Thursday, October 31, 2013

I've Been Flattered Again!

I was flattered to find in the most recent issue of The Coat of Arms (Third Series, Vol. VIII Part 2, No. 224, Autumn 2012, pp. 139-140), the bi-annual heraldic journal published by The Heraldry Society a listing in the back under "Websites and webpages" that this blog, along with a number of others (most of which can also be found under "Other Blogs of Heraldic Interest" in the left-hand column here), has been listed.

As an introductory note to that listing, the author notes that:

The 2009 survey of internet heraldry in this journal by Jack Carlson (CoA 3rd ser. 5 (2009), no. 218, pp. 81-92) included a section on heraldic blogs and blogs with heraldic content.  Since blogging can be even more ephemeral than other aspects of the internet, it may be of use to have, by way of an update, a short and no doubt incomplete list of blogs with substantial heraldic content known to be operating in 2012.

It's nice for my little blog here to be included in with the great heraldic blogs listed there.  (I'll go double-check that list against the blogs listed here, and if I've missed any, I'll add them!)

Monday, October 28, 2013

A New Website of Interest

This one is called "De Gouden Leeuw van Nassau," in English, "The Golden Lion of Nassau"  In brief, it's an on-line book in Dutch of the arms of the royal family from Engelbert I (1375-1442) through some of the most recent descendants (the very most recent born in 2007), so covering a period of nearly 700 years.

It's actually kind of a cool work, and of course there's lots (and lots!) of drawings of coats of arms.

If you have an interest at all in Dutch royal heraldry, or even just like looking a lots of drawings of any kind of heraldry, drop by this website and see what the author has to show you.

(If you want to find it again later - assuming you didn't save the link - I've added it to the "Websites of Heraldic Interest" list in the left-hand column here.)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Help Wanted

There's a job opening as a herald if you have the right qualifications and apply for it.  The headline at Royal Central ( pretty much said it all: "The Queen is looking for a new Lord Lyon."

David Sellars, the present Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland, is going to step down at the end of this December, after five years of holding the office.  So there's going to be a vacancy that you, perhaps, could fill.  It does, however, require knowledge of more than just heraldry, in that the Lord Lyon is the Judge of the Court of the Lord Lyon, which has jurisdiction over all heraldic matters in Scotland.  This is a real judicial court, and so a knowledge of the law would be extremely useful to have in this post.

The website at Scottish Courts gives a little more information about the necessary qualifications, as well as talking about some of the other functions of the office.

The site goes on to note that "Those interested in applying for the Office are invited to obtain an application form by contacting Jayne Milligan, Scottish Government, Civil Law and Legal System Division, 2W St Andrews House, Regent Road, Edinburgh, EH1 3DG, telephone 0131 244 3051, or by email at"

If you are interested in applying, though, you'd better hurry.  Completed applications must reach Ms. Milligan by October 31.

The full notice of this vacancy can be found on Scottish Courts at

On a completely different note about this announcement, why is it that every news story I've seen about it shows a photograph of some of the heralds from the College of Arms in London?


Yes, they're at some ceremony and bearing their batons and wearing their tabards, which is very colorful and all, but all of the tabards show the English quarterings of the Royal Arms (England, Scotland, Ireland, and England) rather than the Scottish quarterings of the tabards worn by the Scottish heralds (Scotland, England, Ireland, and Scotland).  Really, you'd think that if they were going to do a story about the Lord Lyon King of Arms of Scotland, they'd at least get a photo of one or more Scottish heralds to go with it, and not members of the English College of Arms, wouldn't you?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Proof Once Again

A co-worker of my wife recently took a trip to Japan, and came back with proof positive that something I have said many times is still true: "You can find heraldry everywhere!"  Even in countries without a strong heraldic tradition (with the exception of their own system of clan and family insignia, mon), like Japan.

Anyway, on one of his receipts from there, he found the following "coat of arms:"

It's from "The Akao Resort Dukedom," which is, as their website explains, "located in the heart of nature Nishikiga-Ura enclosed by the sea and the mountain, and consists of two hotels of 'Hotel New Akao' and 'Royal wing' and four facilities of 'Akao Herb & Rose Garden' and 'Akao Beach Resort' on a vast site of about 750,000m2. It is resort that genuine nature outspread before you."

If I had to blazon it, it would be something along the lines of: Argent two spears in saltire between in chief a sun in his splendor, in dexter a rose, in sinister an eagle rising, and in base a mermaid issuant from waves of the sea in base Azure.

Who'd have thought of looking for heraldry, or at least a coat of arms-like logo, in Japan?  It's true; you can find heraldry everywhere!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

And Even More Found Heraldry

The coat of arms or logo presented here was seen on the back of an SUV while making my daily commute to work on the freeways of urban Dallas, Texas.

The picture is not as clear as I would like, but that's what you get for trying to take a photograph in moving traffic with a cell phone.  Still, it was sufficiently clear that I could later look up the Club Deportivo Guadalajara on-line, and find these much clearer, and color, versions.

The coat of arms at the top is, of course, the arms of the City of Guadalajara, Mexico, granted to it by the Emperor Charles V in 1539.  A rendition of these arms can be found on the website Heraldry of the World at

Proof once again that "you can find heraldry everywhere," even if you look no further than the front windscreen of your car.

Monday, October 14, 2013

More Found Heraldry

Further to our day out together, my wife and I drove over to the west side of Fort Worth to visit the Texas Civil War Museum.  (That would be the American Civil War of 1861-1865.  They've got some really neat stuff there, including a uniform worn by General J.E.B. Stuart, General Robert E. Lee's cavalry commander, as well as the frock coat worn by General U.S. Grant when accepting Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House. But I digress.)

