Thursday, July 29, 2021

Some Older Armorial Plaques of the Order of the Dannebrog

Beginning with this post, we're going to start looking at some of the individual armorial plaques of members of the Order of the Dannebrog in Frederiksborg Castle.

In general, I'm going to try to go from older members to more recent ones, and so we're going to begin in the 17th Century. (I will say that I don't know what was going on in 1684 in Denmark, but a lot of members were created/inducted into the Order in that year.)

For this post, and for the next one, we are still looking at members' plaques tucked away in stairwells, rather than on the floor of the Chapel.

As usual, the blazons are my own, based on both what I can make out on these armorial plaques, as well as comparing them to the emblazons in the Dannebrogordenens Våbenboger (Order of the Dannebrog Armorial Books) which can be found at the link I gave in the last post. These blazons may very well differ from any "official" blazons of these arms; where they do, any errors are my own. The same is true of any mistranslations from the names given on the plaques or in the books, which are all in Latin.

Here we have the plate of Christian Rantzow, Count of Rantzow and Lewenholm (inducted 1698). Quarterly: 1 and 4, Per pale argent and gules; 2 and 3; Sable semy of lozenges bendwise sinister a bend sinister sable; overall an inescutcheon Azure a lion rampant queue-forchy crowned or.

Next is that of Joachim Schach (inducted in 1684) Per fess gules and argent a fleur-de-lis counterchanged; and Caius Rumohr (also inducted 1684) Per pale, Argent two bars gules, and Azure a wing issuant from the line of division argent.

Here we have the plaque of Philip Adams of Massenbach (inducted 1684). Or two bars azure; and Caius Lawrence, Count of Bruchdorf (inducted 1671) Per fess gules and azure in chief two lions passant respectant or and in base two winged fish bendwise sinister and bendwise respectant argent.

John George, Baron of Schulenberg (inducted 1684) Quarterly: 1 and 4, Argent three bird’s legs fesswise embowed gules; 2 and 3, Or a bull passant quarterly gules and argent, its head quarterly gules and argent crowned or; overall an inescutcheon Argent an eagle displayed gules; and John Echard of Geise (inducted 1681) Per pale: Per pale a lion rampant gules; Azure a decrescent moon within its horns argent a mullet of eight points or.

And finally, we have the plaques of: Joachim Henry von Bülow (inducted 1684) Azure semy of bezants, or Azure fourteen bezants four four three two and one; Francis Eberhard of Spekran (inducted 1684) Quarterly: 1 and 4, Gules a tower argent; 2 and 3, Argent a barred helm bendwise sinister silver garnished or with a panache of ostrich feathers alternately gules and argent; overall an inescutcheon Azure a bird [cock?] passant to sinister argent.

That should be enough to look at for this time. As always, you can click on a picture to go to a larger, more detailed one of each of the plaques.

"Why are they all so dark?", I hear you ask. You have to remember that electric lights are a comparatively recent invention. In the 17th Century, and for quite some time after, much lighting and heating was done with sooty fireplaces, smoky candles, smudge-producing whale oil and kerosene lamps, which tended to build up and darken whatever these smoky particles landed on over the years.

To quote Trevor Noah, "If you didn't know, now you know."

Monday, July 26, 2021

Alright, Some of You Knew That This Was Coming!

I'm sure that if you are familiar at all with Frederiksborg Castle, you probably just knew that this was going to be coming sooner or later. Well, that day has come.

For those of you not all that familiar with Frederiksborg Castle, you may be asking, "What has come?"

Up on the first floor of the Chapel at the Castle (what Americans would call the second floor, because in America what Europeans call the Ground Floor is called here the First Floor; making what in Europe is called the First Floor, the Second Floor in America; and so on. Anyway), on the floor a level above the Chapel are two side aisles. One contains the painted metal plaques of the members of the Order of the Dannebrog, with their names, coats of arms, and the dates of their induction into the Order. The other aisled contained the painted metal plaques of the members of the Order of the Elephant, with their names, coats of  arms, and the dates of their induction into that Order.

