Monday 10 September 2007

Unidentified Faxes part two and a plea for the common crest.

My friend the unidentified fax sender has struck again. It would seem that he does not read my web journal.

This time I have been sent a fax of two pages from the web site of the Standing Council of The Baronetage .

Clearly my friend has internet access. Why he could not simply email me the link I do not know; the point of his expenditure (cost of the fax call) is somewhat lost on me anyway as there is never any accompanying letter setting out why my friend felt that it is so important that these pages are brought to my attention.

Oh well, while we are on the subject of baronets (perhaps my friend is a mind reader?) I will mention that whilst browsing through Debrett's of 1980 vintage looking for Cheshire baronets (that is to say baronets with Cheshire connections) I came across the record for Haworth, Creation (U.K.) 1911, of Dunham Massey, co Chester.
Arms: Azure, on a bend between two stags' heads couped Or, as many garbs Gules.
Crest: Issuant out of grass proper a stag's head Gules armed and collared with a chain Or.
The illustration reminded me of the brief paper I wrote on recently for the newsletter of The Armorial Register entitled "A left handed baronet - or chicken and egg." In the case of Haworth, the baronet's crest features a stag's head Gules and is illustrated on the Debrett's page thus:

Why, I wonder, was it so illustrated?

I can guess. When a shield is emblazoned, the charge blazoned as a stag's head would, by default face to the dexter (to the left as we look at the shield) and therefore this is how the charge on the crest has been illustrated. I would bet that had the blazon been a stag's head affrontee the artist would have drawn it facing front but this is where I make my plea. Crests are three dimensional things; they are not flat charges painted onto a shield.

Let us imagine the resultant image had the Haworth baronet been of no greater degree than gentleman or esquire; I have absolutely no doubt that the artist would have drawn the crest in this way:

Note that when the stag's head is drawn by default facing to the dexter and placed on the helm of an esquire, it actually faces to the front of the helm. So, bearing in mind that a crest is a three dimensional thing, when, upon elevation to the baronetage, we naturally turn the helm to the front, why on earth don't we also just turn the crest to the front like this?

Surely when we imagine the "real life" of a crest as worn on a helm in tournament, most, if not all crests would have had a natural orientation to the front?

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