Monday, June 28, 2021

"It's Good to Be the King" (and Queen)

Inside one of the upper halls in Frederiksborg Castle is another example of the arms that we looked at last time, of King Christian IV of Denmark and his queen, Anne Catherine of Brandenburg.

Here, however, we get the heraldic display in all of its glorious colors!

To get the full effect of this amazing armorial panel, you may want to click on the image above to go to a larger version, with a lot more detail.

Here again, on the left we have the arms of Denmark surrounded by the arms of its many territories, and on the right, the Brandenburg arms with its many (mostly territorial) quarterings.

Yes, indeed, it is good to be the King (and Queen)!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Royal Heraldry at Frederiksborg Castle

Just above the lions we saw in the last post with their blank cartouches, we come to some Royal heraldry.

I mean, if you're going to make sure that people know who lives there, this is the way to do it, right?

At the top panel of these carvings over the archway of the door we have the cipher of King Christian IV.

Below that, we find two achievement of arms.

The first is that of Christian IV, the arms of Denmark surrounded by smaller shields of the territories claimed by Denmark at the time, clockwise from upper right: Norway, Kalmar Union/Sweden, King of the Goths (Jutland), King of the Wends (Funen, sometimes Bornholm), Gotland, Iceland, Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Ditmarsken, Oldenburg, Delmenhorst, and one I have not yet been able to identify. (It appears to show some kind of a bird rousant. On a painted panel of all of these arms inside the Castle, which we will see shortly, this shield is shown as Azure an eagle displayed argent. Even that still didn’t help to identify which territory it represents).

Once again, I recommend clicking on the image to see a larger, more detailed version of the photograph.

Next to the King's arms, we have the arms of his queen, Anne Catherine of Brandenburg.

This shield, supported by two unicorns, is Quarterly of fifteen, with most quarters being the arms one or another territory belonging to the Margraviate of Brandenburg. The second quarter is the Margraviate of Brandenburg; the eleventh is Hohenzollern (Quarterly argent and sable). Lacking the colors here, it is difficult to be certain of the identity of some of the quarters; e.g., which (of the three) eagles is that one for? Which of the six griffins are attributed to what territory? There is remarkably little explanation of these quarters on-line or in the heraldry books in my library.

That said, the "blank" fourteenth quarter is actually Gules plain, the Blut Fahne or Regalian quarter, indicative of Royal prerogatives. (And as we will see later, it is sometimes diapered.)

Again, click on the image below to see a larger version with greater detail.

All in all, an amazing display of Royal heraldry, proof positive that: (1) you can make sure that people know just exactly whose house this is; and (2) underlining the truth of the line in Mel Brooks' movie History of the World, Part One, "It's good to be the king."

Next time, more heraldry, and we don't even get inside the Castle yet!

Monday, June 21, 2021

On to Frederiksborg Castle (Beware the Lions!)

Leaving the sights, sounds, and heraldry of the city of Copenhagen behind us, we now move on to the sights and heraldry of Frederiksborg Castle.

We had to go there, because it is in the Castle's chapel (well, technically, they're mostly on the second floor, the Riddersalen or Great Hall, above the Chapel proper) that we can see the painted armorial plates of the members of the Order of the Elephant and the Order of the Dannebrog.

There is also, as you will see, some other heraldry there, too.

Frederiksborg Castle was built on three islets in the Slotssøen (castle lake) as a royal residence for King Christian IV of Denmark-Norway in the early 17th century, replacing an older castle acquired by Frederick II and becoming the largest Renaissance residence in Scandinavia. After a serious fire in 1859, the castle was rebuilt on the basis of old plans and paintings.

The entrance to the Castle is well-guarded by a pair of stone lions, who will apparently try to eat non-authorized personnel (or uppity Americans, or something like that) trying to enter the Castle.

The two lions, shown below without sacrificial victim, each have a forepaw on a blank cartouche in a rococo frame. (Cue my usual rant about empty shields and the temptation to paint or carve something onto them.)

Next time, we see some real heraldry!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Some (More) Foreign Coats of Arms in Copenhagen

In addition to the foreign arms and flags already seen in Copenhagen, Denmark, there were some others on the street just behind our hotel.

And as is becoming far, far to common for me, it was the heraldry rather than the bottles which truly caught my attention.

In the window of this store, there were at least three different coats of arms to be seen:

First, we have bottles of Ricasoli Chianti:

My best attempt at blazoning these arms is: Paly of six or and gules three bars azure issuant from the chiefmost a chief argent charged with a castle triple-towered or.

Then, also by Ricasoli, we have Brolio Chianti Classico:

These arms are marshaled (note the slight difference to the sinister arms here from those on the bottle of Ricasoli Chianti, above): Per pale, dexter, Argent on a bend gules in chief a mullet (of six points) or on a chief barry of six or and gules a lion rampant azure; sinister, Gules two pallets or overall three bars azure issuant from the chiefmost a chief or charged with a tower argent.

