A microscopic piece of heraldry necessarily stands condemned, because it merely pretends to hint that the owner thinks himself a person of distinction, instead of performing the true function of enabling the casual observer to identify the owner. Monograms and unostentatious heraldry are therefor the badge of the parvenu, and such heraldry is usually bogus. Genuine arms are almost always displayed boldly and beautifully at every possible opportunity, indoors and out. --
Thomas Innes of Learney, Scots Heraldry, pp. 161-162
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, February 3, 2014
I Thought I Recognized That Shield!
Working at a law firm as I do, occasionally I'll see some correspondence or an envelope from another law firm which uses an heraldic-like device as a logo. Recently, a letter came over my desk with the following:
It's okay as a design, I suppose, though it's not really heraldry. And the motto on the scroll is, I suppose, a decent one for a law firm: "Truth overcomes all things." Though Fairbairn's Crests gives the Latin for this motto, borne by the de Courcy, Eaton, Goodchild, and Laffan families, as Vincit omnia veritas, slightly different from the version here. But vicit is "conquers" (also according to Fairbairn), so that part may be okay, too. (But what do I know? Putting on my best Dr. McCoy voice: "Dammit, Jim, I'm a herald, not a Latinist!")
Anyway, what really struck me about this logo was that the design of the shield and motto scroll looked familiar to me somehow. So I pondered on it a little, and thought that I remembered where I'd seen it before. I then dug through some of my photographs and depictions of heraldry from over the years and, sure enough, found what I had remembered.
This design is used frequently in the heraldic unit insignia of the United States Air Force. Witness the following sampling of examples:
I don't know if the founder of the Loya Law Firm was ever in the Air Force, or whether the resemblance of his logo is a deliberate modeling of the design of much USAF heraldry, but I think you can see here why it just seemed "familiar" to me, somehow. It's really a fairly distinctive shield and scroll shape combination.