Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Heraldry 101 - part 15 - a broader palette

Let's go right back to part 2, shall we?

If you've been with this series since the start, you'll remember that I started out with the 'core' tinctures - colours, metals and furs - gules, sable, vert, azure, argent, or, ermine and vair

Time for the rest!

The other common colour is purple, or purpure. Additional to that are a number of other colours, usually referred to as stains: the most common of these are:

  • tenné - from an old French word from which we get, unsurprisingly, 'tawny', is a brownish orange shade
  • murrey - a 'mulberry' shade, sort of reddish-purple
  • sanguine - from an old French word meaning (obviously enough) blood red, is an orangey-red shade. 
Stains are mostly only known in post-mediaeval heraldry, and often found in livery. For those who remember Robert Lewis Stevenson's "Black Arrow", set in the Wars of the Roses:
"The chief part were in Sir Daniel’s livery, murrey and blue, which gave the greater show to their array."
Murrey and blue seems to have been quite common as a livery - the Duke of Clarence and Richard of Gloucester (Richard III), among a number of Yorkist lords.

And then we come to the extra furs, which come in a bewildering array I'll just list with handy examples from Coat of Arms Design Studio.


Counter-Vair

Ermines

Erminois
Pean

Potent


Counter-potent














And there you have it. Heraldry 101.

I hope you enjoyed this series - I'll stick up a handy index post in a couple of days so you can find things.


Respectfully dedicated to the memory of Arthur Whitaker, teacher, Methodist local preacher and my grandfather, without whom I'd not love a number of the things I do today, and whose much thumbed and loved copy of "Boutell's Heraldry" has been my, and thus your, guide through this series.

2 comments:

  1. Nice one Mike, I've enjoyed the Heraldry posts, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think there's a simple reason for those other tinctures mostly showing up later: they aren't clear bright colours to help you spot your lord (or your soldiers) on a battlefield.

    ReplyDelete

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