Work in progress: the portrait of my foremother Agnes Pia Douglas (probably 1441 – ?)

Photoshop and period paintings team up to create collage-portraits of actual or hypothetical ancestors. Today I present the work in progress of visualizing my foremother Agnes Pia (called “little Pea”) of clan Douglas.

My relative the knight Sir Runë Olausson Påfågel (1433 – 1440) was murdered while being the guest of the Clan Douglas at a banquet in Scotland. Many Douglases were also killed at this dreadful event which would later be called “the Black Dinner“. However Sir Runë and a young lady Elizabeth of clan Douglas had secretly fallen in love. Unbeknownst to everyone, she had gotten pregnant and after having survived the terrible slaughter of large parts of Clan Douglas she gave birth to a daughter in 1441. Elizabeth “The Sturdy” of Clan Douglas was one of the main contenders for the chieftainship after the Black Dinner.

The girl, named Agnes Pia (the pious one) and with the nickname “Little Pea”, grew up in Scotland. When she was older she brought her father’s heart back to Lorenzburg in order to bury it in his ancestral land. Parts of these events are recorded on an embroidered tapestry that has been handed down since the renaissance:

While being in Lorenzburg Agnes Pia and sir Frans Påfågel, the son of the murdered Sir Runë’s younger brother, fell in love and married. The grandson of Agnes Pia and sir Frans, became the first Prince of Lorenzburg: Harald Princeps Lorenzburgensis.

As Prince of a new nation, Harald used his grandmother’s nickname “Little Pea” (Ärtan in Swedish) as the main symbol of the flag: A crimson “Oriflamme” sprinkled with small crowns and a golden pea under a Princely Hat. Every time I see the Oriflamme being flown I am touched by this sign of a grandson’s affection for his grandmother, and I feel intimately connected to my family’s great and peculiar history!

Here is the family tree of the medieval family called Påfågel (Peacock) that would later become house von Fräähsen of Lorenzburg:

House von Fräähsen zu Lorenzburg

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