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The Illyrian Armorial (Society of Antiquaries of London MS.54)

The Illyrian ArmorialNow available as PDF digital images on cross-platform CD-ROM

ISBN 1 897955 74 X

Arms of the Families and Surnames of Albania, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Dalmatia, Macedonia, Montenengro, Rascia, Serbia and Slavonia from the Armorial of Stanislas Rubchich, King of Arms to Tsar Stephen Dushan (Nemanja). 16th Century

This very important heraldic manuscript is among the earliest Slavonic manuscripts, and probably the first Serbo-Croat one, to have been collected in England. It seems to have first come into the possession of Edward Bourchier, Earl of Bath, some time before his death in 1637, but how and where he acquired this fascinating manuscript is uncertain. It passed from Bourchier, via his widow, to the Earls of Gainsborough, and the bookplate of Baptist Noel, Earl of Gainsborough (1684-1714) is pasted on the flyleaf. It was in the possession of Charles Lyttelton, Bishop of Carlisle, and was bequeathed to the Society of Antiquaries of London at his death in office as President of the Society in 1768. How it came into his possession remains a mystery.

The Illyrian ArmorialSaid to be based on an alleged fourteenth century original manuscript at Mt. Athos this is probably the earliest version now extant of this armorial. Its lapidary Bosancica script, the local variant of Cyrillic, is more accurate in its transcriptions than those of a similar armorial now in Zagreb.

It is now to be made available for the first time on CD-ROM together with a fully descriptive commentary by an expert in Balkan heraldry describing the importance of the manuscript and its relationship with other Balkan armorials.

Contents of the CD-ROM edition

  • John A. Goodall, FSA:“An Illyrian Armorial in the Society's Collection” The Antiquaries Journal, Vol.75, 1995
  • Index to the Illyrian Armorial by Michael J. Gunn
  • The complete manuscript in B&W
  • The Arms in full colour

Cross-platform PDF images on CD-ROM

The Illyrian ArmorialAvailable NOW List price £95.00


John Archibald Goodall, FSA, FRNS 1930-2005

John Goodall was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on 9 January, 1969, and thereafter was a regular attender at, and contributor to, meetings. For John, the Society was a surrogate family and the Library a second home. He first used the Library as a visitor on 9 July 1953 to look at the 14th century Antiquaries Roll, but in his later years in particular he worked there virtually every day. The enormous contribution John made to the life of the Antiquaries was recognised with the award in 1996 of the newly instituted Society of Antiquaries' Medal marking “outstanding service to the Society or the aims of the Society”. John was taken ill while working in the Society's Library early in November and taken to St. Thomas's hospital, where he was diagnosed as having cancer. Although this was initially a great shock to him, he recognised the inevitable consequences in a notably calm and positive spirit, observing that “one must accept one's karma”. After treatment, he was looking forward to being discharged, but died unexpectedly on the 23rd as the result of an infection.

John was born on 9th August 1930. His father seems to have little to do with his early life, as was common at that time, and this part of his life was occupied mostly with his mother, grandfather and great aunt. He may have been brought up a Methodist but converted first to Roman Catholicism and later went over to the Orthodox Church, studying for the priesthood for a time before becoming disillusioned and leaving the church.

John Archibald Goodall, FSA, FRNS 1930-2005

(photograph: John A.A. Goodall, FSA)

John was Sir Anthony Wagner's assistant at the College of Arms from the very early 1950s, but as this did not result in a permanent position equal to his ability, John had no choice but to move on. It pays tribute to John's character that he harbored no bitterness and indeed retained a good relationship with the College throughout his life and enjoyed the contacts he had there immensely. He later became a freelance researcher, carrying out much work in cataloguing private archives and in heraldic and antiquarian research for private clients and for friends. For a time in the 1980s he was also employed in Colletts Chinese Gallery, where he assisted in the acquisition of books concerning museum collections in mainland China. He found it interesting because such books were not readily available here and with his specialist knowledge he could make an informed choice of publications that would aid other scholars.

