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  1. #1
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    Blazon questions

    In drafting out a COA I'm finding myself somewhat befuddled with the heraldic language of the blazon.

    Here's what I've got so far:



    Coat of Arms: Gules, a fess embattled or, between in chief three escutcheons, and in base a harp.

    Crest: A dexter arm embowed vested azure, the hand in a buckskin gauntlet proper, grasping a cavalry saber argent, hilted or.

    Motto: Riamh Nar Dhruid O Spairn Lann (I will likely need to adjust the scroll to have that fit)

    Do I need to specify the color of the escutcheons and harp and the orientation (fesswise?) of the escutcheons? Do the helm and the mantling need to be described?

    I would sincerely appreciate the opinions and advice of our heraldic scholars.
    Mike Nugent
    Riamh Nar Dhruid O Spairn Lann

  2. #2
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    You do need to specify the colour of the escucheons and harp, but you can do so in conjunction with the fess:

    "Coat of Arms: Gules, a fess embattled counter-embattled, between in chief three escutcheons and in base a harp Or."

    And, assuming these are Scottish arms, the escroll generally appears above the crest rather than below the shield.

    Since the fess is embattled on the top and bottom, I changed the blazon to reflect that.

    Normally the helm and mantling don't need to be described because in Scotland the present practice is to use the helmet based on the bearer's title (if any) and the first-named color and metal from the arms for the torse and mantling. If you intend for the mantling to be Gules and Argent as you have them in the picture (and as was often the practice in the past), you would need to specify, otherwise it would be Gules and Or. Helms are often described as "...a helm befitting his rank..." or something similar, rather than going into great detail about style and decoration.

    I like it. Are you planning to register them somewhere?
    Last edited by Cygnus; 27th June 12 at 12:33 PM.

  3. #3
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    I knew there had to be a way to specify the color of the fess, escutcheons and harp without repeating "Or" three times. And, yes, I do want the mantling to be Gules and Argent. Where would I describe that?

    Once I fine tune everything I'll likely register them but I'm only beginning to look into the options.

    Many thanks for the help!
    Mike Nugent
    Riamh Nar Dhruid O Spairn Lann

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    A nice concept, Mike.
    Not sure what software you are using (sometimes it can be pretty restrictive), but I would argue for a broader fess (it can be up to a third of the depth of the shield, and if it has charges on it without any above or below, slightly wider even) and the harp and escutcheons somewhat larger.
    The helmet is a bit small in comparison with the shield – but on the other hand I have seen far too many helmets that dwarf the shield they have been placed on.
    As Cygnus says, the scroll normally appears on top in Scottish arms, but your use of a harp and a motto in Gaelic almost suggests an Irish coat of arms. Follow whichever convention is applicable.
    At any rate, for a first effort, this is a nice emblazonment.
    You could register it in Pretoria for a modest fee.
    Regards,
    Mike
    The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life.
    [Proverbs 14:27]

  5. #5
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    Following the format of your original post, you could simply include the following:

    Wreath: Gules and Or
    Mantling: Gules doubled Argent

  6. #6
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    I agree with everything Cygnus has said. My only thought is that artistically it could do with fewer embattlements - about a third less would be nice. More recognisable at a distance.

    Regards

    Chas

  7. #7
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    Here's a revision including the suggested changes:


    Coat of Arms: Gules, a fess embattled counter-embattled, between in chief three escutcheons and in base a harp Or.

    Wreath: Gules and Or.

    Crest: A dexter arm embowed vested Azure, the hand in a buckskin gauntlet proper, grasping a cavalry saber Argent, hilted Or.

    Mantling: Gules doubled Argent.

    Motto: Riamh Nar Dhruid O Spairn Lann

    I did try and do this in the style of Irish Arms. I'm only working with the “Paint” program on my PC which is pretty limiting so after I'm satisfied I plan on having an artist draw them up for me in a nicer version.

    I am of course open to more advice and suggestions!
    Last edited by Scout; 27th June 12 at 04:20 PM.
    Mike Nugent
    Riamh Nar Dhruid O Spairn Lann

  8. #8
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    The shield is far more pleasing to my eye. Nicely balanced.

    The mantling should strictly speaking be Gules and Or - the two colours from the shield.

    A interesting side note: there was a time when all grants in England, Wales and the whole of Ireland had mantling of Gules and Argent. It was the default. Ireland went through the independence and partition and the whole period when the College of Arms was still the legal authority of the Arms of the Republic. During that period all arms in Ireland suddenly had mantling of Vert and Argent. The College withdrew its authority and at the same time started granting different coloured mantlings.

    As to MS Paint - I use it quite often. One of the tricks is to have two copies open. Do something in one and copy and paste into the other.

    Regards

    Chas
    Last edited by Chas; 27th June 12 at 04:33 PM.

  9. #9
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    Irish arms, in general, tend to use gules doubled argent as the default, although many arms repeat the first named colour and metal as the mantling. Often the description of the helmet is missing, although this omission is unusual in grants made by Chief Heralds O'Donohue and Gillespie. As the majority of grants made by the Office of Arms in Dublin were, since 1943 bi-lingual, it is thought that the mention of the helmet may have been omitted due to the limited space available on the vellum upon which the arms were exemplified.

    The typical short text used in the Office of Arms would read as follows:

    TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME, I XXX XXXX, Chief Herald of Ireland, send Greeting and acting by and with the authority of my Office, grant and assign the Arms, in the margin hereof more clearly depicted, that is to say:

    Gules, a fess embattled counter-embattled between in chief three escutcheons and in base a harp or

    and for a Crest upon a wreath or and gules a dexter arm embowed vested azure the hand in a buckskin gauntlet grasping a cavalry saber proper *

    upon a Helmet** mantled gules doubled argent***

    and with the Motto:~**** Raimh Nar Dhruid O Spairn Lann

    unto XXX XXXXX (and his descendants, etc.) the said Arms being duly recorded in the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland as appertaining to him, and the same to bear observing their due and proper differences according to the Laws of Arms and the Practice of this Office, without the let or hindrance of any person or persons, excepting always the authority of this, my Office.

    In Witness whereof I have subscribed my name and title and affixed the Seal of my Office this ___day of ____, 20___.

    As an aside, it is customary when blazoning a harp to count the number of strings (a harp or with six strings -- which may, or may not be the same colour as the harp).

    * it is a convention of heraldry that all manner of swords have gold hilts and silver blades unless otherwise blazoned, hence the use of "proper";
    ** the attitude of the helmet (the direction it faces) is determined by the crest; thus some helmets may face forward, and others to the side;
    *** mantling is always described with the colour outermost (gules over argent, azure over or, etc.);
    **** more than one motto may be granted in which case "above" or "below" is used to designate the secondary motto: "and with the Mottoes:~ Para Bellum and below Pax et Amor".

    Hope that explains stuff.
    Last edited by MacMillan of Rathdown; 27th June 12 at 07:40 PM.

  10. #10
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    Unless I am mistaken, I believe "in chief" and "in base" can also be dropped from the blazon. Having designated the fess, an heraldic artist would then read it "from top to bottom" anyway (more honorable position, chief...to lesser position, base).
    The Rev. William B. Henry, Jr.
    "With Your Shield or On It!"

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