Potential Coat of Arms

An area to assist, or give, design guidance to prospective armigers.
Post Reply
Brian O'Leary
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:14 pm

Potential Coat of Arms

Post by Brian O'Leary » Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:55 pm

Hi all,

I'd like to ask your opinions about a potential coat for my own use that I've designed using elements I found online. Feel free to be as brutal as you like! (Consider the rendering a rough one).

Image

I like it, but I only wonder does it have a cluttered/"fussy" appearance because of the two red hands of Ulster superimposed on the ermine - Are they too much?

I also amn't sure about whether a simple lion rampant would be better than guardant?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

User avatar
Kathy McClurg
AR Reg. & IHS Member
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 7:48 pm
Location: Virginia, USA

Re: Potential Coat of Arms

Post by Kathy McClurg » Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:20 pm

Could you provide more of your design rationale? It is easier to make recommendations is we know what you are trying to portray...
Be well,
Kathy

Brian O'Leary
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:14 pm

Re: Potential Coat of Arms

Post by Brian O'Leary » Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:29 am

Hi Kathy,

Thanks for replying!

All my family are all from Ulster, Ireland, and all my four grandparents are from families in the "Uí Neill" group of Ulster septs (three are recognizable by name as such; the O'Leary side have been in mid-Ulster for nearly 200 hundred years and a yDNA test shows that the O'Leary patrilineal line falls those of the Uí Neill group of septs - and is unrelated to the better known O'Leary clan of Co. Cork in the very distant south-west of Ireland). So for these reasons, I wanted to choose symbols associated with Uí Neill septs, as I identify closely with them.

There are dozens of family names in the Uí Neill group, but having carried out a survey of them I found out that the two most prominent symbols are the "red hand" and also a lion rampant. So I wanted to build a coat of arms around these symbols. I played around quite a bit with them, and I thought that this was the one that pleased me most. But as I mentioned in the first post, I just wonder does the combination of ermine and three charges give a very cluttered appearance? I tried to have a look around online, and it seems relatively uncommon to see an ermine field with more than one charge. So that would be one of my biggest fears, and I wanted to get some outside opinions before having it rendered professionally.

Another question I have: there is an Uí Neill sept, the Mac Amhalgiadh family, who have quite a similar coat of arms. Their's is "argent, a lion rampant gules, and in chief, two dexter hands gules". Obviously I do not want to usurp another families coat of arms - is having an ermine field rather than argent sufficient to ensure I avoid this?

Also, I am undecided about having "a lion rampant" or "a lion rampant guardant". The Uí Neill septs have gone for a simple "lion rampant", but I quite like the lion rampant guardant. Would anybody have any opinions on this? Also, would the difference of attitude between the two regarding the Mac Amhalgiadh be necessary to avoid the charge of usurping another's coat of arms?

Many thanks in advance!

User avatar
Chris Green
AR Reg. & IHS Member
Posts: 141
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:04 am
Location: Karlstad, Sweden

Re: Potential Coat of Arms

Post by Chris Green » Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:44 pm

Try making the ermine spots smaller.
Chris Green
President of the International Association of Amateur Heralds

http://amateurheralds.com/

User avatar
Martin Goldstraw
Site Admin
Posts: 203
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:32 pm
Location: Shropshire, England.
Contact:

Re: Potential Coat of Arms

Post by Martin Goldstraw » Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:17 pm

I would respectfully suggest that if there is an existing coat of arms Argent, a lion rampant and in chief, two dexter hands Gules then it may be that simply altering the field to Ermine and the lion to guardant would suggest too close a blood relationship with the original. I know that it is difficult to strike a balance between indicating some form of relationship and at the same time being different but, in my humble opinion, these arms are too similar to the original to be truly different. There are numerous alternatives which might be considered whilst still retaining the basic symbolism.

I'm not a great fan of Ermine as a field as it tends to overshadow the charges upon it. Here's a few suggestions using "per":

Per bend Argent and Gules a lion rampant and a dexter hand appaume counterchanged.

Per chevron Argent and Gules in base a lion rampant and in chief two dexter hands appaume counterchanged (or vice versa)

You could try per fess or any other combination. The lion could have two tails or the hands might be torn at the wrists.

[If using a red lion then the tongue and claws are usually blue]
ulster.jpg
ulster.jpg (31.82 KiB) Viewed 6986 times
If I were to spend more time on the above image, I would make the per chevron more acute thus moving it higher into the chief allowing more room for the lion (a larger lion) and less open space around the hands.
ulster-2.jpg
ulster-2.jpg (35.26 KiB) Viewed 6983 times
Martin Goldstraw

----------
The Armorial Register
http://www.armorial-register.com

Image

User avatar
Chris Green
AR Reg. & IHS Member
Posts: 141
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:04 am
Location: Karlstad, Sweden

Re: Potential Coat of Arms

Post by Chris Green » Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:02 pm

I am no great fan of designs that bring together two or more charges that are vastly different in scale. Here Martin brings together hands and a lion rampant that juxtaposed with the hands seems scarcely larger than a mouse. Of course one does not need to be pedantically scale-accurate. But the lion is the noblest of the heraldic beasts and deserves better.

How about: Gules a Lion Rampant argent between two Flaunches Argent, on each a dexter hand appaume Gules (you can substitute "of the first" and "of the second" if that appeals). Flaunches (always 2) are still relatively rare, so there is little likelihood of a design including them being too close to an existing O'Neill coat.