John will be best remembered for his work on English and continental heraldry and seals, but he was a man of quite phenomenal erudition and wide antiquarian learning. Encouraged by his good friends, John Page-Phillips and Malcolm Norris, he was very actively involved in the Monumental Brass Society in the 1960s and 1970s, even serving a spell on the MBS Council from 1965 to 1968. He collaborated with Page-Phillips on a 1974 reprint with scholarly corrections and additions of the J.G. and L.A.B. Waller's Series of Monumental brasses from the 13th to the 16th Century. John also provided considerable assistance to Page-Phillips in the latter's work on palimpsest brasses, which culminated in an important two volume publication in 1980 and to Norris, whose magisterial three volume study of brasses remains the standard work on the subject nearly thirty years after it was published in 1977-8. Both works are full of important discoveries made by John, providing ample evidence of his talents as the antiquarian equivalent of Sherlock Holmes. He also had an interest in other types of funeral monument, joining forces with his long-standing friend, Claude Blair, to produce two articles on medieval carved effigies at Winchelsea and Wilsthorpe.

John earliest publications, apart from a host of notes in the Coat of Arms journal, on Cardinal Morton's rebus and the use of armorial bearings by London aldermen in the Middle Ages, date from the late 1950s. Other articles followed, but not the string of authoritative books that one would expect of such a notable scholar. His name appears more commonly among the list of significant acknowledgements in the work of his many acquaintances than in the author line. He wrote only a single monograph: Heaven and Earth: 120 leaves from a Ming encyclopedia, published in 1978, dedicated to his closest friend, Hilary Eastmead. Most of his articles are short notes or collaborations with other scholars, although more substantive solo publications include ‘An Illyrian armorial in the Society's collection' in Ant. J. 75; ‘English medieval armorial tiles: an ordinary' in JBAA 153; ‘Heraldry in the decoration of English medieval manuscripts' in Ant. J. 77; ‘Some aspects of heraldry and the role of heralds in relation to the ceremonies of the late medieval and early Tudor court' in Ant. J. 82; and ‘The Church Notes for Ashby St Ledgers 1590-1721 transcribed and annotated', in The Catesbys of Ashby St. Ledgers and their brasses, to be published by the MBS in April 2006. He left a mass of papers at his death, many of which he had intended to publish when he was satisfied that he could take the work no further. His great wish when he knew that he was terminally ill was to complete his catalogue of the Society of Antiquaries' collection of seals, on which he continued to work on as best he could while in hospital, but perhaps the most important of the projects he left incomplete was Aspilogia 4.

John's acquaintance was wide, but he remained a very private man and, apart from Hilary Eastmead, even those who had known him for half a century knew little of his background and personal life, about which he rarely talked. Hilary remembers him as a wonderful, loving and caring man, with a marvelous sense of humour. During the early years of their acquaintance, John's interest in Asian studies grew and they regularly attended the Japanese tea ceremony of Hatsugama and Joyugama. John paid much attention to exhibitions and concerts performed by Chinese, Mongolian, Tibetan and Japanese visiting musicians and artists. In his leisure time John also went to concerts of Asian and early English music with Hilary, the while amassing an extensive collection of recordings, as well as making their own. The pair also gave lectures and talks at the City Literary Institute, the Far Eastern Painting Society and many other places.

Another of John's interests was gardening in his small but remarkably fertile plot of garden, sowing salad crops every year and taking great pleasure in horticultural matters, particularly the selection of seed and plants that had a well known traceable history and usage. In this connection he watched most gardening programs and was particularly fascinated by the reconstruction of lost gardens and the history of the development of the garden. This interest expanded to the study of indoor miniature gardens in the form of ikebana and ferns, the latter an interest which had been shared by his grand-father and great-grandfather, whose magnificent glasshouses housed highly prized collections of ferns and orchids. John collected and amassed a large number of books relating to this subject from China and Japan, which helped in the identification of plants and the symbolic associations attached to them by the peoples of both those countries.

John will be remembered not just for his remarkable knowledge, but for the generosity with which he shared his time and the fruits of his scholarship with others, whether distinguished Fellows or young scholars. In the Library he would invariably seek out his many acquaintances, attentively enquiring about the progress of their latest research. If one was having difficulties which John realised could be solved through a source in the Library, he would not only cite the book or article, but go straight to it, take it off the shelf and look up the precise page required. Often a problem could not be so easily solved, but it was not uncommon in such circumstances to hear from John a few days later; in the meantime he would spontaneously have researched assiduously on his friend's behalf, often visiting other libraries or checking manuscript sources. Those whose work would have been the poorer without John's encyclopaedic knowledge and endless willingness to help others are legion. His passing leaves an enormous void for those whom he knew and for the antiquarian world.

   
 
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