Badge for Lady Beatrice della Rocca

Lady Beatrice selected her badge in consultation with Erich Gutermuth, the deputy herald for Whyt Whey, and I was pleased to be able to assist them with the registration process.

A roundel counter-vair.

This design raised an interesting corner case where two of the SCA’s heraldic rules intersect:

Firstly, longstanding precedent holds that you can’t register a fieldless badge consisting of a shape which is a standard form for heraldic display, such as an escutcheon, billet, or roundel. The reason for this rule is that allowing such registrations would create the possibility for confusion; for example, when viewing a black and white square, one might wonder “is this a delf per pale sable and argent, or is it simple per pale sable and argent displayed on a rectangular object?”

Secondly, SENA A.3.E.3. states that you can’t register an undivided field such as simply “counter-vair” as that would be too simple; all registrations need to contain at least a charge or a field division.

Conveniently in this case those two rules work together in Beatrice’s favor: because you could not register an undivided, uncharged field of counter-vair, there is no potential for confusion: the image above can only legitimately be interpreted as a roundel counter-vair.

This ruling was described in the April 2002 LoAR:

We do not register fieldless badges which appear to be independent forms of armorial display. Charges such as lozenges, billets, and roundels are all both standard heraldic charges and “shield shapes” for armorial display. The SCA has never protected armory consisting of plain tinctures… If we do not protect, and have never protected, the arms Or, we should not be concerned about the possible appearance of a display of Or by using a single lozenge Or as a fieldless badge. … Therefore, a “shield shape” which is also a standard heraldic charge will be acceptable as as a fieldless badge in a plain tincture…

As all of the vairs are considered a single tincture, this badge should be registrable.

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