So, yeah, the next several posts are going to be chock full of heraldry, and today, we begin with the members of the Order of the Dannebrog.

First, to give you an idea of an overview, here's a shot looking down part of the aisle on the Order of the Dannebrog side of the Chapel.

Every place there is a window, there is an alcove, and on both sides of each alcove, are the aforementioned metal shields.

There are, of course, more members of the Order than whose shields will all fit into the spaces available, so a number of these shields, mostly for older members (the Order books found on-line at begin in 1671) have been mounted and are displayed in some of the staircases leading to/from this floor of the Chapel.

Here are some examples of that:

And some stairwells are better lit, making the shields more easily readable, than others:

As you can see here, and will see more of in the next several posts, each of these plaques has the same overall pattern: The coat of arms in the center, with helm, crest, and mantling, or a coronet, sometimes with a motto at the top, the shield surrounded with the sash and cross of the Order of the Dannebrog, and with the member's name on the left and date of induction into the Order on the right, usually in Latin and with Roman numerals.

Next time, we'll get out of the stairwells and onto the floor, and will start naming names, dating dates, and blazoning arms!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Ladies and Gentlemen, The King and Queen of Denmark

I realized after my last post that I've been sharing with you a number of depictions of the arms of King Christian IV of Denmark and his wife the Queen, Anne Catherine of Brandenburg, but so far we haven't seen any images or portraits of the couple themselves.

Well, today we're going to fix that.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the King and Queen of Denmark, Christian IV and Anne Catherine of Brandenburg.

This painted armorial genealogy appears in one of the upper rooms at Frederiksborg Castle. (I recommend that you click on the image above to see a larger and thus more detailed picture of this genealogical tree.)

At the bottom center, we have, of course, King Christian IV, and to his left, Queen Anne Catherine. Here they are in close-ups, with their coats of arms in front of them:

The figure to the King's right is their son Frederick III, who succeeded his father as King of Denmark and Norway and ruled from 1648 to 1670.

The remainder of the individuals and shields are, of course, the immediate ancestors of the King and Queen: their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.

It's always interesting to see an armorial genealogical tree, and this is one of the bigger and more detailed ones that I have come across. I hope that you find it as impressive and interesting as I do!

Monday, July 19, 2021

These Doors Are MY Doors, That Door Is YOUR Door

Wending our way upstairs at Frederiksborg Castle (and if you have the opportunity to visit the Castle, you should go upstairs!), we find more examples of Royal arms. Here, the arms surmount three doorways in a room.

Here we have the greater arms of Denmark, topped with the elephant of the Order of the Elephant:

And here's a closer view of of the greater arms of Denmark:

Over another doorway, we have the lesser arms of Denmark, also topped by the elephant:

And here's a close-up:

And finally, over another doorway, we have the arms of the Queen, Anne Catherine of Brandenburg:

And again, a close-up:

(I'm having this uncontrollable urge to start singing to the tune of Loch Lomond: "You take the King's doors, and I'll take the Queen's door, And I'll be in Denmark afore you." I'm trying to stifle it, I really am, but I don't know how long I can hold out. It's probably best if you go ahead and leave now. Unless, of course, it's already too late, and you've got the tune running in your head like an earworm. If that is the case, I am truly sorry. But now you know what it feels like sometimes to be me.)

Anyway, earworms or not, these heraldic panels are a great display of heraldry, and have me thinking, "Hey, I have two doorways in my office. I wonder if I could/should do something like this over them with my own arms.

You might look about your own home to see if you have any doorways in your home that might benefit from this kind of adornment. Just a suggestion.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Heraldry in the Rose Room, Part 2: the Queen's Arms

Having looked at the arms of the territories claimed or ruled by King Christian IV of Denmark, on the ceiling of the Rose Room in Frederiksborg Castle, today we're going to look at the arms of the territories claimed or ruled by the family of his Queen, Anne Catherine of Brandenburg.

