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Chris Green
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Re: South African Bureau of Heraldry

Postby Chris Green » 26 Oct 2014, 07:41

The thing about having a blazon of the full achievement with helm, crest and mantling is that you can then have an heraldic artist depict it with or without as the mood takes you. If the blazon is simply the shield, either the artistic depiction will be just that - the shield plain and simple, or, at some future date when you develop a craving for helm, crest and mantling, you must go back and have the blazon revised, or the heraldic artist you engage must guess what it should have been.

Sorry if that seems complicated. It is possible to guess what any achievement's helm and mantling should be. For the helm one needs only to know whether the armiger is a gentleman or holds some other rank, and for the latter to take the first metal and first colour from the shield. The former guess should virtually always be correct, the latter not necessarily. (My mantling for example is not the argent/azure that the "rule" would ascribe but argent/vert as stated in the Letters Patent.) It is of course never possible to guess what a crest should be without recourse to the blazon, since it could be anything from a charge from the shield to a fabulous beast from the armiger's fevered heraldic imagining.

I would urge you to use our free design assistance.

http://fs8.formsite.com/secretary/design-request/index.html
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Re: South African Bureau of Heraldry

Postby Arthur Radburn » 26 Oct 2014, 14:32

andrewkerensky wrote:My question is with the design should i consider asking the Bureau for a helm and mantling or just keep the design really simple and let the escutcheon be the centre focus?
If you're going to register a crest, then you may find that the Bureau includes a helmet with wreath and mantling in the painting as a matter of course. The tinctures of the wreath and mantling would be specified in the blazon and on the certificate, but the helmet would not be described. It would merely be depicted, and you could choose whichever pattern you like, e.g. tilting helm, barrel helm, barred helm -- in SA, helmets do not indicate rank.
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Re: South African Bureau of Heraldry

Postby Arthur Radburn » 27 Oct 2014, 08:50

andrewkerensky wrote:Thanks Arthur for your input. As the helm/mantling are not part of the official blazon why include them? I mean other than for artist license of course :) I plan to contact Marcel van Rossum of the Bureau of Heraldry today and see what he would advise as the best way to register my design.
The Bureau seems to follow the principle that if there's a crest there must be a helmet for it to rest on, and so a helmet is depicted. Few heraldry authorities specify the helmet in a blazon -- it's usually either taken for granted, or else referred to in broad terms such as "on a helmet befitting his degree". In countries which assign specific patterns of helmet to specific ranks, it would be rather limiting to get too specific, as the blazon would have to be changed if the armiger's rank later changed, e.g. a commoner was knighted.
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Re: South African Bureau of Heraldry

Postby Chas Charles-Dunne » 27 Oct 2014, 19:59

Chris Green wrote:Frankly everything about that grant looks cheap. Could any of our Scottish members say whether it is genuine?


Unfortunately, this is pretty standard for Scotland. When John Duncan of Sketraw complained to Lyon Office about the look of his matriculation, he was told "it is a legal document, not a work of art!"

He keeps his, rolled up, in a desk drawer, in his office.
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Re: South African Bureau of Heraldry

Postby Chris Green » 27 Oct 2014, 20:53

andrewkerensky wrote:Still its not that bad :-) Its minimalist but if your paying good money for a Coat of Arms it should have the look you want. How much is a Scottish Grant? £1500? That seems like a lot of money for a Coat of Arms you are not happy with...


The arms are unexceptional, indeed they have a distinctly medieval look. The crest however is poor and badly executed and the torse's tinctures are reversed. We are really inveighing against the quality of the document - a wafer seal which appears not to have been embossed and a signature that one might apply to a thank-you letter to a maiden aunt. The scrivening of the text seems well done, but these days could equally well have been executed by a computer
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Re: South African Bureau of Heraldry

Postby Arthur Radburn » 27 Oct 2014, 21:14

Chris Green wrote:The crest however is poor and badly executed and the torse's tinctures are reversed.
This grant and the design rationale were discussed on another forum and, IIRC, the snail crest was modelled on some or other cartoon character, at the armiger's request.
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Re: South African Bureau of Heraldry

Postby JMcMillan » 27 Oct 2014, 21:23

Maybe I'm missing something, but this discussion seems to be a bit off the rails.

When you register a coat of arms, all you're tied to is the graphic concept, not the particular depiction. You shouldn't get yourself tangled up in worries about whether there's a helm or what it looks like, or what shape the shield is. This is particularly the case when you're only paying a few hundred dollars for the registration (as in South Africa) and not $3,000+ (as in Scotland), let alone $8,500+ (as in England).

I'm not saying you shouldn't engage with Marcel van Rossum and colleagues to have the emblazonment on the certificate the way you want it, but in the long run it doesn't matter. If you want an emblazonment with shield only, or shield and crest without helm, or on a different shield shape, all you have to do is commission an artist to make it for you, as long as the arms and crest conform to the blazon that is registered.

And, of course, if you're not in South Africa or going to use the arms there, you needn't even pay the $600 or whatever it is for the registration. Just find an artist and have him or her paint whatever arms you want however you want them.
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Re: South African Bureau of Heraldry

Postby Chas Charles-Dunne » 27 Oct 2014, 21:24

Arthur Radburn wrote:
Chris Green wrote:The crest however is poor and badly executed and the torse's tinctures are reversed.
This grant and the design rationale were discussed on another forum and, IIRC, the snail crest was modelled on some or other cartoon character, at the armiger's request.


"Brian the Snail", from the Magic Roundabout, if I remember correctly.
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Re: South African Bureau of Heraldry

Postby Chris Green » 27 Oct 2014, 22:00

Arthur Radburn wrote:
Chris Green wrote:The crest however is poor and badly executed and the torse's tinctures are reversed.
This grant and the design rationale were discussed on another forum and, IIRC, the snail crest was modelled on some or other cartoon character, at the armiger's request.


I thought the snail seemed familiar. Pity such a classical CoA should have that hovering over it.
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Re: South African Bureau of Heraldry

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 28 Oct 2014, 10:17

Chris Green wrote:Frankly everything about that grant looks cheap. Could any of our Scottish members say whether it is genuine?


It is genuine. The criticism leveled quite possibly says more of Lyon Court than it does of the armiger who obviously has quite a sense of humour and doesn't take himself too seriously (and yes, I do know him).
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