Recent Commission

Below is a coat of arms for a woman that I was recently commissioned to do. The ribbon surrounding the woman’s oval shield has personal meaning to her and is decorative. The common practice in heraldry is that women don’t use helm and mantling in their achievements which leaves them looking rather empty artistically. Decorative knots, ribbons and wreaths are often employed to surround the shield. If you are wondering if you’re seeing things, yes, that is a whisk in the horse’s mouth. It alludes to the armiger’s love of cooking.





7 thoughts on “Recent Commission

    1. guyselvester Post author

      Per pale Purpure and Or a heart-shaped mask depicting to dexter Comedy and to sinister Tragedy Counterchanged, a chief indented Sable semé of six-pointed stars. Crest: a horse head erased Sable crined Or and holding in its mouth a chef’s whisk Sable handled Or. On a scroll below the shield the motto, “Vivat Vero Semper Casus”.

  1. georgetslc

    My incomplete blazon, for which I request expansion and correction:
    Per pale purpure and Or, on a heart counterchanged [What charges?] all counterchanged, and a chief azure mullety of six points Or. For her crest, On a wreath of the colors a nag’s head azure crined Or maintaining in its mouth a wire whisk bendwise sable handled Or. The shield encircled by a ribon gules fimbriated Or, pendant therefrom the medal of [Some order of Majorca?]. Motto: Vivat vero semper casus (“Let it always be the case”??).

    1. guyselvester Post author

      Blazon is not necessarily precise. It is possible to blazon the same thing in more than one way.

      My blazon is: Per pale Purpure and Or a heart-shaped mask depicting to dexter Comedy and to sinister Tragedy Counterchanged; a chief indented Sable semé of six-pointed stars Or. Crest: a horse head erased Sable crined Or and holding in its mouth a chef’s whisk Sable handled Or. On a scroll below the shield the motto, “Vivat Vero Semper Casus”.

      The chief and horse head are black depicted in this rendering as a very deep blue/gray highlighted in blue as this is aesthetically more appealing than using flat black. Yet, it is Sable.

      The term mullet can be used to describe any star but usually refers to a five-pointed star. So, it is acceptable to say semé of six-pointed stars. However, some prefer the term mullet and to blazon the chief mullety of six points is not wrong either.

      The chief had to be described as indented to take into account the specific dividing line.

      The masks of Comedy/Tragedy (usually depicted as two separate masks) are commonly known and so can be blazoned that way. Here they are on a single divided mask that is heart-shaped. But it is not necessary to blazon it as a heart and then blazon the charges on it since they aren’t really “on” it but are a part of it. Words like maintaining in its mouth vs. holding in its mouth are the same. Blazonry should be as clear as possible and doesn’t have to purposely sound as formal as possible. Holding is just as good as maintaining.

      Basically, though, you’ve got it. We simply approached the description from slightly different angles. The only thing you left out that would have been necessary was the reference to the indented line.

      The armiger wanted a motto in Latin that would express the sentiment that to truly live well one must always be willing to take chances. Latin, like the language of blazonry, is imprecise and certain phrases can be rendered in multiple ways. The goal here was to keep it as short as possible (to as few words as possible). It could have also been rendered as “Vivat Vero Semper Est Casus” but the word “est” is implied in our version. I actually favored “Periculo Vivere” but I got shot down.

      The ribbon and decoration are external ornaments included in this particular emblazon for artistic reason but are not part of the arms per se so they do t have to be blazoned.

      1. georgetslc

        Yep, missing the dividing line was my error. But what does the motto mean?

      2. Stephen v.B.

        I fear, Fr. Guy, that I have to support the previous commenter in this matter: the Latin does seem a bit odd. To express the value ‘truly’ as in ‘according to truth, rightly, properly’, the adverbial form of ‘verus’ should be ‘vere’, not ‘vero’ (which usually has a corroborative or adversative value, like the old ‘forsooth’). Leaving that aside, the rest of the sentence as it stands must come down to something like ‘May chance live forever’ or ‘Long live chance!’ Now, since ‘casus’ denotes a specific chance or accident (lit. a ‘fall’, as in a throw of the dice), perhaps the plural would have been more apt in this particular sentence, but I think that the implied sense would have been better expressed in a different manner altogether. (I don’t quite understand what you mean by the ‘implied ‘est” here.) Would not something along the lines of ‘audentes fortuna iuvat’ (Virgil, Aeneid X.284), i.e. ‘Fortune favours the brave’ have served rather nicely?

        My sincere apologies for the grammatical pedantry, but as a Latinist I could hardly let this pass (and, speaking more generally, the impressionistic approach to Latin in heraldry has been a bit of a concern to me of late).

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