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.......Classical Heraldry .......

Heraldry Without Colour (2)

We continue our examination of the potential of black-and-white heraldry with more bookplates.

First, presenting an ugly example as a benchmark, we may consider the style of James Franklin Fuller who, being an architect and perhaps fancying himself as a draughtsman, doubtless designed this himself. The helm, so often the litmus test, is absurdly small and its visor ill-proportioned. The wreath of the colours, on which the crest should stand, is separated from the helm by a draughtsman's calipers (which have no right to appear in a position which suggests some noble office). The geometry of the base of the shield and the motto scroll may hint at the plans of some suburban bungalow, but has no place in heraldry.

Fuller bookplate
Dobree bookplate
Mr Fuller's wife was Mlle Helen Guivion, the granddaughter of a Marshal of France, one of Napoleon's appointees, and their eldest son was an artillery officer (as was Napoleon), which might possibly have helped prompt the idea of introducing the calipers (artillerymen then being given to the art of mapmaking).

The designer of the art nouveau bookplate on the left is unknown. The blazon is Gules a crescent party per pale Or and Argent between three trefoils slipped of the third, and although the palewise lines of the Gules hatching cannot be distinguished at 72ppi resolution, the dots representing Or may be seen on the dexter half of the crescent. The shield at the foot of the bookplate is a mystery, for while it bears the same charges, their tinctures are changed and the field is Argent, the crescent Gules and the trefoils probably Sable. The motto Spe vivitur (we live in hope) entwined with the mantling unbalances, but the overall effect is attractive.


Roderick Gordon Murdoch Macpherson

To conclude this month's exhibits, here are three examples of the work of a Canadian artist we find impossible to praise too highly. Gordon Macpherson does not use a production line for his output. Every design is markedly different in style.

On the right the arms of a lady depicted on a lozenge are surrounded with the Celtic motifs her Gaelic Christian names suggest she wished. Below right is the bookplate of a churchman, featuring in the upper corners a Celtic knot but otherwise elegantly simple. Below is a more conventional design with powerful use of black.

Lawson bookplate
McColgan bookplate
Scott bookplate

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