Thursday, October 1, 2015

Another Academic Coat of Arms from Hong Kong

While I was searching on-line for a picture of the full coat of arms of Hong Kong University for the last post, I ran across this interesting shield:

It's the coat of arms/logo of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

I find that in some respects it reminds me of some of the arms granted by the Canadian Heraldic Authority to members of First Peoples tribes and people of Far Eastern ancestry living in Canada.

Anyway, I found it intriguing enough that I felt I just had to share it with you all.


Monday, September 28, 2015

A (Heraldically-Related) Tempest in Hong Kong

There is apparently a crisis of academic freedom at Hong Kong University.  In a recent (September 25, 2015) article about this crisis on the website of Hong Kong Free Press, writer Alvin Y.H. Cheung talks about what the University should stand for, and alludes to HKU's coat of arms to help make his point.

As he notes, "HKU's coat of arms - like all heraldry - is laden with symbolism."  He then discusses the shield, its colors and charges, and then its mottos (one on the shield in Chinese, the other on the ribbon below the shield in Latin), supporters, and crest, all as pointing to a fusion of East and West.

I find that his next to last paragraph is especially strong:

Perhaps the most important lesson to take from HKU's heraldry is that it represents a connection to university values and a wider tradition of learning. The very idea of a university - a self-governing body of teachers and students - shares its origins with heraldry, in Medieval Europe. The current debate over HKU's institutional autonomy - and the increasingly-overt signs of political interference with the process of appointments - represents a direct attack on all of the values embodied in the university coat of arms.

All in all, it's an interesting article, bringing to a 21st Century discussion of academic freedom an appreciation of a centuries old Western heraldic tradition and how the latter may apply to the former.

You can read the entire article on-line at

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Some (More) Nice Armorial Silver

This time its a pair of George III ambassadorial silver plates, hallmarked 1813 by silversmith Paul Storr for Charles William Stewart, 1st Baron Stewart.

The plates are engraved with the Royal arms ...

and the arms of Lord Stewart ...

and were created on the occasion of his appointment as ambassador at Vienna on August 27, 1814.  The blazon for this Quarterly: 1st and 4th, Or a bend compony argent and azure between two lions rampant gules (Stewart); 2nd and 3rd, Azure [though the hatching appears to show gules] a saltire argent (Scotland), overall in fess point a crescent for difference. 

You can learn more about both this fine pair of plates and their owner Lord Stewart (later Lord Vane; he changed his name by Royal License following his marriage to his second wife, Frances Vane-Tempest, in order to secure her inheritance), along with a formal portrait of the man known by his admirers as "Fighting Charlie" and by his detractors as the "Golden Peacock," on the myfamilysilver blog at

And, of course, if you would like to own these plates yourself (they're listed at a mere £5,500), you can find more information, and add them to your cart, at

Monday, September 21, 2015

What Is It With Davids and Heraldry?

Is there something about the genetic makeup of people named David that brings them to an interest in heraldry?  Is there something about being named David that causes one to develop a liking for coats of arms?

Those are probably questions without any real answers, except maybe "no."  I don't know of anything about people whose given name is David which would lead them into this somewhat arcane field as an interest.

What brought on this particular musing was a recent (September 16, 2015) article on about Peterborough, Ontario, Canada resident David Rumball.  I know David from his membership and participation in the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada, of which I am also a member.  However, I don't happen to live in Canada, so he gets to be a lot more active in the Society than I do.  Indeed, he just stepped down this year after a two-year tenure as the RHSC President.

I especially remember one of the annual RHSC meetings which I attended where Mr. Rumball, David Cvet (another past RHSC President) and I billed ourselves as "The Three Davids."  Ah, good times!

Anyway, it's a really nice article about a really great guy who just happens to share a given name and an interest in heraldry with little ol' me.  (That's a picture of him with the grant of his coat of arms from the Canadian Heraldic Authority above.)  If you'd like to know more about David Rumball, you can read the entire biographical article at

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Newly-Added Section of Links

In an effort to keep this blog as a hopefully relevant resource for heraldry enthusiasts, and seeing the tremendous response to a recent post about an old movie clip of the College of Arms, I have added a new section to the Links down the left-hand side of the blog page, entitled "Movie Clips About Heraldry."

At this point, they're all YouTube clips of varying length (the longest one is over half an hour, but most of them are between three and six minutes long) having to do with one or another aspect (or sometimes, several aspects) of heraldry.  Some feature acknowledged experts in the field (one is bits of a longer interview with Peter O'Donoghue when he was Bluemantle Pursuivant at the College of Arms; he has since become York Herald there), while others are done by enthusiastic amateurs. In any case, the ones I have added to this section are among the best that I have found to date.  (There were some that I thought not good enough to include.)  As I run across more, I will add them to this set of links. And, of course, if you know of a particularly good one that's available on-line, let me know and I will include it as well.

I hope that you find this set of links to movie clips about heraldry to be useful!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Nice Trip, If You Can Afford It

The headline reads:

Custom-made Christian Louboutin shoes, a coat of arms and a giant doll's house modelled after your own home: The outrageous gifts on a £163,000 'bespoke-your-life tour' of Europe and Hurlington Travel are offering a first of its kind "bespoke your life" eighteen night tour of eight major European cities, with some seriously top of the line offerings, for one lucky couple who can afford the trip.

The one stop in all of their offerings that caught my eye, of course, was "In London, the couple will stay at The Savoy and visit the Earl Marshal’s Court to apply for the design and creation of their own coat of arms."

Mind you, if you don't want to do the whole trip, the College of Arms will grant an individual coat of arms for only £5,550 (or, I suspect, £11,100 for a couple), which is a lot less than the £163,000 (US$250,000) for the whole trip.  But then, of course, you'd be missing out on such things as the luxury accommodations, the one-of-a-kind gown by Givenchy, and the doll house based on your own home.

If you think that you'd like to learn more about this "bespoke your life" trip before just rushing out willy-nilly to sign up for it, you can read the article about it on the Travel News page of at

But don't say I didn't warn you about the price!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Heraldic Shields Created by Boy Scouts

A nicely-illustrated article from last Sunday, September 6, on the website of East Grinstead Online discusses the carved and painted shields on the pew ends at St. Swithun's Church there.

According to the article, a 1946 Guide to St. Swithun's says: "Shields of old-time Sussex families, carved by East Grinstead Boy Scouts, are fixed to the pew ends."  The 1975 Guide adds that the shields were the work of the Boy Scouts in the 1930s under Dr. Spencer Lewis Walker.

Dr. Walker was a local GP who began his practice in East Grinstead in 1910 and became the Scoutmaster of the newly-formed Boy Scouts until 1947.  He died in 1967 at the age of 89.

The article goes on to discuss some of the rules of heraldry, and a little more about the history of the shields in St. Swithun's.

You can see the whole article, with additional photographs, on the website of East Grinstead Online at

What a great way to commemorate the local armigerous families there!