Sir Robert Strange
The 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie
Bronze Money Plate
This is a paper impression showing Sire Robert Strange’s Scrolling Art Work.
~ Scroll Art Work Evidence ~
Using Strange’s bronze engraved money plate we are going to tie-in a broad spectrum of American art that was created by Robert Scot and his Philadelphia Artisans. The point of this article is to show how Robert Scot used Sir Robert Strange’s signature Scrolling Art technique and then modified it over time for use in American Insignia designs. This is a broad spectrum of art projects that would be used as official federal and state motifs.
These bronze money plates were engraved by Sir Robert Strange for Scotland’s Bonnie Prince Charlie. The Prince had the plates made in order to pay the Clansmen of the Highlands who made up his Jacobite Army. Before the young Pretender sailed to Scotland and raised the Jacobite standard in Glenfinnan, he asked Sir Robert Strange to engrave several nominal Pence money plates so he could pay his Jacobite army who supported him. Since victory was uncertain in this campaign, the decision was made to only use the plates in the grace of victory or print monetary sums when needed (Possibly as an I.O.U). Sometime in 1745, when Prince Charlie was on the run from the British soldiers between Inverness and the moors of Culloden he tossed the money plates into a pond before fleeing to France.
The point of my Concept Notes is to examine Sir Robert Strange’s signature scrolling art work. This style of art was most likely used as an anti-counterfeit technique, but was combine with religious and Scottish heraldry to give it sovereignty. With this unique combine nature, the scrolling art can be viewed as an authoritative copyright to the House of Stuart, and a legal deterred for other artisans not to copy or use this scrolling artwork. (Since the Bonnie Prince was in the process of restoring the House of Stuart, one can conclude that this scrolling art work never became formally accepted and recognized as being copyright to the House of Stuart). So, any money printed off these plates was worthless unless the exiled Prince was able to regain the British throne hereby making it actual legal tender. The Bonnie must have had the foresight to pay his Jacobite Army and supporters immediately after certain military victories. By having Sir Robert Strange make these plates prior it enabled him to establish his authority immediately after his victory.
Since the Bonnie Prince lost the war at the Battle of Culloden in 1745, it most likely voided any predetermined copyright claim to the scrolling artwork by the House of Stuart. This allowed Sir Robert Strange’s student Robert Scot to use it 30 years later when he went to America to be an anti-counterfeit currency engraver for the southern colonies. Robert Scot used his teachers scrolling art work and then ultimately changed it over a period of time into his own personal signature Monogram Snake Art with a Beaded Cypher design. I personally call it the, “Transformational Worm & Snake Scrolling.” I haven’t figured out what the Beaded Cypher Number Pattern represents, but it could grant some kind of heraldry, authority, or represent the Scottish Royal family Culture somehow. I know Robert Scot used it in a number of engravings over his lifetime. From early American George Washington Inaugurals to later English King & Constitution Buttons. (Figure A.1: GWI 21 & GWI 22 Figure: A.1)
Figure A.1: 1789 GWI 21 With Scrolling Art & Beaded Cypher
Figure A.2: 1790’s King & Constitution W/ Beaded Cypher.
Underlying Symbol Meanings:
In the late 1780’s and through the 1790’s, Congressional Committees were asking artists to submit heraldry drawings to give America its new official insignias. These new insignias were needed to represent America as a new unified country on the worlds stage. There was a lot of ideas brought forth to underscore what kind of insignia would be needed to represent America’s new federal government and all of it’s branch offices. The founding fathers and state congressional leaders formed Congressional Committees for this specific purpose. The committees sought out the help from the well known artists that were living in America. They ultimately chose the artists who’s renditions provided the historical symbolism to give America it’s official authority. The most important underlying premises for any of the submitted drawings is that it would reflect qualities like, Majestic Authority, Religious Heraldry, and have a Preeminent Official Stature as a nation in all official government documents.
I believe that the congressional committees ended-up choosing the art of Robert Scot and his Philadelphia Artisans for a lot of the countries new official insignias. Most likely because it gave an ancient historical heraldry and also a religious reference with God. I believe that Robert Scot’s idea of using Sir Robert Strange’s Scrolling Art Work was key in his later art becoming the foundation in America’s insignias. What i believe makes Robert Scot’s Scrolling Art work different from his competitors is that his art work possessed an “Underlying Meaning” which gave religious authority, and also a Scottish history that is tied into the ancient Royal culture.
