearance during the WOTR ?

    Those of their english and continental counterparts ?

    #84885

    Paskal
    Participant

    By the way, the round shields of the foot and mounted Welsh warriors of the 12th and 13th centuries were flat or convex ?

    #85442

    Paskal
    Participant

    There’s a three-part series on the appearance of the Mediaeval Welsh by Paul Walsh in Slingshot issues 146-8, drawing on Welsh laws, poetry and so on.
    The back issues are no longer available so unless you know someone who’s been a member of the Society of Ancients for many years, the only access possible would be to buy the “Golden Years of Slingshot, 1965-2015” DVD !!!
    As for shields, in Part 3 he gives evidence for shields from Welsh epics; gold-chased, blue enamelled, yellow, white, but no designs are mentioned except that one is “gold-chased with a bar of azure enamel”, which could be a design but may mean the handle.

    #90561

    Paskal
    Participant

    For your information:

    For me, there is a problem, because the Welsh warriors figures from the Saxons Vikings Normans 25 mm range of Old Glory are equipped with the same shields that the Saracens infantry  figures from the Crusaders & Saracens 25mm range of Old Glory ???

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