It is a solemn matter to appoint a Herald to your household, for he will be with you, assuming your need for him continues, forever after. His presence alone can turn a simple sandwich into a solemn banquet. Never take a Herald on a picnic. (The Book of Weird)
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.
If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know that periodically I get on my soapbox about blank cartouches; that is, shield shapes (heater, round, oval, decorative, whatever) which have a perfectly good surface for placing a coat of arms, but which are, in fact, left completely blank.
It is a fairly common thing to see, actually. I've run across it just about everywhere I have been, and I expect to see more in future travels.
Nonetheless, I find it to be irksome. Here's a perfectly good place for the display of heraldry, and it's been left blank, or at best decorated with a pattern.
Here are some of the blank cartouches that I ran across in Antwerp.
A wonderfully decorated balcony:
Lions supporting blank shields at the end of a bridge over the River Scheldt:
And, of course, ovals and circles (one a glass window with a papellony design), all of which could have been a display of actual heraldry:
I swear, there are times when I just want to borrow a tall enough ladder, buy, a few cans of spray paint, and go out there (probably at night; people tend to report such goings-on as vandalism, even if I might believe that I'm improving the ambiance) and fill in these blank shields with coats of arms. For example, if I were able to get to the first oval above, I might put my own coat of arms on it, like this: