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, June 5, 2017
"I'm the Earl of Huntingdon (and You're Not)!"
Continuing to make our way through Provand's Lordship in Glasgow, and its extensive collection of old furniture and furnishings - some heraldic and some not - I ran across the following carved wooden panel:
Please feel free to click on the image to go to a larger version, so that you can take it all in more effectively than in this comparatively small version here.
Though it has clearly suffered some damage over the years, it remains a most impressive piece of heraldic decoration.
It is, of course, the arms of Hastings, Earls of Huntingdon (or Huntington). The seventh creation of this Earldom, the title was given to George Hastings by Henry VIII in 1529. The title continues, the current Earl, William Edward Robin Hood Hastings-Bass, being the 17th.
The pronomial arms, in the first quarter (the upper left of the shield as you look at it, are Argent a maunch sable. The crest (atop the helm) is A bull's head erased sable armed and gorged with a ducal coronet or.
The supporters on either side of the shield are a fairly unusual monster, Two man-tigers guardant or. A man-tiger (or sometimes, man-lion) is basically a lion with a bearded man's face.
I've not had the time to look up the identification for each of the quarters here (none of the peerages I have give more than the Hastings arms, and there's only so much time in the day; I can only let the yard grow wild for a short while before having to get back out there and weed whack back Nature in all its fecundity), but if you look closely you can quickly identify the Royal Arms of England (Quarterly France and England) with a label and the well-known arms of the Spencers.
For comparison, here we have the arms from a portrait of Henry Hastings (b. 1536), 3rd Earl of Huntingdon (1560-1595).
As you can see, the 3rd Earl's arms are painted with sixteen quarters, while our carving above only has twelve, and in a slightly different order. Still, it's nice to be able to see the colors without having to look everything up.
All in all, what a great piece of heraldic art, a wonderful display, and, of course, a method of saying to everyone who sees it, "I'm the Earl of Huntingdon (and you're not)!"