To understand the symbol relations used in America’s heraldry depictions, we must first start with the scroll work done in Sir Robert Strange’s 1745, money plate engraving. In the engraving of the one penny and two pence (Fig A.3), we can clearly see the scrolling art work forms a type-of- Crest of symbols which reflect an underlying representation of authoritative history. Let us first look at the religious representation within the art. There are three tubular off-shoots on the bottom of the scroll work which i believe represents Jesus Christ and his reference to the Worm. This reflection of a worm grants the depiction a religious authority by the way of Christianity. Next, is the Regnal Crown of Scotland that is surmounting the scrolling art work. This specific crown was drawn to reflect the authority of the House of Stuart and the ancient Kings. This Royal symbol also grants automatic authority that cannot be questioned by the citizenry. It is also how Sir Robert Strange connects his art with the symbols that represent the Royal bloodlines of the various families of Scotland. So, one can conclude that Sir Robert Strange’s Scrolling Art work is a representation of Scottish Royal Culture and grants religious heraldry. These two factors would make up the foundation premises for Robert Scot’s art submissions for heraldry insignias.
Figure A.3: Robert Strange’s Engraving of One Penny / Two Pence
I believe that Robert Scot used Strange’s ideas because America needed new insignia that gave heraldry and religious Authority.
Robert Scot’s Transformational Worm & Snake Scrolling Art
Lets look at several types of earlier American engraved objects that are documented as Robert Scot artwork. First, we should begin with his earliest known artwork in colonial currency (Fig.B-1) In this state backed note we can see that he uses the same scrolling techniques that was taught to him by his old teacher Sir Robert Strange. These are very similar techniques that can be reflected from the 1745, Bonnie Prince money plates. One can certainly conclude that he bought this authoritative scrolling technique to America for his own use in anti-counterfeit techniques on currency notes.
Figure B.1: Currency Note Engraving by Robert Scot.
Colonel John Proctor’s 1st Battalion Westmoreland County Pennsylvania militia flag is another perfect example of how Robert Scot transforms his scrolling art technique to reflect earlier family ties in ancient history with other European Royals to the Scottish Royal family bloodlines. In this flag, we found hundreds of embossed or impressed symbols in the fabric which I believe detail this history which grants it’s Royal authority. We know that some of these fabric symbols are stone mason symbols which are a reflection of the Scottish Royal family history, and their associations with 12th Century Cathedrals they built and supported. One can say this can give it it’s religious authority. There is also subcutaneous symbols pressed into the fabric like the letter, “E” (which is the Latin symbol for God). which most likely denote to the (Order) Knights of St. John and it’s Royal interwoven marriage history. Here again these symbols grants historical Royal authority by bloodlines. Please look for a full account of symbolism in my Do Not Tread On Me Flag section.
In this article, we are just going to focus on Robert Scot’s scrolling artwork which covers an earlier time period with the Normans and Viking conquerors. If we look at the top left hand side of the flag, we can see how he conforms the scrolling art design to depict a Dragon which represents the Germanic Norse Seafarers. (Fig B-2). He probably did this to give the flag (or Scottish Royals) an earlier authority from history. We should also note that the Norman’s conquest of England was in 1066. In the 10th century, these Normans were descended from the earlier feudal Vikings who were given overlordships in areas of northern France- the Dutchy of Normandy. We also know that two Vikings even ascended to the throne of England between 1013-1035. So, this can be viewed as the Scottish Royal family marriage ties with the earlier Vikings / Normans. This would most likely date from the 8th to the 11th centuries. On the right-hand-side, Robert Scot transformed his scrolling art work to represent and tie-in the earlier Pictish Snake history.
Figure B-2: Scrolling Art Tribute to Vikings & Pictish People
Photograph Illustrations by Dale Hawley.
In the Lawrence Washington Seal we see how Robert Scot transformed his signature Scrolling Art into a Monogram Art for noted individuals. Here again he cleverly infuses this Scrolling Monogram Art with religious and cultural history. First, we see the Christianity reflection of Jesus and his reference to the Worm. This could grant the seal a religious authority. Second, he transformed some of the Scrolls into Serpent Snakes to give reference to the ancient Pictish Snake history (Fig C-3).
Figure C-3: The Lawrence Washington Seal: Photograph by RJ Silverstein.
The last example I am going to show of Robert Scot’s Transformational Scrolling Art is on the burial cannon of William Augustus Washington (Fig 4). Even though James Byers of Philadelphia made the cannon, it was Robert Scot who engraved the shield with his Scrolling Artwork. In this shield Robert Scot combine the era’s accomplishments of William Washington with ancient cultural history. We see the newly founded U.S. government monogram and it’s surrounding crest with his signature style scrolling. This gives it the religious and historical representation. Next we have the Phrygian Cap and Liberty Pole to represent W. Washington’s struggle for freedom. This art can be taken from the Romans or the Bonnie Price’s propaganda’s use.
What makes this cannon shield’s engraving very special is that he combined his Scrolling Artwork with a Special Beaded Cypher Pattern Design. This rare seen beaded design is a representation of a secret cypher that has relation to a number pattern. Obviously, this holds a special significance and meaning to certain onlookers. We do know that Freemasons of that era used numbered patterns which held significance and meaning, but at this point I am at a loss as to deciphering it.
Figure 4. William A. Washington’s Burial Cannon