And finally, we have Livio Pavese Corniolo, a red wine from Monferrato, Piemonte, Italy:

I am probably incorrect about these arms, but what they look like to me would be blazoned: Per fess gules and gules a lion rampant sable adumbrated [all within a bordurelet argent]. (I suspect that the "bordurelet" is not truly a part of the arms here. Indeed, some of the other products that I find on-line from this vintner make the arms Gules a lion rampant or, which makes more heraldic sense.)

Still and all, it was fun seeing some heraldry from far-off Italy on the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark!

Monday, June 14, 2021

And Another Heraldic Logo

Speaking of using heraldry as a logo (see our last post for another example), on my wanderings about the city of Copehhagen, I ran across this sign, advertising the Digital Notebook of the Future (in Danish, Fremtidens Digitale Notesbog).

At the top, of course, is the logo of Oxford, a brand of the French-based Hamelin Group, "The brand that's shaping the future of books & pads", according to the Hamelin website.

The brand goes back to just more than a century, when in 1916 Papeteries Laroche-Joubert introduced their highest quality paper and began using the Oxford name. At that time they used two combattant lions for their logo. In 1982, Hamelin acquired the brand, and added the word "Oxford" beneath the lions.

More recently, and as you can see on the sign above, the lions now maintain a shield divided per pale between them.

Though the sign makes everything a cream color and green, Oxford's and Hamelin's websites make the colors white and blue (or heraldically, argent and azure).

So, yeah, it's basically a logo, but one with an heraldic flavor to it, and as it usually does, the shield shape caught my attention, and I had to photograph it and share it with you.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

It's International Heraldry Day!

Today, June 10, 2021, is the eighth anniversary of International Heraldry Day - the one day each year the entire community celebrates worldwide the wonderful science, art, and tradition that is heraldry no matter the origin, group, or tradition from whence it originates!

In other words, it's the day when we celebrate all that is heraldry and all the heraldry that is.

The goal of the original organizers of International Heraldry Day is that eventually all heraldry enthusiasts will acknowledge the event in the years to come. The celebration was started in 2013 within the International Association of Amateur Heralds (IAAH).

Why June 10? Because on that day in the year 1128, Geoffrey Plantagenet was knighted by his future father-in-law, Henry I Beauclerc in Rouen. Suspended on the neck of the young knight was shield of blue decorated six golden lions. That shield was later borne by Geoffrey's grandson, William Longspee, and is generally recognized as the fully formed coat of arms.

So come and celebrate with heralds from around the globe the wonderful, colorful world of heraldry on this special day!

And a final picture, by Danilo Martins:

Monday, June 7, 2021

Another Coat of Arms Being Used as a Logo

Or is it the other way around? That is, a logo masquerading as a coat of arms?

In either case, I ran across this armorial device wandering about the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark.

This was on one of the windows of Hartmann's, jewelers ( Not all of the tinctures are properly hatched (and that is assuming that any of them are), and I'm not entirely sure what the demi-lion is holding. My best guess at a blazon is: Per fess azure and or, a demi-lion issuant (or?) maintaining a (loop/arc of a scarf?) in its paws (argent?), and a rose (tincture?). Crest: A demi-lion as in the arms.

This heraldry/logo also appears on their website (link in the paragraph above), but is so small as to be very hard to make out. You would do much better with the image above, or the ones below from two other of their windows.

Still, for all the questions that I still have about this particular achievement of arms, it's nice to see a company using heraldry, and splashing all across the face of its building. But then, I like to see heraldry being used. Period.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Where's the Heraldry?

Okay, let's take a short break from all of the real and semi-real heraldry that we saw in Copenhagen, and share with you something I have talked about before as being, well, not necessarily the "bane" of my existence, but certainly an annoyance, and sometimes even a "trigger."

I am speaking, of course, about the non-heraldry that is the blank shield or the blank cartouche.

It's not heraldry; there are no charges, no lines of division, no colors (at least no colors that demark it as heraldry). It is, to all effects and purposes, a blank shield, on upon which heraldry could easily be placed, but which, like a mask, shows us nothing.

And the really annoying part of these blank shields in Copenhagen? A couple of them are to be found on royal palaces where the greater arms of Denmark ought rightfully to be displayed, and one of which is already surrounded by the collar of the Order of the Elephant!

Anyway, here are some of the shield blanks that I saw:

I swear, to see all of this wasted heraldic potential just makes me want to go back with a ladder, a chisel, paintbrushes, and cans of the seven heraldic tinctures (or, argent, azure, gules, sable, vert, and purpure, or for those non-heralds reading this: yellow, white, blue, red, black, green, and purple), and spend some time -- at least until they come and haul me off to jail for vandalism -- putting up coats of arms on all of these blank shields.

Who's with me?