Thursday, November 30, 2023

Some Heraldry-Adjacent Business Logos/Signs

Of course, the Cross Keys (which we saw last time) is not the only business, or even the only type of business, to be identified in York, England, with a sign which is more or less heraldic.

Here are three examples:

First up, Barclays Bank.

Barclays logo, now a modern, highly-stylized eagle displayed azure, has always included the eagle, but it has changed over the years. You can find an historical review of how their logo has changed over the years on-line at

Next, we come to the Blue Bell Pub and their (if it were heraldic, obviously canting*) logo:

I really can't add anything to the photographs above; they pretty much say it all.

And then we come to the Westgate Hair Lounge (or as their sign notes, "Hair and City Spa"):

Westgate's logo is clearly meant to invoke heraldry, consisting as it does of a large letter W in place of a shield, supported by two lions rampant, and surmounted in chief by a Marquess' coronet.

I find myself troubled the most by this display of sort-of heraldry. The lack of a shield means it really isn't heraldry, but with the lion supporters and, more especially, the marquess' coronet, we are clearly meant to take it as heraldic. But we cannot do so, because it is so clearly not heraldry. It seems they are trying to get the cachet of heraldry without making something truly heraldic.

* Franklyn and Tanner's An Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Heraldry informs us that canting arms are "an achievement in which the description of the figures is homophonous with the name; a rebus, or pictorial pun, also described as 'armes parlantes', and, er[roneously], as 'allusive arms'."

Or, as another old saw has it: "Heralds don't pun, they cant." (Not the lack of an apostrophe in the last word; it is deliberate.)

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