Thursday, October 20, 2005

Heraldic Bookplates

"A shield with helmet, mantle and crest. Arms: quarterly; 1 and 4, azure a chevron argent between in chief two torches and in base a wing argent; 2 and 3, counterquartered, 1 and 4 or a fess chequy argent and azure within a tressure flory counterflory, 2 and 3 argent a savage shooting an arrow from a bow. Crest: an arm embowed, holding a torch, between two wings elevated and displayed."

"A shield with crest. Arms: parted per pale, baron and femme; first, quarterly, 1 - or a lion rampant sable, debruised by a bend gobony argent and azure [Fausett], 2 - argent three piles meeting in base vert, on a canton sable a lion’s head erased or [Bryan], 3 - sable a chevron between three pelican’s heads erased vulning themselves or [Godfrey], 4 - argent on a chevron between three greyhound’s heads erased sable collared or as many plates [Toke]; second, or a fess dancetté between three crosses crosslet fitchy gules [Sandys]; over all an escutcheon of pretence azure, a bend between three leopard’s faces or [Nott]. Crest: a demi-lion rampant sable, holding in its paws a column gobony argent and gules, the base and capitol or."

To unlock the meanings behind these blazonings, you'll need to consult with an heraldic dictionary.

Notre Dame University is compiling a database of bookplates (ex libris)
from around the world, the majority of which include the very specific, the very personal, armorial ensigns or heraldic features associated with the person for whom the bookplate was made. It has been fascinating seeing and reading about this world that I had largely not noticed previously. All 992 bookplates can be accessed from this page.

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