Monday, 30 November 2015

A new depiction

In a previous article on heraldry, I went over the differences between Blazon and Emblazon: how the artistic depiction of a coat of arms can differ, while the verbal code that describes it must always be the same.

Some months ago, eagle-eyed reader Gary Smith wrote in to notify me of an irregularity in the depiction of my own arms as painted below:

Namely, the mantling (the flowing fabric shown swirling around the helmet) is reversed from what has become the standard practice: the metal (white or yellow) should be on the bottom (if the mantling were laying flat down the back of the helmet), and the tincture (red, in this case), should be on the top.

Now mantling does not even form part of the blazon: it is technically all about artistic license and the artists' need to fill in empty space, and there are a huge variety of ways in which it can be depicted (there are some good examples at this link, and this is as good a time as any to plug my pinterest on heraldic art as well). So, as heraldic sins go, the artist's decision in the above painting to have the gold mantling on the outside is about as minor as they come. And, in fact it turned out to be a happy fault in my case, since it led to Mr. Smith taking it upon himself to make a new version of my arms, which means I am now able to illustrate the differences between blazon and emblazon using my family's own arms as an example:

What makes the two versions most interesting to compare, in my opinion, is that while the former was painted by hand on parchment (and a scan doesn't to justice to the final product, with its gold and silver leaf ), the latter is an all digital creation, made primarily using clip art heraldry images (with a final result that is much nicer than what one traditionally associates with clip art heraldry). In any event I am happy to have my arms depicted by as many different artists as possible, so I was very happy to get these. He even threw in an ex libris "free of charge":

Thanks Gary!

Posted by jon at 7:00 PM in Heraldry 
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