One key aspect of “largess” in the SCA is the generosity flowing from royalty to their subjects. To welcome visitors, to thank people, & to otherwise show appreciation & caring for others, small gifts are given by royalty at many occasions. They may purchase items to give out, but ideally, their court & artisans will make small period gifts so the royalty has a selection to choose from. Also, people often donate items throughout the reign.
At the Crosston Ball this February, their majesties King Obadiah & Queen Ascelin presented me with a lovely basket overflowing with largess as a thank-you for running the ball. I was pretty surprised, especially when I got home & looked at everything — I counted 27 items, including many pieces of fine needlework. First, I decided to distribute much of it to the committee who helped me run the ball (still working on this, as I haven’t had a chance to see all of them). Second, I promised to myself that I would make largess items to pay back each item I received. No time limit, but I’m going to try to deliver something at each kingdom event I attend.
The first ones I’ve made are an Elizabethan portrait miniature reproduction & a pearl & gold necklace. I didn’t paint the miniature — I downloaded a high-resolution image from the Victoria & Albert Museum website (which anyone can do for personal use). It’s a portrait of a little girl painted by Isaac Oliver in 1590. I chose this because it could be a suitable gift to many people. Someone could wear it & say it’s their daughter, niece, cousin, or little sister.
I resized the image in PhotoShop, printed & cut it out, then I glued it to a brass frame that has a pinback (I have a bunch of these I’d bought on eBay for this purpose). I used E-6000 glue because it works great on metal, but you do have to let it dry overnight. Then I used a gold paint pen with a narrow tip to outline the portrait — this covers up the edge anywhere I didn’t cut perfectly evenly, plus it just looks fancy. The last step is to paint over the portrait with an acrylic sealant, which both protects the paper & gives it the brushstroked look of a real painting.
For the necklace, I used glass pearls & glass gold-colored beads from my stash. That’s where I discovered the gold & pearl pendant too. It’s strung on gold-colored Beadalon wire & has a gold metal clasp. I intended the necklace to have an Italian Renaissance style, but it could also be worn with Greek or Roman outfits.
I delivered these to Queen Ascelin at March Crown XLVII (tho’ I forgot to include my name with either of them, oh well). 25 more items to go!
(A few years ago, I made some velvet purses for largess; I’m not counting them in this number, but I could make more of those ones because I still have the patterns I drafted…)