Monday 21 December 2020

Designing arms: Oh dear, where to begin!

 I saw this post today on one of Facebook's many heraldry forums but before I had a chance to respond the original poster had disabled comments. It's a pity that the post wasn't removed altogether because, without comments, it could be an encouragement to others to follow an example of complete bad practice.  

I have removed the details of the artist but I should make it clear that although I have no criticism of the artistic/digital skills displayed in the image, I do feel that it ought to be the duty of a artist, when asked to undertake heraldic work such as this, to question what he is being asked to produce and, where possible, try to protect his client from criticism by pointing out the difficulties inherent in the commission; here we clearly have an example of an artist who was pleased with the quality of this work and has posted it on Facebook, in order to advertise his skills, but has encountered nothing but criticism.    

Where to begin?? Here we have an example of the claim that the arms have been designed by the person commissioning the work when all, it seems to me, that has been done is that the would be armiger has pinched the arms of Redvers, Earls of Devon (and a few more with the same arms) for the first and fourth quarter (Or, a lion rampant Azure) and those of the first quarter of the arms of Baron Brabourne (Azure, three cross-crosslets fitchée between two bendlets or (Knatchbull)) for the second and third quarters. 

I have no idea who the would be new armiger is but I am pretty sure that he isn't entitled to the helm of a British knight or baronet. Perhaps he has quartered these arms because he believes he is entitled to them because, somewhere in his history/genealogy, there appears the surnames of Redvers and Knatchbull without fully understanding that arms don't belong to surnames. Either way, these arms are supposed to be a newly devised and assumed creation so quarterings for newly devised arms would not be appropriate let alone the usurpation of existing arms.

I came to the thread on Facebook after comments had been turned off and if there were any existing comments, it appears that they have been deleted. My suggestion would be to delete the whole thing as presently it exists as an embarrassment to both artist and client.  


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