heraldry - Baronage header
Crest Badges
Clan Campbell crestbadge
A correspondent wrote in to complain of the style in which the Pegasus artists portray the strap-and-buckle of Scottish badges. The strap, he said, should always be depicted in black and white ~ the main body of the strap in white and the motto and edging in black.
His authority for this interpretation of the principles was, he claimed, the traditional practice of heraldic artists and the information pamphlets published by Lyon Office and available on the Web at -


The rationale for this interpretation is that the clansman's crestbadge as worn on clothing is of silver or white metal, and that accordingly its depiction on paper or any other material should always be in black and white. It follows then that even pictures such as the one with a white strap here (on the left) are wrong ~ the boar's head and the wreath on which it rests should be in black and white also.

What, then, is the view of the Baronage magazine?

Campbell crestbadge
Gayre pinseleeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
It must be acknowledged immediately that an accurate representation of a silver or white metal crestbadge will use no colour. But is that the only representation allowed? Our correspondent insisted that it is. We differ. Ladies' crestbadge brooches, for example, often have a gold strap, and the crest and wreath are enamelled or jewelled. (Their use for personal ornament is sanctioned by Lyon Office.)
Gayre weathervane and pennon
More to the point ~ a chief's crest surrounded by a strap-and-buckle appears on his pinsel as illustrated above. The Lyon Office states ~
"On it [the pinsel]is shown the Chief's crest, within a strap of the second livery colour and buckle (gold for full Chiefs), bearing the motto, and outside the strap and buckle a gold circlet ....... inscribed with the Chief's or Baron's title."
Obviously, if it is to be insisted that the use of the strap-and-buckle on the pinsel makes the depiction of the crestbadge there equivalent to the silver or white metal crestbadge as worn, then we have a contradiction. But we do not believe so.
The picture above left shows a weathervane and pennon featured in HERALDIC STANDARDS AND OTHER ENSIGNS, a book to which Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, Lord Lyon King of Arms (1945-1969) contributed a four-page foreword and of which, according to the author, Robert Gayre of Gayre and Nigg, he read the manuscript and discussed amendments and additions. Here it is obvious that, with a nod from the Lord Lyon, the author had no reservations about the use of full colour for the strap-and-buckle badge.
It thus appears reasonable to represent in black and white the badge as worn, but to allow the use of colour in all other representations. It may be possible to proceed even further and to allow a tartan backing to the badge when it is portrayed on a pennon, as below for Johnstone (left) and Maclean (right) ~ but in this we are perhaps too provocative.
Johnstone pennon Maclean pennon
Clan badges - 1
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