Thursday, May 21, 2015

Celebrate International Heraldry Day!

Here's one way that you can help to celebrate International Heraldry Day on June 10.  Do it with an IHD tee shirt or coffee cup or any of the other cool stuff you can get with graphics especially made for International Heraldry Day 2015 on it.

You can find the items shown here, and lots more, at

Monday, May 18, 2015

Why? Why??!!

I respect heraldry; really, I do.  Unfortunately, that respect is not always shown by others.

In a somewhat cringe-worthy example of this (found in the Facebook group "Heraldry Hall of Shame"; not a group for the weak of heart.  You have been warned!), I ran across the following the other day:

It's the logo (I really cannot call this a coat of arms) of DN Van Lines of New England and Florida, based in Marlborough, Massachusetts, west of Boston (and just a short drive up I-495 from where my parents grew up in Milford, Hopkinton, and Upton).

So what all do I find that is just so "wrong" about this logo?  Besides the quartering, I mean.  Here, let me count the ways.

They are not a "Royal" anything, so the imperial crown sitting atop the shield is entirely out of place.

They clearly don't understand what mantling is, or what it was used for, since there a just a few bits of mantling issuing from the crown and from the sides of the shield.

The "supporters" (each a lion sejant erect) are clearly crests, given that each one is sitting atop a torse or wreath.

The "motto scroll" does not contain a motto, only the "Van Lines" portion of the company name.

Should I try to go on?  ("No, no, can't go on.  Stiff upper lip's gone limp."  [from an old Danny Kaye movie])

I will just say that it's too bad that they couldn't find someone (anyone!) in the area who knew something of heraldry and could help them design a decent heraldic logo for their company.  Really.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Bit of Historical Armorial Silver

I receive the occasional email from the kind folks over at when they have a piece that they think I might be interested in (unaware, apparently, that as a general rule their prices are a bit too rich for my budget, however, much I might like to stretch my monies to be able to buy one or another of these great finds).

In this case, they sent me a note about a George IV silver soup plate from the service of Robert Peel.  You know, the Robert Peel, second baronet, who was English Prime Minister 1834-1835 and again from 1841-1846.

The service precedes his time a Prime Minister, being dated to 1829, but it does have a very nice rendition of his coat of arms on it.

Burke's General Armory blazons the arms of Peel, "descended from William Peel, Esq., of Oswaldwistle, co. Lancaster, grandfather of the first Sir Robert Peel, Bart." as Argent three sheaves of as many arrows proper banded gules on a chief azure a bee volant or. The crest is given in Burke as A demi-lion rampant argent gorged with a collar azure charged with three bezants, holding between the paws a shuttle or, and the motto is Industria.

You can learn more about this fine silver soup plate, including such things as its weight and dimensions, along with a rendition of the Peel crest, as well as its asking sale price (again, a little much for my budget, but it might fit well into yours!) over on the website of at

Monday, May 11, 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Well, It's Almost Like Heraldry

I like to see when people use heraldry in some way, no matter what the context is.  Really, I do.

It's just that, far too often, what they use is sometimes, at best, only something that's almost like heraldry, but really isn't quite heraldry.

In this case, a newly-carved figurehead has been added to the replica caravel Matthew of Bristol, built in 1997 to mark the 500th anniversary of John Cabot's voyage of discovery to Newfoundlan.  The addition of the new figurehead is to commemorate the anniversary of that first voyage.

However, despite being designed by, as the article notes, "an expert on heraldry," and said to be inspired by the arms of King Henry VII, the result is not quite heraldry.

As you can see (well, sort of, but this is the best photograph I've found of it) here, the shield is being supported by the white greyhound of Richmond, and the shield itself consists of a field divided per pale of white and green (the colors found in the Welsh flag) with a red dragon and a Tudor rose.  So I guess to be more accurate, the design is not so much inspired by the arms of Henry VII (Quarterly France and England) as it is by some of the external ornaments of his coat of arms: the supporters and a badge.  Here is the achievement of arms of Henry VII (from Wikimedia), with its supporters and (strewn on the compartment on which the supporters stand) the badge of a Tudor rose:

All in all, I think the figurehead says less "Henry VII" that it does "Wales," but still, it's an attempt at heraldry, and as I said, I like to see when people use heraldry in some way even if, in my opinion, it comes up a little short of the goal.

You can find the May 1, 2015 story of this new figurehead on the website of The Bristol Post at and from BBC News at

Monday, May 4, 2015

International Heraldry Day 2015 Is Coming!

It's almost June 10, and you know what that means, right?  You don't?  Well, a lot of folks out there also don't know, so don't feel like you're alone in that.

International Heraldry Day was begun as a grass roots movement back in 2013 by Tomasz Steifer, a member of the International Association of Amateur Heralds.  The basic idea is to celebrate one day a year where heraldry in all its forms is acknowledged by everyone with an interest in it.  And it's been growing (a lot!) each year since.

This year, International Heraldry Day will be commemorated on Wednesday, June 10.

Why June 10?  Well, you just know there's got to be a good reason for selecting that date, right?

We propose that this international day of heraldry at 10 June.  On that day, in the year 1128, in Rouen was knighted, by his future father in law Henry I Beauclerc, Godfrey Plantagenet.  Suspended during the ceremony on the neck of a young knight was a shield of blue decorated with six golden lions, which is recognized by most heralds as, for the first time in history, a fully-formed coat of arms.

Hence the choice of June 10.

Between now and that date, I'll be posting occasionally about International Heraldry Day, and including here some of the other artwork which has been created (the one above was created by Tomasz Steifer of Poland) to help promote the day, along with an occasional link (like the one to Zazzle where you can buy products - coffee mugs, tshirts, and all kinds of other stuff you probably don't really need but would like to own anyway - with some of these IHD logos on them.

In the meantime, feel free to drop by the International Heraldry Day page on Facebook and see what's going on to help celebrate this annual event, at

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Some More Fictional Heraldry

Apropos of my post of April 23, relating to the heraldry of the HBO series Game of Thrones, I ran across a website that asks, and then will answer for you, the question, "What Is Your 'Game of Thrones' Warrior Name?"  The plug for it stated: "Discover your inner warrior and badass reputation in Westeros with our 'Game of Thrones' name generator."

So, though I've so far managed to avoid the series, and the books it is based on, I went out to see what my Warrior Name is, and received the following:

So, now you know better than to mess with me!  ;-^)  (Note tongue firmly planted in cheek there.)

And just for grins, I went ahead and put in my persona name in the Society for Creative Anachronism, and learned that that warrior name is Da'ud "The Serpent" ibn Auda, Betrayer of Secrets.  Da'ud also rides for House Tyrell, so at least I'm consistent.

Anyway, if you'd like to learn what your Game of Thrones warrior name, and its accompanying house "heraldry," (because this is, after all, a blog about heraldry!) you can find out on-line at's+Your+'Game+of+Thrones'+Warrior+Name?i=DQcNb-Veqln&t=o1-xi6gfe1B