Richental, Rüxner, Roll Chronicles: New York heraldica online


Spencer Collection Ms. 32, S. 276: The Archbishop of Kiev, Gregorij Camblak (with his coats of arms) has a Greek mass celebrated. Source: New York Publi Library. Licence: public domain.

The New York Public Library has just put 180,000 images online free of any limiting licences – public domain material owned and digitized by the NYPL therefore is still public domain material, and in fact the NYPL positively encourages users to use these materials creatively. (Libraries in the German speaking world, in contrast, still tend to practice copy-fraud.) Most images are 19th and early 20th century photographs, but of course the NYPL has older holdings, and as in any decent collection, there’s some heraldic material to be found.

Unfortunately, the tagging is not very sophisticated, at least not for things heraldic. Searching for ‘coats of arms’ as a tag (‘topic’) gives nine hits – not what one would have expected, and irritatingly the tags ‘coats of arms – 1500-1599’ and ‘coats of arms – 1400-1499’ give nine and 20 hits respectively, with no overlap to the more general search term ‘coats of arms’. However, while 20 hits for 15th c. heraldy sounds better than 9 hits overall, there is no Richental material among these twenty images, which makes one a bit suspicious. Alternative terms like ‘heraldy’, ‘heraldic’, ‘armorial’ etc. do not give any better results.

Only a free search for ‘coats of arms’ like this

produces a high number of hits (well above 800), and limiting the results to pre-1600 material still leaves 348 images taken from books, maps and other primary sources (including objects).

The most interesting materials are, of course, all found in the Spencer collection: Richental’s Chronicle of the Council of Konstanz (Ms. 32 aka the Aulendorf copy; see my post here), the Tournament chronicle of Jörg Rugen alias Rüxner alias Rixner … (Ms. 176; see Klaus Graf’s post here), and a 15th c. Roll Chronicle of the Kings of England and the Botelers of Sudely Castle (Ms. 193). Only Ms. 193 is fully digitized  – which makes the “view as a book” option a rather useless feat for these three heraldic sources, as the first two are rather incomplete and the last one is not a book (but a roll). None of these images is new, it should be said, but it is in any case very welcome that they are all clearly labelled as public domain now.


Cite this blog post
Christof Rolker (2016, January 15). Richental, Rüxner, Roll Chronicles: New York heraldica online. Heraldica Nova. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from

Christof Rolker

Christof Rolker is a historian interested in the Middle Ages, esp. canon law, kinship, family, sex and gender, and the use of symbolic goods (names, coats of arms etc).

2 Responses

  1. Klaus Graf says:

    Leider ist die Auflösung z.B. bei Rüxner unzureichend. Hat jemand Zugriff auf eine vollständige Reproduktion? Vielleicht kann man ein komplettes Digitalisat dieser wichtigen Quelle crowdsourcen? In den USA sind die Preise für Digitalisate im Vergleich zu hier ja astronomisch.

  2. Elmar Hofman says:

    Dear Christof,

    Thank you for drawing attention to these digitized collections! Going through your results, there are some other interesting manuscripts with multiple coats of arms which deserve to be mentioned:

    • Something what a appears to be a 16th century French treatise of blason (New York, Public Library, Spencer Collection Ms. 070)
    • A book called “Le Triumphe d’Anvers Faict pour la Noble Festes de la Thoison d’Or…” (1555), which should contain about 50 coats of arms (New York, Public Library, Spencer Collection Ms. 060)
    • Wappenbuch der Familie Funckh (ca. 1530) (New York, Public Library, Spencer Collection Ms. 106)
    • Nuremberger Schonbart, 64 drawings of men in festival costume, with coats of arms (New York, Public Library, Spencer Collection Ms. 110)
    • An Italian armorial with 171 coats of arms (New York, Public Library, Spencer Collection Ms. 133)

    As you said, regrettably of most manuscripts only a couple of scans are available, but at least it gives an idea of the interesting manuscripts that are out there.

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