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Old 05-17-2018, 12:02 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Doper Heraldic Experts: What the heck is this thing on Catherine Parr's arms?

Elendil's Heir and I have been trying to figure something out.

Here's Catherine Parr's arms, courtesy of wikipedia.

So, three things:

1. what the heck is the sinister supporter supposed to be?

2. is it fire-breathing, or are those orange things just weird antlers?

3. how would you describe its trippy colour scheme?

I've not found a description on the English wikipedia, but did find one on French wikipedia. Unfortunately, it just describes the shield, and doesn't mention the supporters:

Quote:
Catherine Parr, épouse d'Henri VIII (1543–1547)
Parti : au 1 écartelé 1er et 4e d'azur aux trois fleurs de lys d'or (France moderne) et en 2e et 3e de gueules aux trois léopards d'or (Angleterre) : au 2 écartelé de six, 1er; une augmentation d'argent, sur une pile de gueules, entre six roses de gueules, trois autres roses d'argent, 2e; d'argent, deux barres d'azur, à la bordure engrêlée de sable (Parr), 3e; d'or, trois eaux-bougets de sable (Ross de Kendal), 4e; de vairé, une fesse de gueules (Marmion), 5e; d'azur, trois chevrons entrelacés dans la base, un chef d'or (FitzHugh), 6e; de vert, trois cerfs au regard d'or (Vert).
  #2  
Old 05-17-2018, 01:32 AM
Kamino Neko Kamino Neko is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
1. what the heck is the sinister supporter supposed to be?
Not an expert, but enough interest in the topic (and the related topic of legendary beasts) to answer this part....

It's a panther, though they're usually spotted, or else solid.

And the second part - it's flames, though the use of flames in heraldic panthers probably started as representations of the sweet smelling gas the legendary panther was believed to use to attract prey.

Couldn't begin to figure out how to describe his colours, though.
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Old 05-17-2018, 02:16 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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It's properly blazoned a "Panther, incensed" but it's definitely some kind of panther like Neko said, but I can't tell what the hell is up with the colour scheme - multicoloured spots* are common, this is the only stripey panther I've ever seen.

I'd blazon it somewhat similar to "a panther, incensed, bendy sinister of azure, gules, vert and argent" and hope that caught it. Although I might have to invent the term ribandy sinister. Luckily, the Rule of Tincture doesn't apply to supporters.

Compare the lion of the Ludovingians ("barry argent and gules") or the funky supporters on the arms of Long. (that's "goutty de sang" or "rain of blood")

Heraldic rainbows sometimes have 4 colourful stripes, but never that combo.

* the file mislabels these as leopards, which are something else entirely in heraldry.

Last edited by MrDibble; 05-17-2018 at 02:19 AM.
  #4  
Old 05-17-2018, 06:34 AM
APB APB is online now
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Kamino Neko and MrDibble have done the difficult bit in identifying it as a panther. But, as noted, the puzzle is its stripiness. Various prominent Tudor families, including the Seymours, used panthers as heraldic supporters, but those usually had multi-coloured spots.

But there are hints of stripes in the few depictions of Catherine Parr's arms with supporters. In this armorial binding, the pattern on the panther (left/dexter) does look more stripy, perhaps even spots arranged in strips, although unfortunately the colours have faded. (The animal on the right (sinister) is a wyvern, which also appeared on her brother's arms.) Also, although known only from an eighteenth-century engraving, the panther on her seal as queen seems to have had dotted stripes. (Note that the text beneath the engraving is puzzled by what it shows and that the BM is surely wrong in supposing that it was a unicorn!)
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Old 05-17-2018, 07:27 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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This? This right here? This is why I love the Dope. Thanks, all!
  #6  
Old 05-17-2018, 07:40 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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Originally Posted by APB View Post
(Note that the text beneath the engraving is puzzled by what it shows and that the BM is surely wrong in supposing that it was a unicorn!)
Nice find: "What animal is the ſiniſter ſupporter of the ſhield is not eaſy to determine" indeed. It's a panther, but the more horsey/draconian earlier form - like the example given from Raglan.

ETA - these guys (pdf) seem to think it's just striped in the royal livery colours.