Please note: I have not always been able to identify each of these arms with certainty.

And here again the arms are in no order other than the order in which I photographed them as I wandered more or less at random around the room.

Unidentified. Per fess gules and checky argent and azure a demi-griffin issuant from the line of division sable. It properly should be: Per fess gules and checky or and azure a demi-griffin issuant from the line of division argent.

Unidentified. Or a saltire couped between four roses gules.

Unidentified. Argent an eagle displayed sable.

Principality of Rügen. A literal translation of the German blazon is: Divided by gold over blue; above a red crowned and reinforced black lion with double tail, which grows out of the stepped gable located in the lower field, formed from five red stones. My attempt at an English blazon is: Per fess grady or and per fess grady argent and azure a demi-lion issuant from the line of division sable(? gules?) crowned or.

Margraviate of Brandenburg. Argent an eagle displayed gules armed membered and with kleestengeln or.

Burgraviate of Nuremberg. Or a lion rampant sable crowned or a bordure compony gules and argent.

Wenden. Argent a griffin passant bendy [of three] vert and gules.

Stettin. Azure a griffin passant gules.

Kashubia. Or a griffin passant sable.

Unidentified. Gules a wyvern passant argent.

Arch-Chamberlain and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire. This should be: Azure a scepter or. However, it is painted here as Argent a scepter or.

Unidentified. Gules an eagle displayed argent [beaked and membered or?].

And there you have it! The arms of the territories of the King and Queen of Denmark, Christian IV and Anne Catherine of Brandenburg.

And, of course, if you're ever looking for a little inspiration of what you can do to spruce up your own dining room, a little carved plaster and some paint and you've got a ceiling that will be the envy of the neighborhood!

Monday, July 12, 2021

The Heraldry in the Rose Room, Part 1: the King's Arms

Inside Frederiksborg Castle, we came to the Rose Room, also called the Knight's Room. It has been reconstructed to look like it did in the time of King Christian IV and Queen Anne Catherine of Brandenburg, when it was used as a dining room for the nobles of the Danish Court.

While there is a lot of stuff to look at in the room (including the two suits of armor standing in front of the window in the photograph above), it is well worth it for the heraldry enthusiast to look up while strolling about the room, where we find large plaster roundels with the arms of the many territories ruled by the King and Queen.

Today, we will look at the arms of those territories ruled by King Christian IV, and next time those of the Brandenburgs. These photos are not in any particular order; they are simply in the order that I photographed them as I wandered about the room.

Schleswig. Or two lions passant in pale azure.

Denmark. Or three lions passant azure between nine hearts gules.

The Kalmar Union/Sweden. Azure three crowns or.

Delmenhorst. Azure a cross paty or.

King of the Goths/Jutland. Or nine hearts gules in chief a lion passant azure.

Ditmarsken. Gules a knight armed cap-à-pie or mounted on a horse argent and bearing a shield azure charged with a cross paty or.

King of the Wends/Funen. This should properly be Gules a lindworm (wyvern) passant crowned or. This is Azure a lindworm (wyvern) passant crowned or. That said, some early examples have a blue field.

Holstein. Gules a nettle leaf between three passion nails in pall argent.

Gotland. Gules a Paschal lamb argent.

Iceland. Gules a stockfish argent ensigned by a crown or.

Oldenburg. Or two bars gules.

Øsel. Azure an eagle displayed sable [beaked and membered or].

And Norway. Gules a lion rampant crowned bearing an axe or.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

And Now For Something Completely Different

My wife was at an event hosted by the Dallas Area Fiber Artists recently, where they were having a "Stash Swap". Basically, this is where everyone brings fiber-related stuff they don't really want anymore, and everyone else can go through it to see if there's something that they want to add to their stash at home.

I don't often accompany her to these events, and in any case, I was giving a presentation via Zoom during the time it was going to be held.

