Friday, January 3, 2014

Decorating With Coat Of Arms, Crests, and Heraldic Motifs

I enjoy a mild obsession with crests, coat of arms....anything heraldic.  When  I am antiquing my eye is always on the lookout for anything with a crest on it. I love the masculine and royal feel they give to a room. Heraldic signs and symbols often incorporate a combination of crowns, coronets, flowers, fish, lions, eagles, fabulous beasts and mythological creatures. Also included are busts of men and women.
Heraldry emerged at a time during the mid-12 century when fighting men became so unrecognizable inside their suits of armour to both friend and enemy alike that  brightly colored and easily recognized symbols and designs were required so each could recognize their own men on the battlefield. These symbols were painted on the Knights banners and shields and embroidered on the coats worn over their armour....hence "coat of arms". Coats of arms became know as family crests and were handed down from father to son through generations. Changes were often made  to reflect the sons's own achievements.
The touches of heraldry decor in a room might be bold and castle like or very subtle. But a few well chosen pieces will make your home seem classically medieval and historic. 

Třebíč Castle

The first heraldic shields were those hung in medieval halls for decoration. Down the centuries, this tradition has continued, though the shields have generally become smaller, in proportion to today's homes. I love how these are painted on the walls.

 Many heraldic designs date back to medieval times and display the fleur de lis symbol, swords, and animals such as lions and unicorns. A heraldic coat of arm tapestry symbolizes an identity and a source of family. 

Daniela Stallinger Photography

Recreate a Gothic or Tudor room (such as a library or den) with the use of national and familial arms and crests.

Crests and coats of arms have been a perennial favorite design for stained glass windows.

You never know what you will find on a treasure hunt. This gorgeous old window could be used in so many ways!!!

via pinterest

It is still appropriate to use heraldry in decor. In fact it is possible that there are more ways than ever before to use this element in your interiors. Decorative pillows are one of the best ways as they are easy to find.

The bearing of coats of arms is not regulated in most countries, including the United States. While there is no reason we cannot enjoy the decoration of a coat of arms associated with someone centuries ago who shared our surname, we should be aware that this is all it is - a decoration.

This wallhanging is marvelous and makes a great headboard. It would be fun to find your family coat of arms or design your own crest and have a quilter quilt it for you. What a unique and priceless one of a kind treasure you would have.

Stunning Louis XV Parlor Chair with Napoleonic Crest Fabric

When shopping for furniture keep an eye out for anything with a touch of heraldry.

via pinterest

This homeowner has had a beautiful tone on tone crest painted on a hall wall.

Look for old wallhangings and other antique fabrics that might have an embroidered crest of them.

While the fleur-de-lis has appeared on countless European coat of arms and flags over the centuries, it is particularly associated with the French monarchy in a historical context.

Palazzo Davanzati - Florence

There will, quite probably, be a Coat of Arms in your surname, just do some research.

Crowns are popular motifs used in crests.

Coat of Arms tapestries are especially pleasing to the male eye as these designs are the epitome of masculinity.

Many heraldic symbols incorporate the lion.

Create the feel of a medieval castle or add a few subtle but classic touches to a room. The possibilities for application of the use of heraldry in home decor are greater now than they have ever been.

Chairs are a great way to incorporate crests into your interiors. Today many upholstery fabrics feature crests.

Kathy Rousset

I love this crest embroidered on linen and used to upholster a chair.

Heraldry is the perfect decor to lend an air of distinction and to display the pride of one's ancestry and place or origin. Look for coats of arms at antique shops and flea and collectible markets. Make a grouping or use them singularly.

photo by Tim Beddow

Sarah Richardson

Here is an example of a crest done all in white. A perfect piece to use over a fireplace.

via pinterest

Pieces like this are great to work into vignettes.

I love anything that has a crest on it. Collect and display pretty antique porcelain

via pinterest

There are many decorative items in stores today that are heraldic in design. (source unknown)

I love looking for the small hidden crests that make a piece even more exquisite.

Here is a picture of one of the crests on an antique mantle in my home.

Tapestries are another favorite way to display crests. Of course the antique ones are fabulous (and expensive) but you can find pretty new ones with an Old World design.When choosing a coat of arms tapestry you will find the highest quality from European tapestry manufacturers who produce the most authentic designs. The highest grade of yarns, exquisite colors, and intricate weave are trademarks of the Belgian and French weavers.

Heraldic tapestries are chosen by many interior decorators for Old English, French and traditional architecture. Deep backgrounds with a brighter coat of arms design in the center are typical of heraldic tapestries. Generally, dark blue or black backgrounds with brighter shades of reds, golds, and greens are the most popular, although these tapestries do come in other colors.

via pinerest

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Lisa Farmer

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