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Top heraldic artist owes career to Gillingham schooldays

By Blackmore Vale Magazine  |  Posted: May 12, 2012

Andrew at work in his Henstridge studio

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AN ILLUMINATED document being presented to the Dalai Lama next week is the work of a heraldic artist whose career stems back to his time at Gillingham School.

Andrew Jamieson has created the gold-embellished document for the Templeton Prize, being awarded to the Dalai Lama at St Paul's Cathedral in London on Monday.

Mr Jamieson, 50, who lives at Henstridge, is among the handful of top heraldic artists in the world.

But he owes it all to his terrible handwriting as a Gillingham schoolboy and a day out that turned his early passion for knights of old into a career.

His work is in demand all over the world with the Internet opening up new areas alongside more traditional clients including the royal family.

He produces the document for the Templeton Prize every year but this year the vellum is an extra-special one commemorating both the organisation's 40th anniversary and acknowledging the distinguished recipient.

Mr Jamieson said: "It started when I was at school and had terrible handwriting.

"My father gave me a book on calligraphy in the hope it would help.

"It did. I can do beautiful calligraphy but my handwriting is still bad!"

The calligraphy fits in alongside his love of heraldic art, sparked when he visited the College of Arms in London as a youngster.

He studied at Salisbury College of Art before winning a coveted place on the Calligraphy, Heraldry and Manuscript Illumination course at Reigate School of Art - the only course of its kind in the world.

Mr Jamieson, who has lived in Sherborne and now spends a lot of time in the USA, said: "I did art in the sixth form at Gillingham and I did manuscript illumination and made a little medieval book, which I kept."

While still at school he created the illuminated documents for the town's twinning with Le Neubourg.

Since then he has been busy with a range of documents including the Letters Patent presented to Prince William when he was made the Duke of Cambridge last year.

Typically a coat of arms can take three or four days and an illuminated document up to six days.

He added: "But I have got quicker over the years. I do a lot freehand now where I used to have to trace it all out.

"I wanted to do this since I was about seven and became interested in heraldry and knights.

"With the Internet bringing more commissions I find I am really busy."

Dee Adcock

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  • aasklund  |  November 13 2012, 8:19AM

    Mr Jamieson truly is one of the worlds greatest heraldic artists. I am exceedingly happy with the version of my Coat of Arms that I commissioned him to do for me. Henric Åsklund, Sweden

  • cachambers007  |  October 20 2012, 3:53AM

    I was fortunate enough to have Andrew Jamieson paint my coat of arms last year. It has hung in my office ever since and usually gets noticed and favorably commented on by visitors. It has even sparked an interest in heraldry for several friends.

  • Berntsen  |  September 13 2012, 6:33AM

    I am lucky to have had Mr Jamieson paint my Coat of Arms, and it really is a wonderful painting. Hopefully I will soon get another painting by him!

  • flavius8  |  September 06 2012, 4:32PM

    I have received the completed library painting of my ancestral coats of arms and my new coat of arms. Mr. Jamieson painted 10 arms and 2 flags. His work is the best. I have recently commissioned Andrew to paint an additional library painting of my other ancestral arms. I am extremely pleased with his work and I recommend him to everyone. A great artist! Flavio Andreatta President Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada Gruppo Savoia del Canada

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  • AndresL  |  September 06 2012, 3:55PM

    "I have recently commissioned Mr. Jamieson to render my letters patent. Andrew Stewart Jamieson is a Master of heraldic arts and I am looking forward to receive the completed document."

  • ProfessorL  |  August 26 2012, 6:06PM

    I recently commissioned Mr. Jamieson to create a commemorative scroll for my election to the Royal Society of Arts. As a patron and close follower of his work, I expected, of course, that I would like it very much. Even so, he has managed to surpass my already high expectations with an amazing design! On a visual-artistic level, I appreciate the way he tied together the elements with exquisite perfection. On a personal level, his use of my own heraldic badge and shield in the design makes this all the more meaningful to me. I am deeply touched by the spirit he has poured into this piece. I could not have asked for anything more magnificent, nor for more wonderful people to work with in creating it.

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  • jdavidjuliano  |  July 20 2012, 2:48AM

    I became fascinated with heraldry at age 11 when I read the Tales of King Arthur for the first time. From then on I dreamed of becoming a knight with his very own coat of arms. Well, I'm 48 now with four kids of my own. Interests and hobbies have come and gone through the years but my love of chivalry and coats of arms has remained. I recently registered arms with the American College of Heraldry and was thrilled when I was able to engage the services of world-renown heraldic artist, Andrew Stewart Jamieson. Andrew has the uncanny ability to take a new grant or registration of arms and give it a thousand years of history and tradition. The attention to detail and the vibrancy of his colors are second-to-none. He's more than a skilled imitator of medieval artists from a bygone era. He brings history to life with his own inimitable style and makes it fresh, exciting and relevant for a contemporary audience. The arms he has created for me will take pride of place in our home and be passed down through the generations as a treasured heirloom.

  • kelisli  |  July 08 2012, 5:58PM

    I was fortunately enough to have commissioned a few heraldic pieces by Andrew Stewart Jamieson. Every time, I have been more than pleased by the artistic quality and the passion Andrew puts in his work. His work is of an amazing quality! By far, he is one o fate best heraldic artists ever.

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  • peace612  |  July 01 2012, 7:02PM

    Bravo Andrew Stewart Jamieson!!! We, your friends and family, are so very VERY proud of you!!! We know how hard you worked to become a Scribe and Illuminator to Queen Elizabeth. The Dalai Lama gave the 1 million pound prize away to charity but I'm sure he will treasure his Jamieson always.

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  • flavius8  |  June 29 2012, 11:35AM

    I have recently commissioned Mr. Jamieson to render my coat of arms. He is a superb heraldic artist and very easy to deal with. He aims to please. I cannot wait to see the completed arms! Flavio Andreatta President, Italian Genealogy and Heraldry Society of Canada

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