An uncle of mine by marriage, who was a very distinguished historian, once asked me, when I was a young man, whether I was interested in Heraldry. I said that I was not. ‘I'm glad of that,” he said, “heraldry strikes me as being for a historian about on the same level of interest as stamp collecting.” – Maurice Keen, in the Preface to Origins of the English Gentleman
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.
I recently ran across an article I hadn't seen before about an old heraldic roll of arms that had been found in a London antique shop o...
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Monday, May 27, 2013
Some Heraldic Humor
I was reminded a few days ago of some heraldic jokes that one of my early heraldic mentors, Jay Rudin, created some years ago. (Have you ever noticed that many heralds seem to have a really wicked sense of humor? Many of the ones that I know, both professional and amateur, seem to have one. It's sometimes kept mostly hidden, but when it does appear, it's usually both intelligent and funny at the same time. But I digress.)
As I say, I was reminded of some heraldic jokes which he called "extraordinaries" that Jay had drawn up. Some were simply different interpretations of heraldic blazon, such as this one, which he blazoned as Ten lozenges in pile.
Others were an heraldic treatment applied to a different heraldic charge, for example, "a gore in its piety." It was all very amusing, until one day while doing some research, I found some actual examples of Jay's extraordinaries used in real coats of arms. The first one that I ran across (and I'll share a few of the others in the future) was this one, which Jay had blazoned a "fylfess," that is to say, a fess couped whose ends were treated like the arms of a fylfot (what is blazoned in German a halbrueckenkreuz).
Then, in Siebmacher's Wappenbuch von 1605, I saw the arms of Koelderer.
The first and fourth quarters, Gules, two "fylfesses" in pale Argent, right? And on the crest, too? You mean it's not a joke charge? Well, I'll be.
I have tried to find what the charge is actually blazoned, but it doesn't seem to appear in my favorite "go-to" book for German blazon, Das Grosse Buch der Wappenkunst. So I don't know what it's actually named in German. But still, who'd have thought that an heraldic joke would turn out to be a real heraldic charge?