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, May 22, 2017
Carved Wood Royal Arms
Continuing our tour through Provand's Lordship, the oldest house in Glasgow, we came across the following carved spruce panel with the Royal coat of arms as used in Scotland.
The sign with it states: "This finely carved coat of arms represents King Charles II (1630-1685), and is probably from a parish church." The panel itself dates from 1660-1685 (the years of Charles II's reign), and was donated to the Provand's Lordship Society in 1923.
Frankly, I love the somewhat startled expression on the lion supporter's face with its very round eyes. It reminds me very much of of the tee shirt I bought at King's Chapel in Boston (where my tenth-great grandparents, John and Mary (Chilton) Winslow, are buried). The lion supporter to those arms (the Royal Arms as borne by the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain) also has very round eyes which, with the eyebrows, give it a similarly-startled expression.
It is always interesting to me to see how different artists have created sometimes wildly different depictions of a coat of arms. And this one of the Royal Arms from Provand's Lordship is a great example of just that. The detailing and three-dimensionality of this carved wooden piece make a wonderful study.
(Nota bene: Delicacy prevents me from discussing, or even bringing to your attention, the somewhat large and detailed pizzles* on both the unicorn and lion supporters.)
* "Pizzled. Used to describe the penis of an animal when of a different tincture from the body." An Heraldic Alphabet, J.P. Brooke-Little, Robson Books, 1996, p. 165.