Monday, 13 January 2014

Arms and the Duke

The Duke of Wellington, Willingham

As the cold wind of a rather tacky and plasticky branding refresh sweeps through the Greene King estate, the Duke of Wellington gets a spanking new sign. Even though it’s not called the Wellington Arms, they’ve gone for a nice heraldic job, being the arms of the eponymous Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington:

It’s very full and detailed. And also looks pretty much identical to the image on Wikipedia, even down to the shading. I do hope no copyright has been breached. . .

Burke’s Armory[1] gives the blazon thus

Arms: Quarterly, 1st and 4th gules. a cross argent between five plates in saltire in each quarter, for Wellesley; 2nd and 3rd, or, a lion rampant gules [armed and langued azure][2], for Colley; and as an honourable, in chief an inescutcheon charged with the crosses of St George, St Andrew, and St Patrick conjoined, being the union badge of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Crest: Out of a ducal coronet or, a demi-lion rampant gules holding a forked pennon flowing to the sinister also gules one-third per pale from the staff argent charged with the cross of St George.
Supporters: Two lions gules eacge gorged with an Eastern crown and chained or.
Motto: Virtutis Fortuna Comes

The inescutcheon was awarded as an augmentation in honour of Wellington’s military successes, especially his famous victory at Waterloo.[3]

Previously the sign bore this rather nice image of the man himself, based on an 1818 portrait by Sir Thomas Laurence (albeit with a different colour background and reversed, for some reason best known to the signpainter).

To my mind it seems a bit odd to use a depiction of the arms on a sign if the pub isn’t itself called the So-and-so Arms, but it could have been so very much worse.

[1] Burke, Sir Bernard, 1884, The General Armory of England, Ireland Scotland and Wales, p. 1089.
[2] Added, for completeness’ sake, from Brooke-Little, J.P., 1978. Boutell's Heraldry.

[3] Fox-Davies, A.C., 2007. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, p. 594.

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