Semy of hands appaume would be an interesting and unusual concept, but as Martin says about ermine, the field could overshadow the charge(s).
Chris Green
President of the International Association of Amateur Heralds

http://amateurheralds.com/

User avatar
Martin Goldstraw
Site Admin
Posts: 203
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:32 pm
Location: Shropshire, England.
Contact:

Re: Potential Coat of Arms

Post by Martin Goldstraw » Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:05 pm

A minor tweak.
ulster-3.jpg
ulster-3.jpg (34.79 KiB) Viewed 6980 times
Martin Goldstraw

----------
The Armorial Register
http://www.armorial-register.com

Image

User avatar
Martin Goldstraw
Site Admin
Posts: 203
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:32 pm
Location: Shropshire, England.
Contact:

Re: Potential Coat of Arms

Post by Martin Goldstraw » Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:20 pm

I look at this one and I want to change the hand on the dexter side to a sinister one so that it looks like the hands are cradling the rest of the shield ;-)
ulster-4.jpg
ulster-4.jpg (32.13 KiB) Viewed 6979 times
Martin Goldstraw

----------
The Armorial Register
http://www.armorial-register.com

Image

User avatar
Chris Green
AR Reg. & IHS Member
Posts: 141
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:04 am
Location: Karlstad, Sweden

Re: Potential Coat of Arms

Post by Chris Green » Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:03 pm

Martin: Thank you so much for emblazoning my idea. Beyond my accomplishment I fear. Slightly smaller flaunches and hands would allow for the lion appearing less emaciated perhaps.

I agree with you about the hand on the dexter flaunch being made a sinister one, but might the O'Neills consider that unlucky? I know that the dexter hand is very important to some people.
Chris Green
President of the International Association of Amateur Heralds

http://amateurheralds.com/

Brian O'Leary
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:14 pm

Re: Potential Coat of Arms

Post by Brian O'Leary » Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:16 pm

Martin and Chris, thank you both so much for taking the time and effort to help me out, I really do appreciate it, particularly as you've done such absolutely marvelous work!

First of all, Martin, regarding own my design being too close to the Mac Amhalgiadh coat of arms, I take what you say fully on board. That was one of my fears as I mentioned, but I really wasn't too sure what exactly would be acceptable. I'm more than satisfied with your own learned opinion on that front!

Regarding the ermine, I personally really like it as a field, but having read both your opinions on the ermine overshadowing the main charges, I think it is best to avoid it altogether, and you've both confirmed my worries about giving an overly cluttered appearance.

Regarding the idea of "gules a lion rampant argent": wow! I hadn't thought of it because I was focusing so much on using a lion rampant gules, but I think you really have come up with a winner here. I hadn't realised what a striking image that colour scheme is. And the great advantage, as you have both shown, is that by counter-colouring the charges it really frees up a lot of opportunity for being a lot more creative in the use of divisions.

I really like all the designs you've both come up with, the work really well. And as I'm really keen to incorporate the red hand of the Uí Neill septs and a lion rampant, they really fit what I'm looking for. Flaunches are a division that I hadn't considered in my original thoughts and sketches, but I think they really work very well in splitting up the field and allowing both the red hand and the lion to be displayed very nicely insofar as scaling is concerned.

So I think I am a sold on the use of "gules a lion rampant argent", as it is striking, allows more flexibility in the overall composition, and - I think - is an adequate nod to the lion rampant gules found so often in Uí Neill iconography. I don't think I could go so far as to include both a dexter and sinister hand appaume, although I see how it could work from the symmetrical point of view, I don't think I'd like to stray so far from tradition with as well known a symbol! :)

I think I'm going to go off and play with some new designs with what you've both come up with, and see how they work out. I'll keep in touch with developments. Thank you both again so much for the time and effort you've kindly given to help! :D

User avatar
Michael F. McCartney
IHS Member
Posts: 182
Joined: Tue May 13, 2014 12:30 am
Location: Fremont, California

Re: Potential Coat of Arms

Post by Michael F. McCartney » Sun Apr 05, 2015 7:43 pm

Interesting process so far. You can reduce the cluttered look of the ermine by using fewer ermine spots and arranging them to minimize the overlaps (just a bit of artistic license) or (if you don't include flaunches) by using an orle of some other small charges - I don't think an orle of ermine spots would look right.

One problem with lions rampant is their popularity and consequent risk of infringing some existing arms. The per chevron and flaunches approaches reduce this risk, and as drawn above can be visually quite striking. Another (which I will likely misspell) is chape-ployee which essentially has the upper corners divided by quarter circles touching in top center. This is relatively uncommon, reducing the risk of infringement; and would give adequate space for two hands, one in each corner, and more space / less crowding for your lion and likely ermine spots if desired. Whether it would be as attractive as the other suggestions, with or without ermine spots, I can't say without seeing them drawn.
Mike~~
Fremont, California

User avatar
Michael F. McCartney
IHS Member
Posts: 182
Joined: Tue May 13, 2014 12:30 am
Location: Fremont, California

Re: Potential Coat of Arms

Post by Michael F. McCartney » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:55 pm

Brian - your recent post re: designing arms for a friend prompted me to look at this thread from 2015. So if you don't mind sharing, what did you finally decide for your own arms?
Last edited by Michael F. McCartney on Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mike~~
Fremont, California

Brian O'Leary
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:14 pm

Re: Potential Coat of Arms

Post by Brian O'Leary » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:07 pm

Hi Michael - thanks for this message and apologies for not seeing/replying your previous one back in 2015! To be honest, I have yet to make up my mind!! I think I can safely say that I have scrapped my own initial draft above.I really like Martin's ideas, so might revisit these, particularly the version with flaunches. I've got a bit of a pipe dream to apply to the Chief Herald of Ireland for a grant of arms as I have documented Irish ancestry (although I know I can simply assume arms here anyway), and to work with her on a design. But it's an expensive business as you know!

Post Reply

Return to “Heraldic Design”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests