Heralds [in the past] … blazoned [the arms they granted] so fully and aptly, that no man could be at a loss to draw them with accuracy and exactness.
Modern heralds, however, … the descriptions which they give us of those very arms are so loose and defective, that such arms cannot with certainty and exactness be drawn from their blazon, as they stand worded in the grants.
Joseph Edmonson, A Complete Body of Heraldry, Vol. 1, 1780, p. 171
I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't design and 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. (You can find some of my books about heraldry and a list of my articles and presentations about heraldry at "Our Website" below.) 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 ask or let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
In a recent (April 9, 2013) news article, kentnews.co.uk noted the display in the Natural History Museum in London of the first substantiall...
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Monday, February 24, 2014
A New Website of Heraldic Clipart
Late last week I ran across a new website for heraldic clipart which I have added to the On-Line Heraldic Clipart listing (in the left-hand column on this blog), but I also thought that it was worth mentioning in a separate post, as well.
The Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry is an on-going project begun back in 1986 - before the widespread use of the internet - and first published as a book in 1988 by Bruce Miller and Kevin Munday. Then titled A Pictorial Dictionary of Heraldry as Used in the Society for Creative Anachronism, it was designed as a "mug-shot" book for "[c]onsulting heralds, scribes, and heraldic artists" in the S.C.A. A second, updated edition was published in 1992, and this third edition is now being placed on the internet.
Though designed primarily for use within the S.C.A., and therefore focused on charges which may be used in the heraldry of that organization, which would include charges used in heraldry before 1600 A.D. ("period charges") and charges unique to the heraldry of the S.C.A., it is especially the former category of heraldic charges (those used in heraldry before 1600) that I thought might be of more general interest and therefore worthy of inclusion in the listing of websites of on-line heraldic clipart.
All of the drawings in the Pictorial Dictionary are by Mr. Miller, but he notes in the preface to the printed editions that "[w]herever possible, we went to original sources" to find examples of the charges in period heraldic art to use as the basis for his renditions. And in this new, on-line edition, he has "tried to cite sources for every charge, either as a period charge or a period artifact." So, for example, his drawing of an apple (below) is taken from "the canting arms of Holtzapfel, 1605 [Siebmacher 196]." (I have included a scan from Siebmacher's Wappenbuch von 1605 so you can see for yourself how close he comes to the original here.)
And where usage in the S.C.A. is different from usage elsewhere or in earlier times, he specifically notes that, too. To go back to the apple example, "[t]he Society default is with slip to chief, which seems to be the opposite of medieval convention."
If you think that you might have a use for such heraldic clipart, or even just want to browse through what's been uploaded to date and learn what you can about some of these general heraldic charges (or even S.C.A.-specific charges not found outside the Society, like the "Bog Beast" or "Cross of Coldharbour"), please drop by http://mistholme.com/pictorial-dictionary-of-heraldry/