Ladybird Book: Learning about Heraldry

Ladybird Book: Learning about Heraldry - cover

Ladybird Book: Learning about Heraldry - Shields

Ladybird Book: Learning about Heraldry - crosses

Ladybird Book: Learning about Heraldry - crest

We had some well-needed rain recently and although the sun was in full view today, it reminded me that Summer is on the wane and I soon must turn again to my beloved bookshelf for cold-weather comfort.  I was gleefully encouraged by a terrific lost Ladybird Book that found itself to the top of a pile and reminded me that there was plenty to look forward to when the mercury drops.

This one is pure graphic luxury. It’s a regal voyage into the backstreets of pomp and the no-man’s land of nostalgic design. According to the inside cover, my copy of Learning about Heraldry was first published in 1974. The illustrations and facts still give off the notion that children might need to know the component parts of the Royal Standard or how to tell the Eton Crest from a Rugby one. It’s got a charming pre-silver jubilee feel to it and as with all Ladybird books, the history and facts are surprisingly enthralling to adults.

Contemporary Graphic design is full of crests, shields arms and borrowed elements of heraldry. Businesses like to play on the sense of tradition and reputation that heraldic devices emanate. What at first seemed like a faded and musty art to me, suddenly presented itself to me as having much greater credence for industry. The symbolism and protocols of the graphic designers of the middle-ages are still very much recognisable to this day.

Whilst stumbling through a host of sites promising to etch my family name onto a pathetic looking shield to hang above my Kitchen door, I found an odd site on the Civic heraldry of  England and Wales. There is a huge and well researched list of ancient town council heraldic devices. Some of them are actually quite mental.

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