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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Arms of Hampden-Sydney College


The full achievement of arms of Hampden-Sydney College, 
The Record, December 1976, Vol. 53, No. 4, pg 4. 

I remember my days at Hampden-Sydney well.  I recall my freshman year being enamored by the College's coat of arms, a young symbol for an old place.  They adorn the front gates to campus along with a promise etched in Latin, Huc venite iuvenes ut exeatis viri.  “Come here as youths so that you may leave as men,” it warns.  Travel down College Road further and you will see a giant bronze relief of the coat of arms surrounded by a banner.  I remember spending most, if not all, of my high school graduation money in the Bookstore on cufflinks, ties, and the like all sporting the College's most ubiquitous symbol.  

In the fall of 1974, an "unusually generous and imaginative friend of the College made an intriguing offer" (The Record, page 5).  This man, Mr. James Lewis Kirby (my opinion) of Claremont Manor, was immensely interested in English heraldry, and even published a beautiful book of his family and personal arms, Heraldry of the Kirkby and Kirby Families (Petersburg, VA: Plummer Printing, 1989).  Kirby proudly displays his honorary grant of arms from the College in London.  Moreover, he had two sons that would both graduate from the College in the coming years.  Kirby, I contend, made the approach to the College to sponsor an honorary devisal of arms from London.  That the College officially opened its doors on November 15, 1775 meant that it was operating under George III--much to the chagrin of the Scots-Irish Presbyterians who inhabited that part of central Virginia.  For Hampden-Sydney would stand in stark contrast to the Anglican College of William & Mary in Williamsburg.  However, it would take a full two hundred years (depending on how you count the College's founding) until the school would bear arms.  Thankfully, Mr. Kirby made this possible.

With a generous grant from the F.M. Kirby Foundation, the College was able to obtain an honorary devisal of arms from the College of London.  It would serve as a proud moment during the College's bi-centennial celebrations in 1976.  The grant, done completely in Latin, was dated with a touch of irony, July 4, 1976. Then Richmond Herald, John P. Brook-Little, came to campus--dressed in the herald's tabard--and presented the letters patent on October 19, 1976.  Another touch of irony, as Professor John L. Brinkley '59, pointed out in his remarks that day, that the 19th of October was in fact the 195th anniversary of the Lord Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown (The Record, page 7).  The letters patent were granted to the President and Trustees of Hampden-Sydney College, the official name of the corporation. 

What is more interesting, at least to me, is how the coat of arms changed once in the hands of the College. My friend and former colleague, Dr. Richard McClintock, who spent his career at the College and held immense influence over the design of everything published there, recently shared with me what happened. The pheons from the Sidney Family (spelled with an "i") are somewhat small in the cantoned field between the cross saltire.  He redrew the charges to better fit the field, and I believe he did the arms a favor.

The unique device on these arms is the open Bible containing in Greek a verse from the Gospel according to John 8:32, "Ye shall know the truth."  Greek was selected, rather than Latin, to emphasis the importance placed on the Classics at Hampden-Sydney.  It didn't hurt that Professor Brinkley, of the Classics Department, was the man deputized to work with the College in London.  Brinkley was the College's first Rhodes Scholar and earned a bachelors and masters degrees from Trinity, Oxford.  He used a classmate from Trinity to translate the letters patent into Latin.  Below is a photograph of a plaque I obtained from a London-based firm showing the shield as intended by the College of Arms.
  

And now see the change!


A rustic image of the shield used in social media.


The College also received a badge, which places two batons in saltire, topped with red liberty caps.  "The batons and Liberty Caps are Roman symbols of manumission and are only incidentally reminiscent of the French Revolution" (The Record, page 6).  Sadly, the badge is not used at all.  

Moreover, McClintock designed a ribbon to surround the shield in order to identify the shield's owner, Hampden-Sydney College.  I had originally thought that McClintock's inspiration for the banner or ribbon (as he called it) came from the arms of Rice University designed by Pierre de Chaignon la Rose.  It was a good guess, but McClintock drew the banner without inspiration.


It is the shield and banner which is most often used by the College, but note that the College's official seal is still in use on diplomas to certify the corporation's approval.  


The letters patent are currently on display at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC as part of their exhibit, "Symbols of Honor: Heraldry and Family History."  The exhibit runs from July 1-October 26, 2014.  This photo is from the online exhibit catalog.

Below is an interesting article appearing in the The Record of Hampden Sydney, Summer 1991, Vol 67, No 2, pages 11-12.  Click to enlarge.  



Monday, July 21, 2014

Commission for New Arms


Private commission, by the Author.  
Copyright 2014.

Arms:  Azure, semé of Masonic compasses erect Argent, a dexter hand couped erect of the second;

Crest:  On a wreath Argent and Azure, a Black Labrador head erased gorged of a collar Or clutching in its jaws a glove of the first;

Motto: "My Soul is Resilient."

A friend of mine asked if I would devise arms for him, and of course I jumped at the chance.  The design came to mind rather quickly, which surprised me.  These are classic canting arms as the hand is a pun on the armiger's surname.  The armiger is a Mason and I thought of a way to incorporate the compass from the Masonic symbol in a pattern, or seme.  I think they came out rather nicely!  The crest was also fun, as the armiger loves his Black Lab.  In the dog's mouth is a white glove, apparently another symbol found in Masonry.  The motto was a collaborative effort and accurately portrays the armiger's war cry.  He loves it and so do I.   


Monday, July 14, 2014

The Arms of Chad Michael Krouse



The arms of Chad Michael Krouse, copyright 2014.
Digital artwork by Steve Cowan, July 2014.