However, my wife is always looking out for me! (I reciprocate, mind you. If I see something with skulls on it, especially Mexican Day of the Dead sugar skulls, I make sure to point them out for her so she can decide whether it's something that she wants to add to her collection.)

Anyway, she was looking through various piles of no-longer-loved stuff, and ran across this shield, which she grabbed and brought home for me.

This is, of course, the unit insignia of the U.S. Marine Fighter Squadron 214, the "Blacksheep Squadron".

VMF-214 may be more familiar to you from the old television program Black Sheep Squadron which aired from 1976-1978. That series was, as IMDb informs us, "The dramatized World War II adventures of U.S. Major Gregory 'Pappy' Boyington and his U.S. Marine Attack Squadron 214, (The Black Sheep Squadron)."

Though the TV series was mostly fiction, the VMF-214 was quite real. It was commissioned on July 1, 1942 on Oahu, Hawaii. On the evening of September 13, 1943, the men of VMF-214 gathered in Major Boyington's hootch during which time it was suggested that they needed a nickname. Originally the squadron called itself "Boyington's Bastards" after its new commander, the fact that all of the pilots had been "orphans" and not attached to a squadron when they got together, and the fact they possessed few reliable planes and no mechanics. The following day, this new label was presented to the Marine Corps public information officer on the island at the time, Captain Jack DeChant, and found to be unacceptable because civilian newspapers would never print it. DeChant then suggested the call sign "Black Sheep" because the expression meant essentially the same thing.

They chose for their badge the mark of illegitimacy, the bar sinister* (a nod to their first nickname, "Boyington's Bastards"), a black sheep superimposed, surrounded by a circle of twelve stars, and crowned with the image of their aircraft, the gull-winged F4U Corsair.

Now known as VMA-214, the Blacksheep Marine Attack Squadron still exists, currently flying AV-8B Harriers. (They will be switching over to F-35Bs over the next two years.) And they still use their insignia, above, with an A replacing the F in VMF.

Ah, the things you can run across at a fiber artists' Stash Swap!

* Yes, as a herald I know that (1) there is no such thing as a "bar sinister" and, (2) a bend sinister is not really a mark of bastardy. But I'm not going to go "tell it to the Marines".  ( That way lies madness.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Two Versions of the Queen's Arms

We have already seen depictions of Anne Catherine of Brandenburg's arms as King Christian IV's queen. Now we're going to find two slightly different versions of those arms in the same place, in the hall where the carved and beautifully colored arms of King Christian and Queen Anne Catherine we've seen before.

Flanking the tall windows along one wall of the hall, where we already saw the tapestry of King Christian's arms, are tapestries of Queen Anne Catherine's Brandenburg arms, facing her husband's arms with the windows between them. Unlike King Christian's arms, however, Queen Anne Catherine's appear in two different forms.

Here's one version of her arms:

And here's the other. See if you can spot the differences.

Did you see them?

I noticed five changes to the second shield from the first: In the first row, the fields of the first and third quarters appears to be different, for two changes; in the second row, the griffin in the sixth quarter is gules (red) rather than bendy sinister gules and vert; in the fourth row, the black eagle with kleestengeln has been replaced by the Hohenzollern arms (Quarterly sable and argent) which was moved down from the third row; and in the third row, dead center on the shield, the emblem of the Arch-Chamberlain and Elector of the Holy Roman Emperor takes pride of place and partially covers the Hohenzollern quarter.

It might be argued that the eagle in the 15th quarter looks to be a little "blue" in the second shield. I think, though, that may simply be a relatively slight miscoloration or fading, darkening the correct argent, or white.

Why the two different versions of Queen Anne Catherine's arms? I don't know, but it may very well have to do with the fact that her father was an Elector of the Holy Roman Emperor, and it was thought worthy of commemoration.

Or there may be some other reason entirely. Ain't heraldry (and its mysteries) wonderful?