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
Thursday, May 25, 2017
A Little Heraldic Something to Sit In
In addition to the carved wooden Royal Arms in our last post, suitable for ornate display, Provand's Lordship has some more practical carved wooden coats of arms.
In particular, they have an oak chair, dated 1659, from Pircaple Castle in Aberdeenshire. The chair bears on it, as a sign notes, the "Lumsden coat of arms."
I have been unable to find this particular coat of arms in my sources. Burke's General Armory does have one coat that is close:
Lumsden (Cushnie, co. Aberdeen). Azure a buckle or between two wolf's heads and an escallop argent. As you can see, there is no buckle on this rendition.
The Lyon Ordinary by Balfour Paul gives these same arms (with the buckle) as belonging to Lumsden of Cushing, first matriculated 1672-7). They are also found in Nisbet's A System of Heraldry (1722) for Alexander Lumsden of Cushnie, and in Burke's Landed Gentry, for Lumsden of Pitcaple (not Pircaple, as the sign noted).
An Ordinary of Scottish Arms From Original Pre-1672 Manuscripts by Eilean and John Malden and William G. Scott notes: Lumsden of Cushnie, Argent a chevron sable between two wolf's heads gules and an escallop or.
Is the coat carved here an error for Lumsden of Cushnie/Cushing? Or Lumsden of Pitcaple? Is it a differenced version of those arms, removing the buckle (or the chevron)? Or is there some other explanation? From what I have been able to find, I cannot make a judgment one way or another.
Except, of course, to note that, really, this chair doesn't look all that comfortable to sit on.