The alphabet is one set of arbitrary symbols. The figures of heraldry are another set of arbitrary symbols. In the fourteenth century every gentleman knew one: in the twentieth century every gentleman knows the other. The first gentleman was just precisely as ignorant for not knowing that c-a-t spells "cat," as the second gentleman is for not knowing that a St. Andrew's Cross is called a cross saltire, or that vert on gules is bad heraldry. -- G.K. Chesterson
I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't register people's coats of arms (though I can certainly suggest designs for those who might be interested). What I do is study, research, teach, and write about heraldry. And I like to share what I have learned about heraldry, hence this blog. I hope that you'll find it informative, interesting at least occasionally, and worth your time to come back. Got a question? Comments? Feel free to let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
This is what happens when an heraldic artist has never seen anything more than a very rough description of an heraldic beast when painting ...
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Monday, March 21, 2011
Heraldry in Florence, Part Twenty-Three
Lest you think that all of the heraldry that we saw in Florence are just painted or just carved in stone (or both carved in stone and painted), here are a couple of coats of arms we ran across which are done in metal.
This first one is interesting because it is a relatively complex quartered coat. Based on what I could find in the Florentine armorials and ordinaries I have, the first and fourth quarters (the ones in the upper left and lower right) are the arms of Lucas Bartoli Ricciardi: Gules a griffin segreant or overall on a bend azure three [sometimes, four] fleurs-de-lys or. The arms in the second and third quarters look like they might be a variation of the arms of Pelli: Azure a fess between three wheels or, but the “fess” has a couple of waves on its upper edge, and I have not been able to find any variants with the cross and ladder/cross of Calvary surmounting the unusual fess. (I also looked under things like "wall" and "church" and came up with nothing.) So, at least at this point in time, I haven’t been able to positively identify those arms. Back to the books, I guess!
The second coat of arms will also require some more time going through armorials, if only to identify the main charge on the field. (It reminds me of some kind of a pith helmet, but I’ve not been able to find it in the Florentine ordinaries that I have, either under “hat,” “helm” or “helmet.” I’m confident that it is not a tree. Still, isn’t is a great rendering? I’d love to have my coat of arms done this way for a doorway or window at home. What a beautiful piece of work!