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A Tribute to an Heraldic Artist

As a further contribution to the discussion of notable heraldic art, in which the previous item was a painting of the arms of Heinrich I, Count of Tirol (1180-1202), we have chosen a striking representation of the arms of Diana, Princess of Wales, prepared for her by the College of Arms while she was still married to the Prince of Wales.

The Spencer arms are displayed on a lozenge whose sides have been modified by curves shaped to produce a point that allows greater space for the sinister bendlet components of the two frets, and a little more space also for the escallops on the bend. Note the artistic licence employed to shade the escallops in sinister chief, giving a 3D appearance. The lozenge also is shaded on its sinister edge.
(Although the style of the frets is as those in her father's arms, some writers insist they should be switched left-right, mirrorwise, so that the dexter bendlet passes beneath the mascle and over the sinister bendlet, but classical armorists do not recognise such distinctions. The fret was early identified as a love knot, and was designated by some English heralds as heraldorum nodus amatorius ~ the herald's love knot.)
The supporters of the Earls Spencer are a gryphon per fess ermine and erminois and an ermine wyvern, but the Princess of Wales chose two ermine gryphons with erminois wings. The coronets gorging the gryphons and ensigning the lozenge, being of alternate crosses paty and fleurs de lys are those of the sons and daughters (and daughter-in-law) of the Sovereign. Dieu defend le droit is the Spencer motto borne by her father and brother.
For the student of heraldic art the principal features to note here are the splendid balance of proportions and the dynamic vigour of the supporting gryphons. All in all this is a fine and very attractive example of a modern herald painter's work.

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© 2001 The Baronage Press and Pegasus Associates