The alphabet is one set of arbitrary symbols. The figures of heraldry are another set of arbitrary symbols. In the fourteenth century every gentleman knew one: in the twentieth century every gentleman knows the other. The first gentleman was just precisely as ignorant for not knowing that c-a-t spells "cat," as the second gentleman is for not knowing that a St. Andrew's Cross is called a cross saltire, or that vert on gules is bad heraldry. -- G.K. Chesterson
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, January 25, 2016
Heraldry of the Decadence, Part 3
Continuing with our presentation of some of the various blazoning schemes which have been invented over the years, we continue with the following selection:
I would note here that the Canadian Heraldic Authority has added Copper as a third metal in heraldry, along with Or and Argent. It is, however, a bright copper color, and not the tarnished copper green suggested in this blazon scheme.
Some of those at least make some sense to me. But I had no idea that "light," "life," and "thunderbolt" were considered to be elements on their own. Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, sure, but not these other three additions. (Which they had to have in order to be able to give an element for each of the seven standard heraldic tinctures.)
Purpure Old Age
Presumably from, or at least related to, Shakespeare's "Seven Ages of Man" which he puts in the mouth of Jacques in his play As You Like It:
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
And then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."
Not necessarily something I'd suggest basing blazon upon, but at least it has the advantage of having seven elements to match the seven standard heraldic tinctures.
This scheme can give you some very strange-sounding blazons. For example, my wife's assumed arms would be: Phlegmatic semy of sexfoils serious. And France Modern would be: Sanguine three fleurs-de-lys blithe. Nope, don't care much for this blazon scheme.
Azure Blue Bell
Vert The field
At least this scheme has the advantage of (mostly) relating the colors of the flowers to the heraldic tinctures. Scabiosa comes in a dark burgundy color that I suppose can pass for black, but it also comes in a light blue color, which could be confusing for those more familiar with the flowers than with heraldic tinctures.
And, too, if you have a coat of arms with flowers on it, or a badge even, such as the Tudor rose, it could end up sounding really weird: A rose rose charged with another lily (or, On a rose rose a rose lily). And heaven help you if you've got a lily of any color but white.
Or 1, 3
Argent 2, 12
Azure 4, 9
Sable 5, 8
Vert 6, 11
I'm afraid I don't understand this scheme at all. I mean, I know that late medieval writers ranked the heraldic tinctures in a hierarchy, but none of the hierarchies I can recall put them in this kind of order. So I'm at a bit of a loss to understand this one.