The Oxford Guide to Heraldry
Beautifully illustrated with 32 full-color plates and over one hundred halftones and line drawings, The Oxford Guide to Heraldry offers a fascinating ... Show synopsis Beautifully illustrated with 32 full-color plates and over one hundred halftones and line drawings, The Oxford Guide to Heraldry offers a fascinating tour of the heart of medieval pagentry. The first guide to heraldry written by Officers of Arms with full access to the College of Arms Library--which boasts the finest collection of heraldic manuscripts in the world--this colorful volume is both an authoritative, completely up-to-date reference for experts and an excellent introduction for beginners, covering the origins of heraldry, the composition of arms and their visual appearance, the use of arms as decoration, and much more. The authors explain how coats of arms differed from country to country, with informative sections on France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and other European nations, plus a complete chapter devoted to heraldry in America. They discuss the traditional tinctures (colors) used--two metals, five colors, and two furs--and reveal that the colors are continually updated (for instance, after World War II, the color Bleu Celeste was added to honor the Royal Air Force). The book also outlines the virtues associated with the colors (red or "gules" signified magnanimity, black or "sable" prudence), the types of shield division (such as pale, fess, bend sinister, and chevron), the symbolism of animals (the owl signified a lazy man, the bear a strong but unwise warrior), and countless other aspects of this ancient art. This encyclopedic resource also includes an appendix on the Royal Arms of Great Britain, a glossary of heraldic terms, and a list of English and Scottish Kings of Arms. Heraldry is many things: a fascinating art, a system of symbols denoting prominent families and institutions, a beautiful display of pageantry, an important part of the historical record. The most authoritative guide to heraldry available, this lavishly illustrated volume is an invaluable reference for anyone interested in genealogy, history, chivalry, or the decorative arts.