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...
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.