A microscopic piece of heraldry necessarily stands condemned, because it merely pretends to hint that the owner thinks himself a person of distinction, instead of performing the true function of enabling the casual observer to identify the owner. Monograms and unostentatious heraldry are therefor the badge of the parvenu, and such heraldry is usually bogus. Genuine arms are almost always displayed boldly and beautifully at every possible opportunity, indoors and out. --
Thomas Innes of Learney, Scots Heraldry, pp. 161-162
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, January 4, 2018
An Untinctured Heraldic Ceiling Boss
Not every ceiling boss in St. Michael's Church in Linlithgow, Scotland, is as colorful as some of those already posted in this blog. Indeed, some of them look like they are showing their age.
This one, for example, though carefully carved with a lot of detail, appears to be a little worn (making one wonder, how much wear can there really be to something on the underside of a very high ceiling? It's not like people are walking on or touching it all the time) and completely without color.
A little research, though, leads me to believe that it is a representation of the arms of Melville, Gules three crescents argent within a bordure argent charged with eight roses gules.
Yes, I know that there are ten roses shown on the bordure here, but it isn't uncommon to find depictions of arms where the number of charges, especially on a peripheral charge like a bordure or surrounding a central charge, vary. One example of this that I have run across is the different depictions of the arms of member of the Hutchinson family of colonial Boston, Massachusetts, whose lion is shown within a varying number of crosses crosslet: eight, nine, ten, twelve, thirteen (all more or less "in orle") (see a few examples below), and even semy, depending upon the artist.
So I do not find it at all surprising that someone may have placed ten rather than eight roses on a bordure, as on the ceiling boss here. Just sayin'.