Friday, September 14, 2012

Flags for the Irish Brigade III

Below are the flags I used for my latest Irish unit, MacColla's Lifeguard. They are another pair of flags from the 12 listed in the contemporary "True Informer" news sheet (1644). There are no contemporary illustrations of the flags, so layout and imagery are based entirely on the True Informer descriptions. 

All of the colours are thought to have featured a red saltire on a yellow field in the canton, and the Royal Crown and cypher (CR), together with the latin motto "Vivat Carolus Rex", or "Long Live King Charles". There is often debate about the use of a red saltire on a yellow field in the canton of the Irish flags. This is based upon a suggestion by Hayes McCoy in his book on Irish flags that the cross was actually an Irish cross. This is often accompanied by an assertion that the saltire was not used as an Irish national flag in the mid-17th century. However Young, in Emblematic Tradition (3), reckons Father Wadding, whose description Hayes McCoy cites, may be describing earlier flags or prototypes, whereas the eye-witness reporting in the True Informer saw the actual colours. There is also plenty of evidence for contemporary or earlier use of the red saltire (and note this is not a burgundy cross mis-described) in Ireland by 1640,s and 50's. Click on this link for more info – yes its wiki, but there are good citations

It is most unfortunate that none of the contemporary Scottish chroniclers bothered to describe the flags they saw the Irish carrying at Auldearn, or Aberdeen (Spalding, where are you when we need you!), and so like Stuart Reid, I have chosen to favor the True Informer descriptions.

 The first colour is a white sheet with "a blood red cucifix". There is no illustration of the flag, so the cross with the gold light flare is my own interpretation. The motto on this sheet is "AEQUUM EST PRO CHRISTO MORI", which translates as "It is just to die for Christ". When I made this flag I made a spelling mistake so AEQUUM is AQUUM. doh!

The second is a yellow sheet, with "the resurrection of christ". No illustration of the original flag design exists but I have based the picture on the famous illustration by Graham Turner in the Osprey "Scots Armies of the English Civil Wars", written by Stuart Reid (Men-at-Arms 331). The motto on this sheet is "EXURGAT DEUS DISSIPENTUR INIMICI", which translates as "Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered". The motto is incorrect in Reid's book, but I had made the flags before I discovered about the error, so my flag reads "EXURGAT DEUS DISSIPEXTUR". Easily fixed with a dab of paint or pixels.

I chose to include this iconic flag with Lifeguard as one of the contemporary chroniclers describes MacColla as being accompanied with a yellow flag at Auldearn. This may have also have been the King's Standard, which Wishart reports that MacColla carried to distract the Covenanter attack at Auldearn while Montrose was busy getting the rest of the foot in order.

As previously, both flags were made in photoshop, and printed on good quality paper. They were subsequently entirely re-painted, to give them the hand-painted look. They were cut out, folded and glued to a 6 cm steel pin using superglue. At the same time the paper was glued together using a glue stick. The flag was then folded by rolling gently around a paint brush handle while the glue is still wet, and once dry was cut using scissors to give a more ragged campaign look.

I have some alternate Flags for MacColla's Lifeguard which are of a more Highland/Ulster flavour. I will use these on a MacColla command base for Pike and Shotte. I have also put taken a few WIP shots of these flags and will share all this once the command base is complete (I am just waiting on the bases from Litko). 

Descriptions of all 12 of the Irish colours, including the latin motto with translation can be found in "The English Emblematic Tradition (3): Emblematic Flag Devices of the English Civil Wars, 1642-1660" by Alan R. Young (Ed.). This excellent tome can also be previewed online at Google Books. The flags are also described by Stuart Reid in "Scots Armies of the C17th. III: The Royalist Armies, 1639-46" (published by Partizan Press). 


Flags of War said...

Great work mate. Im reworking my whole Montrose Army range. I just did these two but they are slightly different from yours. Now how to draw Jesus freeing the souls from purgatory hahaha

elcid1099 said...

Thanks mate. Don't need a third Irish regiment for Auldearn, but when I get time I will take a stab at a couple more flags. That one is a nice challenge, but I also like the arms-from-cloud motif too. Look forward to seeing what you come up with!