Monday, February 27, 2012

Humorous Heraldry

A Facebook friend recently posted this heraldic political cartoon as an example of humorous heraldry.

It is, of course, a commentary on the cession of Hong Kong by the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China in 1997.

And here is the coat of arms of Hong Kong used from 1959 until the the annexation by the PRC in 1997.

It's always of interest to see how heraldry can be used in so very many ways!  Even, as here, to make a political point.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Some Dallas Corporate “Heraldry”

As I’ve often mentioned in this blog, “you can find heraldry everywhere!”  In this specific instance, it was in an emailed letter to my boss on which I was copied (as a part of my “day job.”  Something’s got to help pay the monthly mortgage, and so far at least, heraldry hasn’t been it).

The email was from someone at the Dallas Country Club, a golf course and social club in the city of Highland Park, Texas.  (Highland Park is what we here call an “island city,” because it is completely surrounded by the city of Dallas, making it look like an “island” on a map.)

Anyway, they use a coat of arms as their logo, and it was attached as a graphic in the email.  They also use it extensively on their website ( and presumably in all of their printed literature.  It’s nice to seem them using something that looks something like a coat of arms, though I wish it were a better design heraldically.

If I were to try to blazon it, it would be something like Argent on a bend vert between ten bezants (3, 2, 2, and 3) the letters D, C, and C palewise argent, a bordure vert.  Or we could blazon the field as Argent bezanty.  Either way, it’s "metal on metal" and thus not good contrast.

Still, as a corporate logo, it’s not a bad design, and it’s nice to see a company actually using theirs.  Many companies adopt an heraldic logo and you have to hunt around to even find it at all.  The DCC makes use of theirs on everything.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Another Rendition

Over on the social networking site Facebook (where you can find me at, Xavier d’Andeville has created another version of my coat of arms.

This one is a monochrome version, hatched to show what tinctures the various elements should be (white field, blue chevronels, red apples with green leaves and stems).

I appreciate the effort M. d’Andeville put into this rendition, and thought I’d share it with you here.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Heraldry in the News!

Or, Heraldic Tempest in a Teapot.

In a couple of news articles in recent weeks, it has been reported that Jonathan Drori, Chairman of the Speaker's Advisory Council on Public Engagement, told members of Parliament that the parliamentary logo is "hardly welcoming".  He said that research has shown that members of the public are put off by the "iconography" of Parliament and that MPs "have to understand how many members of the public feel" when visiting.

The crowned portcullis (gate) badge of Parliament is used on documents, stationery and other parliamentary material; green for the Commons, and red for the Lords. The badge is also carved into the stones and woodwork of Westminster Palace and emblazoned on chairs.

However, despite reports stating that he said the portcullis "should be axed," Mr. Drori has stated that "First, I don't think I said that the portcullis logo should be axed. I did indeed say that some people find it offputting but it's just one factor alongside all the other things like parliamentary language and jargon, the location of Committe meetings and a whole host of other factors that taken as a whole make Parliament and our democracy less accessible than it might otherwise be."

News items about this heraldic controversy, such as it is, can be found on-line at: (Mr. Drori's response can be found in the comments thread to this article),, and

Monday, February 13, 2012

Heraldry in the News!

There's a news item over at that the Lord Lyon King of Arms will soon be returning Leith's coat of arms to it.  (The story is a bit confusing in its terminology; it talks about the flag of Leith - which apparently has the town's coat of arms on it - and Leith's "historic crest" - once again abusing the term "crest" when they mean "coat of arms" - and make it sound like Lyon has had physical possession of the flag/crest when what is probably happening is that Leith, which had been absorbed into the City of Edinburgh, is being re-granted its historic arms.  But I digress.)

Councillor Munn, Deputy Lord Provost, said: "When Leith amalgamated with Edinburgh, the coat of arms fell out of use and was in the care of the Lord Lyon's office. Previously the Borough Council had it. Over the past decade or so there's been discussions about getting it back.  The letter I received ... from the Lord Lyon's office says they will be ready to hand the coat of arms back to the people of Leith in three months. It's quite exciting."

