Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Christmas Is Coming ..."

"... the herald's buying books."  (If I may be forgiven changing the words to the old song.)

I try to remind folks every once in a while that in addition to writing this blog, I also research, write, reproduce, and publish books on heraldry.  With less than two months to go before Christmas, I thought that now would be a good time to get people thinking about what they'd like to receive (or to give) as Christmas presents.  And if "a new heraldry book" might be on that list, may I suggest one of the following:

The Gore Roll: An Early American Roll of Arms. The Gore roll was, in fact, a colonial Boston roll of arms, the earliest known American roll of arms, which has been reviewed twice before: once in the mid-1800's by William Whitmore by way of a copy of the roll, and again in the 1930's by Harold Bowditch, who rediscovered the roll.  But Whitmore's review, though still widely available, has a lot of errors, and Bowditch's review, though more accurate, is hard to locate (it only appeared in the quarterly journal of the Rhode Island Historical Society).  And neither previous review gave more than a drawing of one of the 99 coats of arms contained in the roll.  This volume, however, contains the full text of Whitmore's review, the full text of Bowditch's review, the results of additional research by the author, an armorial of the roll, an ordinary of the roll, other contemporary images of some of the arms contained in the roll, as well as accurate line-drawing reproductions of all of the arms contained in it.  It is, if I may say so, the most complete and accurate review of the Gore roll ever made.

The Boke of St. Albans.  Written (at least in part) by Dame Juliana Berners, the Boke of St. Albans was originally published in 1486. Consisting of three parts, it contains the first treatise on heraldry published in English. (Prior works on the subject were generally published in Latin.) It was thought so important a work that the heraldry portions were reprinted in James Dallaway's Inquiries into the Origin and Progress of the Science of Heraldry in England, published in 1793. It was the text of this reprint which I have used for this modern English rendition, in the hopes of making this seminal work more widely available to the modern reader with an interest in heraldry. We have also created new illustrations of the arms described in the Boke, which were not included in the reprint in Dallaway. The arrangement used in this modern rendition is a two-column one, with the text from Dallaway appearing in the left-hand column, and the modern English version in the right-hand one, so that the reader may compare the texts.

Camels In Heraldry.  Whether found as charge on the shield, as a crest, as a badge, or as a supporter, camels have been used in heraldry a lot more than I had believed when I first set out to research the subject.  This specialized volume contains a brief natural history of camels, their use as a symbol, and their use in heraldry. It also contains an armorial of arms, badges, crests, and supporters which use camels, as well as color and black & white pictures of many of those arms, crests, and badges.

Virgil Solis' Wappenbüchlein, or Heraldry Booklet, was originally printed in Nuremberg in 1555. Virgil Solis, a contemporary of Albrecht Dürer, was an engraver of some skill, as this facsimile reproduction of his work clearly demonstrates. The booklet, reprinted in facsimile, is in the form of a roll of arms and includes, among others, the arms of the Papacy and many of the princes of the Church, most of the kingdoms of Europe, and a number of fictional attributed arms of kingdoms in Africa and Asia, as well as the "first three coats of arms in the world" and the arms of the Three Wise Men.

The Grund-Saeze der Wappenkunst, or Basic Principles of Heraldic Art, is a German manual of heraldry by noted heraldic author Otto Titan von Hefner, published here in a facsimile edition. It is a brief overview (in German) of the development of heraldry going well back into the Middle Ages, describing many of the charges used, along with fourteen plates of illustrations.

Additional information about these books, and others (including a link to our selection of gently used and remaindered heraldry books), with links to .pdfs of sample pages from each of them, can be found at:

Interested in one (or more)? Ordering is easy: You can order on-line and pay with a credit card or checking account through PayPal, or print out an order form, fill it in, and mail it with your check or money order.

And, yes, we ship internationally!

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled blog posts.

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