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.
Apparently, this tee shirt crew is going through all of Tim Burton's movies and creating arms-like logos for them.
The most recent one is for his 1999 Sleepy Hollow.
It's still not heraldry, but it's becoming an interesting collection of wearable quasi-heraldic art, especially for Tim Burton movie fans. I'm looking forward to seeing if they come up with any others.
I ran across a post last week (February 10, 2016) over on The Brothers Brick, a blog about all the wild and wonderful stuff people build using LEGOs. This particular post had an heraldic theme; one of their contributors, "kofi," created a display of the arms of all nine Bundesländer, or States, of Austria.
And to give you an idea of how close he came to each of them, here are depictions of the states' arms from the website Heraldry of the World (http://www.ngw.nl/):
It's been said that: "You should always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then you should always be Batman."
Anyway, since I can't be the Batman ....
After the discussion in my last post about the Lincoln Futura with its logo arms, and the Batmobile, my wife pointed me to a year-old post about a coat of arms in the original 1989 movie Batman.
Now, looking at the still from the movie, I don't think this is really supposed to be a coat of arms. (And contrary to the blog author's contention that these shields have a silver bordure and a silver sun in the middle, I'm pretty sure that those features are simply reinforcement around the edges of the shields and the bosses which allow it to be held by the warrior it is protecting. And the "several circles" are the fittings holding the straps which go around the arm and over the neck, allowing the shield to be carried and used in several different ways.)
These two shields are, however, strongly reminiscent of some of the pre- or proto-heraldic shields portrayed on the Bayeux Tapestry (for example, the shields on the sterns of the left-hand and center ships, and carried by the warrior on the right):
So what do you think? Coat of arms, or Norman (pre-heraldic) shields?
The CIA seal and arms that I spoke of in my post a week ago reminded me of a photograph I'd run across recently of the 1955 Lincoln Futura automobile.
While the car is the central object of the photograph, my eye, of course, was immediately drawn to the somewhat futuristic coat of arms on the wall behind it, presumably to be the logo for it and help to "brand" it.
Not the best-designed coat of arms, mind you, with the gold thingies in each of the white quarters, thus helping to demonstrate why you shouldn't place "metal upon metal" in heraldry.
From the few images I could find of the "arms" on-line, I think it would be blazoned as Quarterly argent and azure on a cross gules [fimbriated or] between in the argent quarters three bezants in pale, a cross pointed or.
For those of you who find the car's design to be somewhat familiar, it was a modified 1954 Futura which became well-known on 1960s television as the Batmobile!
Just the bat logo on the doors and wheel covers I'm afraid; no coat of arms here.
If you are going to be in the vicinity of New Westminster, British Columbia (a suburb of Vancouver) this weekend, you might sign up for and attend one of two heraldry workshops being hosted by local heraldic artist and graphic designer Allan Ailo.
(Hmm. Gray hair? Check. Glasses? Check. Gray beard? Semi-check. Handsome, dapper fellow? Check. Gosh, he reminds me a lot of me!)
I'd run across the announcement for these workshops in an article which asked a few heraldry-related trivia questions: Who trusted in God first, New Westminster or the United States of America? (Answer: New Westminster, in 1860.) How many animals on New Westminster's coat of arms? (The article says four. Well, it's really five (of three types): two lions, a bear, and two salmon.) (The image below is from the website of the Canadian Heraldic Authority.)
Anyway, it looks to be both informative and fun. If I were in the area, I'd make a (free) reservation for it in a heartbeat. But I'm not, so that leaves an extra slot open for you!
I was only behind him for a few seconds before the stop light turned green, so I didn't have enough time to pull out my cellphone and take a photograph, but the roundel with the coat of arms on it on his left rear bumper was definitely this design:
The car wasn't one of those favored by government agencies here in the U.S., so I'm assuming that the driver doesn't really work for the C.I.A., but is more likely a relative of a "spook" (someone who works for "The Agency"), or maybe just a fan.
Besides, if the driver really did work in intelligence, they probably wouldn't advertise it so openly, right?
Anyway, it was a fun bit of heraldry to run across on my daily commute to work, and I just had to share.