After months, and I mean months, of going back and forth over a design for arms, I finally have resolution. With the careful eye of Canadian heraldic artist, Steve Cowan, we designed the above escutcheon to impart something meaningful about me.  Steve was a treat to work with, and I highly recommend him.  The dogwood flowers, depicted as proper, represent the official flower of the Commonwealth of Virginia--my adopted state.  The Cross of Saint Chad is a pun on my name, as Saint Chad is also my patron saint.  The three bars, barry wavy, reflect my love of the water (especially fishing).  Fishing, my mid-life crisis hobby, was something I wanted to incorporate and had a few designs with fish hooks in saltire.

The Blazon

Arms:  Per chevron Gules and barry wavy Argent and Azure, 
in chief two dogwood flowers (cornus florida) proper and in base a cross of Saint Chad of the first; 

Crest:  On a wreath of Gules and Argent, a Cardinal's head (cardinalis cardinalis) erased clutching in its beak a lilly seeded proper;

Motto:  Ich Mache Recht.

My arms on a lozenge for my daughter.
Painted by Ceilidh Burdick, Ealeroi Studios, July 2014.

For some reason, it's always harder to create something for yourself as opposed to someone else.  Below is a colored pencil drawing of my complete achievement of arms.  I mistakenly opted for azure in the wreath and mantling.  It is blazoned, now, for gules (red).    

Achievement of arms, Chad Michael Krouse.
Colored pencil, by the author.  2014.

Since I had settled on the crest and motto long before the shield, I wanted to make certain that the final design worked in harmony with everything.  I believe this was achieved.  It is interesting to note that a lot of friends (Facebook) thought it looked off balance.  One even went so far as to suggest it looked like a crazy wrestling mask!  So it remains a fundamental truth that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  For prior thoughts on the motto and crest, click here.


Early drafts in colored pencil.

Here's an example of some of the earlier drafts which struggled to incorporate too much stuff.  The medieval canon of heraldry demands a noble simplicity for ease of identification--these miss the mark.  

First draft with shield divided "per chevron."

This next image represents the first time I divided the shield "per chevron" but still cluttered up the chief with three dogwoods.  Moreover, I made a poor attempt to place a charge upon a charge with no real distinction between the two.  This was when I started to see the fish hooks in saltire which do look sharp.  


Again, another bad attempt with the chief, but I rather liked the fish hooks in saltire.  It was a struggle to decide between the Cross of Saint Chad or the fish hooks.  The cross won!  

I'm glad that I went through this lengthy process of give and take.  It afforded me time to really flesh out what I wanted and how I wanted to be identified vis a vis coat armour.  I'm extremely happy with the final design and am ready to proudly display my arms.  



Friday, June 20, 2014

Pierre de Chaignon la Rose and the Mystery of Saint Edward's Seminary

 
"Friends of St. Edward State Park"
Pencil, by the author.

I'll admit that I am truly fascinated with Pierre de Chaignon la Rose (1872-1941), one of the great 20th Century heraldic designers in America.  At present, I have compiled a roll of arms (complete with sources) for 133 coats of arms for prep schools, colleges/universities, Episcopal dioceses, Roman Catholic archdioceses/dioceses, and religious institutions.  Needless to say, he deserves his own post, a published biography would be even better! 

As I was searching the web for resources on la Rose's work, I came across a blog post from the Friends of Saint Edward State Park in Kenmore, Washington.  Once upon a time, there was a seminary founded by the Society of Saint Sulpice in the Archdiocese of Seattle.  The seminary was dedicated to Saint Edward the Confessor and la Rose was enlisted to devise arms for the school.  Constructed around 1931, the 316-acre property was to house the seminary.  It closed in 1977.  Now, the grounds have been turned into a state park and is supported by a group of local citizens.

Through some research, the group identified a drawing for arms executed by la Rose along with a letter, all of which are reportedly held in the archives of the archdiocese.

la Rose's draft shield for Saint Edward's Seminary
Source: Blog Posting of 31 Aug 2013

The blog posting from 31 August 2013 contains the following information from la Rose:
Saint Edward himself has a very beautiful coat ascribed him by the medieval heralds-apocryphal, of course, as he lived before the rise of personal heraldry, but still, an actual emblem which he used on his coinage: a cross with five martlets.  This in conjunction with the Sulpician emblem, I shall make the basis of a carefully studied design.
The arms ascribed to Saint Edward by the early heralds consist of a gold cross and five gold 'martlets' on a blue field.  The shapes and arrangement are the same as in my own drawing.  We may not use this coat unaltered, for to do so would imply, heraldically, that St. Edward was the Founder of the Seminary, instead of being simply its Patron.  I have therefore changed the coloring from blue and gold to red and silver - the colors of the diocesan arms. As for St. Edward's cross and martlets, they appear, as I think I told you, on his coins.  The significance of the birds I do not know, nor does anyone else.  In heraldry they are always shown as having no feet visible. 
On the Sulpician 'inescutcheon' you will note the crescent (of the Immaculate Conception) which distinguishes the American house of the society from the French. 
From a letter of Pierre de Chaignon La Rose, 13 February, 1931
That is all that is known about the tinctures.  I wanted to see if I could recreate these arms and bring them to life for the benefit of the friends society.  I took license with the ineschutcheon, opting for azure to represent the Blessed Virgin Mary (which the Sulpician monogram represents) but left the charges all in argent.  I opted to shade this in as silver rather than leaving them stark white.  The banner surrounding the shield can be found in another of la Rose's work, the arms of Rice University.  Since I could not fit in the entire name, "The Friends of Saint Edward State Park," I again used artistic license to get the point across.  I selected the date of 2007, represented by Roman numerals (for the Roman Catholic nature of the place), because this is the date the property was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

All in all, I love a challenge and enjoyed this.  While I'll never know if what I drew was correct in la Rose's mind, it doesn't much matter.