Monday, November 24, 2014

A (Less Than Ideal) New Grant of Arms

Grays of Westminster, renowned for its exemplary level of customer service (and for the fact that it sells only Nikon cameras), has become the first camera shop in the world to be granted a coat of arms.  Ah, but what a departure from grants of simple, identifiable coats of arms it is.

In an article dated November 3, 2015, PR Newswire discusses the meaning of the symbolism in the grant from the College of Arms this way:

The symbolism within the image [of the crest] depicts a Lion (Gray Levett) amicably communing with the bird of Japan, the green pheasant. The mural crown around the lion's neck stands for responsibility to the public. Its right paw is resting on a camera lens. The cornucopia [in the arms] representing flourishing growth is replenished with flowers that represent various facets of Grays of Westminster and Japan. The tip of the horn has been modelled into an emblematic portcullis for Westminster. The rays of light emanating behind the flowers symbolise the derivation of the word photography, which means photo = light + graphy = writing. The rationale of the badge is an occidental phoenix with two heads for looking both east and west. It bears the motto: Lead in Order to Serve.

Frankly, I think that much of the symbolism is a bit more of a “reach” than I normally expect to see from grants by the College of Arms.  I can only assume that much of the design was pushed by the client, who apparently couldn’t be talked into something simpler and more classic.

Still, I suppose I should be happy that such folks are still going to the College for a grant of arms.  I just wish that the end result was something more appealing than this mash-up.

If you’d like to read more about this grant (and why wouldn’t you, after all?), you can find the article on the website of PR Newswire at, or 
different, but similar, articles on the websites of the magazine Amateur Photographer at and ephotozine at

1 comment:

  1. they neglected to explain the ermine, but I'm sure it represents the dust collected on the lens.