Tuesday 1 September 2015

It really doesn't do to copy

Now, I realise that I have occasionally been accused of being an expert on Cheshire Heraldry and sometimes, I have, perhaps somewhat immodestly, played along with the impression that I may well be, but even I would never admit to being infallible; I have been known to make mistakes and when I do I'm either the first to notice or, when someone else notices, I'm usually quite ready to be grateful that my mistake has been pointed out to me so that I can correct it.

Today, I had a very pleasant email from a lady by the name of Wickstead which was followed up by an equally pleasant telephone call from the lady's mother, the family genealogist (also a Wickstead). Although the subject of their contact was, for them, rather frustrating, it brought to my mind the old warnings we used to get from our teachers not to copy the works produced by other pupils and it made me smile.

Apparently the new owners of The Wickstead Arms, Nantwich, decided to have their pub sign repainted following the reopening of their business and it seems that whoever did the job for them simply lifted the image from my website and slavishly copied it in its entirety without asking. How do I know this?

Well, because I now know that the original image I made, the one copied by the pub, was incorrectly emblazoned. The blazon is correctly recorded on my website as Wicksted, of Nantwich, Arms: Argent, on a bend Azure, between three Cornish choughs proper, as many garbs Or. However, for some reason which now entirely escapes me, when I made the image (quite a while ago) I depicted the birds as something more akin to a generic heraldic bird with the colourings of a female blackbird with white wings - don't ask me why, I simply can't remember. It seems a strange depiction as I know full well that a Cornish chough is a blackish bird with a curved red beak and red legs!

Here, on the left is the original image from my website and on the right is the newly painted pub sign. Similar? Too much of a coincidence I suggest.

Here is what the correct depiction of the arms should look like.

I would like to believe that had I been officially consulted about the arms (and asked for permission to copy the image) I would have double checked and discovered my mistake in good time to prevent mishap. As it is the only lesson to be learned here is that warning so often given by generations of good teachers.

My thanks to the Ladies Wickstead for pointing out my mistake and allowing me the opportunity to correct it on the website; good luck with contacting the publican. I fully understand your frustration but you must forgive me if I don't have a great deal of sympathy for the owners of the Wickstead arms, I shall have a quiet chuckle to myself when I next see "their" sign.

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