Heraldic Artist : Johann Coetsee

Heraldry in Africa
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Arthur Radburn
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Heraldic Artist : Johann Coetsee

Postby Arthur Radburn » 16 Jun 2017, 14:07

Another in our occasional series on heraldic artists and designers.

Johann Coetsee (1937-92) was the chief heraldic artist at the Bureau of Heraldry from 1969 to 1992. He went on a study tour around Europe in 1969, spending time with heraldists and artists in England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Finland. This helped him to develop the distinctive "house style" of artwork which the Bureau used in the 1970s, '80s and early '90s.

This style evolved over time. In its earliest form, around 1970-72, it was highly stylised (some call it "cubist") and was drawn using compasses, French curves and other instruments, rather than freehand. Here are a few examples :

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Sandton municipality (1970).

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The Saffer Family Fund (1971).

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The Actuarial Society of South Africa (1972).

A noticeable change occurred around 1973, which can be seen in the standardisation of the forms of the helmet, wreath and mantling, motto scroll and compartment. Evidently, templates were laid down for the artists to use. This became the style for the following twenty years or so. A few examples :

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The town of Bloemspruit (1977).

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Adrian von Maltitz (1983).

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The Historical Association of SA (1990).

Coetsee was also responsible for developing some new lines of partition, such as "nowy gably" which you see in the chief of the Historical Society arms.
Regards
Arthur Radburn
IAAH Vice-President : Heraldic Education

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