This is the historic coat of arms of Leith, with the Madonna and Child in a boat on waves of the sea.  (Thought the blue and white bars in base should properly be "wavy.")

Involved in the drive to reinstate the "flag" have been students at Leith Academy, which uses this variant of the Leith arms.

The full story can be found on-line at

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Comic Heraldry

If it is true, as is often said, that the descendants of Scots who do not live in Scotland are “more Scottish than the Scots,” how much more true is it if the “descendants” in question are cartoon characters?

I ran across a website the other day entitled The Clan McDuck by Sigvald Grøsfjeld Jr., which discusses the story of the fictional Clan McDuck found in some Donald Duck comic books (pardon me, I’m told they’re called “graphic novels” now).  One of the pages on that site was about “The heraldry,” the coats of arms designed by the writer, Don Rosa, one for 1991 in a story entitled “The Last of The Clan McDuck” ...

... and the other in 2003 in a story entitled “A Letter From Home or The Old Castle’s Other Secret.”

If you’d like to learn more about either of these two "McDuck" coats of arms, comments by Don Rosa about his view of the designs can be found at:

Post Script:  As I was in the process of typing up this blog entry, I found that Kimon Andreou's  had also posted about the McDuck coat of arms on his blog IDTG.  (Great minds think alike, I have to assume!)  You can read his post at:

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Spanish Grant of Arms

An acquaintance, Ted Eisenstein, has recently purchased a 16th Century Spanish grant of arms to Pedro de Villanueva, who marched with Hernán Cortes in the conquest of the Aztecs at Tenochtitlán (modern Mexico City) and later served with Nuño de Guzman in the conquest of Zacatecas and Jalisco.  Ted has placed photographs of the grant, including many photos of detail elements of it, as well as a description and translation of the text into English on the web, at  I'd like to thank him for sharing this wonderful acquisition with the rest of us.

If you have any interest in older grants of arms, I recommend you drop by Ted’s live journal and take a look at this one.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Heraldry in the News!

In a news article from Reuters on February 3, 2012, inmates at an unnamed correctional institution who were producing decals with the state’s landscape “coat of arms” for use on police cars had pulled a prank on the police.  The cow in the image, often shown as a solid reddish color (see images below) but  shown in the decal as spotted, had one its markings changed to the outline of a pig, a derogatory word sometimes used for police.

Here is a copy of the official design in black and white ...

... and here’s a color version of it.  (The snow-capped mountains seem to have no fixed color; in some images they are green;* in others, like this one here, they are purple.)
Now here’s the decal that was created by the inmates which were being placed on police cars and cruisers.  Once you know to look for it (on the cow's shoulder), the pig (heraldically, statant turned to sinister) is pretty obvious.

The story from Reuters can be found on-line at

Other sources reporting on this story can be found at:

Heraldry at work in the 21st Century.  You gotta love it!

* Indeed, the name Vermont itself comes from the French vert mont, “green mountain.”

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mail Order Heraldry, Part 4

Finishing up our trip through the pages of the latest catalog from Design Toscano, we find the following tapestries containing heraldry as a major design element:

Above, the Portieve du Char Wall Tapestry ( with the arms of France and Navarre.

Here we have Le Toucher Tapestry (Touch, one of a set of six late 15th Century Flemish tapestries known as The Lady and the Unicorn) (, with the arms of Jean Le Viste, a subject of King Charles VII.
The Terra Nova I Wall Tapestry ( has as its main element a version of the arms of Sweden (an earlier version than the current one, which has an inescutcheon, a small central shield, of the arms of Vasa impaled with those of Bernadotte).
The text for the Terra Nova II Wall Tapestry ( talks about “[s]killed weavers exquisitely punctuated each detail on this historical replica tapestry, from the iconic crown and flags to the historic coat of arms.”  The arms, of course, are those of the Stuart Kings of England, along with their “iconic crown” and flags of St. George and St. Andrew.

And finally, we find the “Napoleon Tapestry” (, with the arms (and bees) of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.  This tapestry is copied from “the only surviving tapestry of a series of six designed by Louis de La Hamayde de Saint-Agne for the Emperor’s official study.”

No doubt about it -- I've got to get me a bigger house.