Monday, February 20, 2017

Some Big Heraldic Support

Well, okay, some big heraldic supporters.

Walking around the exterior of one of the buildings at the University of Glasgow, we passed an impressive stairway "guarded" by a pair of the supporters from the Royal Arms as used in Scotland: a unicorn and a lion.

I must say, I wouldn't mind having a pair of heraldic beasts to flank the entrance to my house!

Though I suppose it's like that old saying, "If you have to ask how much it would cost, you can't afford it."

Still, it's nice to dream.

(And you've got to love that face between the lion's paws, don't you?)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Some University Heraldry

The day after the International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences in Glasgow ended the last of the lecture series, there was a day-long tour of the City of Glasgow and environs. Not surprisingly, given the makeup of the participants, there was much heraldry to be seen.

They started us off at the University of Glasgow, whose arms could be found both carved into the portico of one of the buildings ....

and also applied to the side of one of the University's vans parked nearby.

It is easy to see that the arms are based on those of the City, with the tree, bird, bell, fish, and ring, with the addition of the University's mace as an emblem of its corporate dignity and an open book as an emblem of its mission of learning.

According to the University's website about it's coat of arms (, its motto, Via veritas vita, means "The way, the truth, the life."

Monday, February 13, 2017

Burgh Court Heraldry

One of the very interesting activities in which we were able to play the part of spectators was a session of the Court of the Lord Lyon King of Arms.

Since it was being held "on the road," as it were, and not in Edinburgh, the City of Glasgow provided the use of the Burgh Court (right behind the City offices). As a courtroom, there was, of course, a carved coat of arms to lend dignity and no little majesty to the court.

Being a city court, the arms are, unsurprisingly, the arms of the City of Glasgow, complete with St. Mungo as the crest, fish supporters, and motto: Let Glasgow Flourish. (Once again, and unlike the usual practice in Scotland, the motto is placed below the shield.)

It's a beautifully carved coat of arms, as I think you will agree!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Grand Entrance

Leaving the entryway of the Trades Hall in Glasgow and walking just a couple of blocks over to one side of St. George's Square, we find the building that houses the offices of the City of Glasgow and is it's face to the world.

So of course you just know that they're going to have something pretty spectacular to greet people when they enter the building.

This is, of course, a mosaic of the achievement of arms of the City, complete with supporters, crest, and motto. (If you click on the image, you should see the full-size photo, which will let you see a lot more of the detail in it.)

The only real quibbles I have about it is that the more usual practice in Scotland is for the motto to be placed above the crest rather than beneath the shield, and I personally have never really cared for those "gas bracket"-style compartments (which the fish supporters are not really standing on in any case). Still, though, it's an amazing display of heraldry.

Every time I look at this picture, I wonder what it might cost to have someone do something like this for the entryway to my house. I suspect, however, that it's one of those things that: "If you have to ask, you can't afford it." Curses, foiled again!

Still, I can always look at this one and enjoy the fact that someone has an entry this grand!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Carved Arms in the Trades Hall

As I noted in my post of Januarhy 23, inside the front entrance of the Trades Hall in Glasgow is a long row of carved wooden benches.

These oak benches run the full length of the passageway, stretching over ten meters (32 feet). They are believed to have been made by Belgian woodcarvers who were refugees in Glasgow during the First World War. Alexander Walker, a former Deacon of the Cordiners, gifted the benches to the Trades House in 1937.

In addition to the carved armrests, you can see that the backs are also carved, having coats of arms in relief. From the left (the far end) to the right (nearest the entrance), these arms are as follows. (You should be able to click on each image to see the full size one. I recommend doing that to get the full effect of all the detail of these armorial carvings.)

L-R: The Coopers, Fleshers, Masons, Gardeners, Barbers, and (Bonnetmakers and) Dyers.

The Weavers, Bakers, Skinners, and Wrights.

The Hammermen, Tailors, Cordiners, and Maltmen.

The Merchants House, the Trades House, the Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow, the Physicians, the University of Glasgow, and the Clyde Trust.

Bruges (Belgium), Mons (Belgium), Kirkaldy, and Liege (Belgium).

Glasgow, Edinburgh, Scotland (the Royal Arms), Belgium, Brussels, and Antwerp.

And finally, Namur, Hasselt, Ghent, and Arlon.

You can find additional pictures of these benches and the arms carved into them, taken by a professional photographer with better lighting that shows the carvings more clearly than my poor efforts here, on-line at

All in all, it's an amazing collection of hand-carved heraldry, a tribute to the craftsmen of Glasgow by other craftsmen fleeing the horrors of war.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

More Trades Heraldry in the Trades Hall

The dome, the chair, and the stained glass window were not the only displays of trades/guild heraldry in the Trades Hall in Glasgow. The following are some of the depictions of the arms of the guilds that can be found in the various rooms there.

Each one has the trade named in the scroll above the shield, and the motto of that trade in the scroll beneath the shield.

(I apologize that a couple of the pictures are slightly out of focus. I was shooting indoors without a flash, and the auto-focus didn't always quite catch the image as sharply as it is supposed to. Still, I'm happy that so many did turn out so well.)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Royal Heraldry in the Trades Hall, Glasgow

There is a lot of heraldry throughout the Trades Hall in Glasgow, Scotland.

No, I mean, really, there is a lot of heraldry there. Including, as you will see here, a number of depictions in different media of the Royal Arms, both Scotland and the United Kingdom as used in Scotland.

Of all of them, though, I think the one that captured my imagination the most was this little carved stone one, which substituted a clock for the Royal Arms. Please note the carefully carved rose and thistle at the base of the clock.

All in all, I think the various displays of the Royal Arms in the Trades Hall show a high quality of craftsmanship as well as a high level of patriotic pride. Well done!