Monday, April 24, 2023

Three Grants of Arms

So today I'm going to finish up my review of the heraldry I saw in Cambridge last summer with photographs of three grants of arms (well, two grants and a certification, if you want to be nitpicky about it).

Accompanying the conference we were attending was a room with a display of heraldry of various sorts. (As an example, you can see the edge of an old herald's tabard in the first of the pictures below.) But these letters patent were among those items, and I photographed them because I've long been attracted to grants of arms and library paintings of arms.*

The first is a grant of arms to William Sharpe (1801). (I recommend clicking on any and all of the images below to see a larger, more detailed image of these letters patent.) His arms are blazoned: Per fess or and azure a pheon on a bordure invected four roses and four annulets alternated all counterchanged.

And, of course, as is the standard practice at the College of Arms, the grant also displays the arms of the crown (in this case, King George III), the Duke of Norfolk (who as Earl Marshal is nominally in charge of the College of Arms), and the College of Arms itself.  You will also note the appended seals, containing the arms, impaling the arms of their offices, of Isaac Heard, Garter Principal King of Arms, and Thomas Lock, Clarenceux King of Arms.

To make it a little easier to see, here are close-ups of the two seals:

Next is a  Grant of arms to Alexander Warren Dury Mitton (1973). His arms are blazoned: Per pale gules and azure a double-headed eagle displayed or within a bordure checky or and gules.

Here, the other coats of arms are as above, except that those of the sovereign are the Royal Arms of Queen Elizabeth II. The seals in their skippets have the covers in place, so you cannot see them, but you can see the crowns of the kings of arms embossed into the covers.

And finally, we have the Irish Certification of arms to John Paul Rylands (1875). His arms are blazoned: Quarterly: 1 and 4; Per fess indented or and gules; 2 and 3, Ermine, in the first quarter two fleur-de-lis in chief azure; overall an inescutcheon, Or a griffin passant vert. These arms were certified by Sir John Bernard Burke, Ulster King of Arms.

The other arms on this document are the Royal Arms of Queen Victoria, and the arms of Ulster King of Arms impaling those of Sir John Bernard Burke.

On a genealogical note, the Certification gives three generations of John P. Rylands descent, from his father Thomas Glazebrook Rylands, grandfather John Rylands, and great-grandfather, also John Rylands, as well as his great-grandfather's wife, Martha née Booth.

Anyway, it was a pleasure to see these grants/certification. It's not that often that you get to see a grant of arms "in the flesh", as it were.

* A library painting of a coat of arms is basically a certification from a granting authority that the coat of arms painted on the page was recorded by that authority. So it's basically a confirmation of a grant, etc., painted by a herald painter and signed by a herald. I have in my office a library painting of a coat of arms and crest I rescued from an antique store that was in a pretty shabby frame. The arms and crest are those of John Christian, Esq. "as established and recorded to him 13 May 1788". The document is dated at the College of Arms 19 September 1910 and signed by Richmond Herald Charles H. Athill.

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