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, August 22, 2016
Someone Is Really Missing an Opportunity Here!
We have very recently returned from Glasgow, Scotland, where we attended in this year's Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences. (Posts and pictures will follow, but it may take a little while. I took over 2,000 pictures there - admittedly, many of them duplicates because sometimes the first shot with a digital camera is a little fuzzy - and I have no idea how many Jo Ann took, but she normally exceeds my total.)
But I had hoped to find - and spent a lot of time looking for - souvenirs with the Glasgow city coat of arms. You know, the usual sort of things: keychains, lapel pins, tee shirts, baseball caps.
Results: Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
Closest to something armorial along those lines was this little item:
It's nice and all that, and I expect to wear it periodically for quite some time, but to modify a quote from the movie Star Wars, "This isn't the heraldry you're looking for." Sure, the flag on the left has the royal arms of Scotland, but placed on a flag/banner.
(Well, to be completely honest, I did see a football (for my American readers, "soccer") jersey with the royal arms of Scotland on a shield on the left chest and the word "Scotland" vertically in the lower right side, but the line in the store was very long, and it was becoming close to time to board our plane, so I chose not to buy it.)
On the other hand, changing planes in Philadelphia on our way home to Texas, I did, as I try to do every time I fly anywhere, check in the gift and souvenir shops at the airport to see if there was anything armorial in them. And sure enough ...
I found a cap (not too unlike the one I picked up in Washington, DC when we were there in November 2014; you can find my post about that at http://blog.appletonstudios.com/2015/01/another-heraldic-acquisition-from.html) with the arms of the United States on it, along with the totally incorrect "Commander In Chief" in the surround, and "The Oval Office" (also not really correct; "The White House," maybe, but not the Office) on the brim. It also had, as you can see, the American flag on the side.
None of this has anything to do with Philadelphia, I might add. Washington, DC, yes; Philadelphia, not so much.
And I also found this:
Another baseball cap with the arms of the U.S. Air Force on it, not once, but twice! (It's hard to tell in the picture here, but the base of the shield is nebuly, representing a cloud.)
(The shop also had caps with the logos/insignia of the other major service branches, but not their arms.)
And, again, there was not a real connection to the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
So I think the City of Glasgow is missing an opportunity, in that nowhere in Glasgow (or the other parts of Scotland we got to visit on this trip) could I find anything with their arms on them. And yet, in Philadelphia, I was able to find two souvenir items with heraldry, even though the arms had nothing really to do with the city.
So I've added three new caps to my heraldic cap collection, but none of them has the arms of the City of Glasgow, which I had hoped to find on this trip.
Come on, Glasgow! You're missing an opportunity to make some money off the tourist trade here.