Next door to the TCWM, we saw the following:

Why is it that so many, especially Christian, schools want to use a coat of arms – either real or, more often, made up – for their logo?  Does it have something to do with the “shield of faith” (Eph. 6:16) where Paul is talking about putting on “the full armor of God” and specifically references “the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one”?  (Though how a shield would extinguish flaming arrows is something that I am uncertain about.)  Or is there some other rationale for it?

I don’t have an answer to that question, but I do know that many Christian schools and academies use a coat of arms or shield-shape for their logo.

In any case, it's an interesting heraldic logo (yes, it has its faults: the border and chief are color on color; the stars on the border and across the chief are too small for good identification; the word "Crown" - with a crown inside the O - ought to be unnecessary, for example), and proof once again of something I say so often:  "You can find heraldry everywhere!"  Even, or maybe even especially, when you're not really looking for it.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Finding Heraldry

I keep on saying it, and it keeps on being true:  You can find heraldry everywhere!

I this specific instance, my wife and I were taking a day to ourselves and just spending some time with each other away from the house and all the work that needs doing there.  As part of that day, we went over to a large antique mall that we visit occasionally, because (1) it's the kind of thing we like to do, and (2) there's so much cool stuff to see.  The downside of doing this, though, is that we sometimes spend money there and bring some of that cool stuff home, where we have to find a place for it.

And, wouldn't you know it, some of the cool stuff we saw, and bought, and brought home, had heraldry on it.

I have a modest collection of Wedgwood armorial plates, ashtrays, and pin trays.  Most of them are what Wedgwood calls Jasperware, which has a rough-feeling textured finish to it.  One of the themed collections I have that I'm particularly proud of is what I think of as the "London" collection.  I have four plates with the achievement of arms of London on them: one plate in "Wedgwood blue," one terra cotta (with the arms done in black), one black, and one olive green.  I also have a blue one with the arms of London and a scroll commemorating the term of "Sir Edward Howard, BT" as "Lord Mayor 1971-2".  And to round the set out, a Lloyds of London plate done in Lloyds of London green with the firm's arms on it.

 Now, to add to that collection, I found - and purchased - a pin or sweets tray with the achievement of arms of London on it.

A nice addition to the collection, don't you think?

Then Jo Ann found an armorial brooch that caught her eye, with the arms of Sinclair (well, sort of.  They lack the black engrailed cross overall that normally appears there.

And comparing the arms on the brooch to the Sinclair arms in the Sinclair Earls of Caithness in the Dublin Armorial and Lord Crawford's Armorial, the second and third quarters, which on the brooch are painted in gold, should be white.

Still and all, though, it was a nice couple of heraldic finds to be found on a pleasant fall Saturday, and I'm glad that we ran across them.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Heraldry in the News!

I know, I know!  You've all seen one or another stories on this topic already.  And it's been news, apparently, all over the world.  (Just check out the links that I'm going to give you below, though I am sure that a lot of them are all quoting from the same source or sources.  But I mean, really, the Las Vegas Sun?  In southern Nevada?)

What story is that, you ask?  Why the news about the unveiling of the new "conjugal coat of arms" for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, of course.  But since you've already seen one or more stories about it, why am I bringing it up here?  Because I have a complaint about it.

In brief, my complaint is this:  That is not a "new conjugal coat of arms"!

It is not even "a" coat of arms.  It is two coats of arms (neither one which can truly be considered to be brand "new") arranged in an heraldic display that can be called a marital achievement of arms, complete with helm, crest, coronet of rank, supporters, compartment, and some other external additaments (such as William's Garter).  The key word in that sentence being "external," that is, not a part of the "coats of arms."  A coat of arms is the shield and its colors and charges.  An achievement of arms has all that other stuff.  When you combine two separate and distinct coats of arms into a display of a marital achievement of arms, you get the kind of picture that all these news stories have been talking about, but you do not get a "conjugal coat of arms."  Have I made myself clear?

(And if I find out who started this whole "conjugal coat of arms" business -- and from one of the articles it may have been someone at Kensington Palace -- I'm likely to send them a "nasty-gram" and recommend - strongly - that the next time they speak about heraldry, they get it vetted by the College of Arms first!)

Now, about those links.  (Because, after all, even if misnamed, it is heraldry, and it's almost always a pleasure to see it discussed in the media, because it helps to remind people that heraldry is not relegated to the sphere of the antiquarian, but is a living art today.),0,7417235.story

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Oh, Dear.

We were at the movie theater the other day (catching the latest Riddick movie, if you must know) and on the way out I saw a somewhat ambiguous poster for a movie being released sometime next year.  What first caught my eye, of course, was the large shield shape that was the central image on the poster.

It's for a movie entitled Vampire Academy, which according to the storyline synopsis over at IMdB will have good vampires fighting bad vampires and a heroine who is half-vampire/half-human.  Not really my cup of tea, I must say.

But the "coat of arms" on the poster certainly got my attention.  Some of the symbols on the right (sinister) side are clearly for the "elements" of water, earth, air, and fire.  I'm not at all certain what the top one is supposed to represent.  (Though it does remind me somewhat of the flower of the Hong Kong Orchid Tree which appears on the flag of Hong Kong, only with six-part symmetry instead of five petals.  And I'm not at all certain of the ones on the left (dexter) side: crossed lightning flashes, but with what meaning?  Neither the sun-like object nor the spiked or thorned S is familiar to me, either.

So while I'll probably end up giving the movie itself a miss, I do find the attempt at some sort of pseudo-heraldry as "arms" for the Academy to be interesting.  Because, after all, it's always fun to run across heraldry - good, bad, or indifferent - in the movies.