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.
I ran across a recent discussion about the coat of arms of Jan van Abbenbroek in The Netherlands, which appear in an old armorial, the Wape...
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Thursday, November 29, 2018
Another Version of the City Arms
While wandering about the center of the city of Arras, France, I walked by a public building which had a couple of coats of arms on its facade.
In this instance, I'm not speaking of the arms at the top of the facade; I will discuss those in my next post, and they aren't the arms of the City in any case.
No, I'm talking about the three shields in a row at the top of the arched window in the center of the building.
Now, that said, the two outer shields are, alas, merely decorative; they do not contain heraldry of any sort. As you can see for yourself here:
See? Very decorative, and beautifully carved, but not heraldic.
The central shield, however, while also decorative and beautifully carved, display the arms of Arras.
Or, more correctly, it displays a variant version of the arms of the city. If you click on the image above, it will take you to a larger image, where you can see there more clearly that the label of three tags, each of which is charged with three towers, is carved her as a label of four tags, each charged with three towers.
Despite this "error," though, it is a remarkably detailed carving, even down to the hatching,* with vertical lines on the main shield for red and horizontal lines on the smaller inset shield (inescutcheon) for blue.
It was, as it always is, a real pleasure to see a city using its coat of arms in such a public way.
* Hatching: a system developed in the 17th Century of drawing parallel lines in various directions used to indicate colors in a monochromatic environment, such as a book printed in black and white, or a stone carving, as here.