Last edited by MrDibble; 05-17-2018 at 07:43 AM.
  #7  
Old 05-17-2018, 01:16 PM
choie choie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
This? This right here? This is why I love the Dope. Thanks, all!
Now that there's sort of an answer, can I ask... what was the topic that led you to Catherine Parr's coat of arms?

(My family has always been interested in the Tudors, and my sister is currently on a reading binge focusing on both the Tudors and the War of the Roses.)
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Old 05-17-2018, 04:09 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Are we quite entirely certain that it's not coloured proper?
  #9  
Old 05-17-2018, 04:43 PM
dtilque dtilque is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Are we quite entirely certain that it's not coloured proper?
You almost have it. It's really colored paper. Some one drew the panther on Christmas wrapping. The chain and crown are a stylized ribbon and bow. So it's a Christmas present. That explains it all.

Last edited by dtilque; 05-17-2018 at 04:45 PM.
  #10  
Old 05-17-2018, 10:36 PM
burpo the wonder mutt burpo the wonder mutt is offline
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Next Queen re-issue album cover.
  #11  
Old 05-17-2018, 10:51 PM
Jacquernagy Jacquernagy is online now
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They had psychedelics back then, didn't they?
  #12  
Old 05-17-2018, 11:36 PM
Terminus Est Terminus Est is online now
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They had psychedelics back then, didn't they?
Yes, ergot.
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Old 05-18-2018, 12:56 AM
choie choie is offline
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FWIW, I've done a bunch of research on this to hunt down this mythical beast, so to speak. Not exactly helpful but it might be of interest?

First, I dug up the artist who crafted the image for wikipedia, with the username "Sodacan," who specializes in heraldry. Here's his userpage with a table of all the six wives' coats of arms.

For Parr, he goes into very detailed description of the image, and I won't copy all his text, but for the sinister figure, he refers to it as "a panther incensed, striped with various colours, gorged with a coronet of crosses patée and fleurs de lys alternately and chained Or."

Curious as to the source he used to create the image, I checked his footnotes/references, which took me to Thomas Willament's Regal Heraldry: The armorial insignia of the Kings and Queens of England (1821). Luckily it's available on Google book search (and is of course in the public domain).

From the book:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Willament
KATHERINE, DAUGHTER OF SIR THOMAS PARR, ENT.

The achievement of this Queen has been copied from a representation of her great seal (Note -- there's a reference here to Archaeologia, which I'll excerpt below), the sixth wife of Henry VIII. It is taken from an impression in the collection of Mr. Gustavus Brander. Henry, says Mr. Brooke, was exceedingly kind in granting arms to his wives, though he deprived him of their heads. (...)
Heh. That last line sounds like a Straight Dope article.

So now there's the source article, in the anthology Archeologia by J.C. Brooke (1777). It includes this b/w engraving, which (since it lacks color) doesn't really help as far as why the colors are so psychedelic on the sinister animal. (BTW, am I the only person who finds it weird that the "sinister" side being described is on the right?)

Interestingly, Brooke doesn't find it any more recognizable:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Great Seal of Catherine Parr
"..With regard to the sinister supporter on the seal, I must profess myself absolutely at a loss either to discover what animal it is designed for, or how it comes to be used there. It does not appear to have been any of the royal badges, or the "beast" (for so supporters were anciently called) of the Parr family; William, Marquis of Northampton, brother of Queen Katherine, used on the dexter side a buck, on the sinister a wyvern, both extremely different from this animal. It may afford amusement to such members of the Society as are skilled in Zoology to discover it."
Full cite: Archeologia, "The Great Seal of Katherine Parr," by J.C. Brooke, 29th April, 1777. By the way, the name "Catherine/Katherine" is spelled with both a C and a K in these sources.

You can read the whole book at Google books.

Okiedoke. And finally, if you want a semi-colored version of Parr's Heraldry as of 1544--an image that, I notice, is not quite the same thing as the royal version as wife of Henry VIII (e.g., the panther's on the opposite side, and the other animal is a wyvern, not the royal lion)--it's available from a velvet appliqued copy of Petrarch, owned by the queen, and visible on the "historic artifacts" page from this extensive wiki devoted to The Tudors tv series, (about 1/4 down the page).

The beast in question is actually on the dexter/right side (which, again, looks like the left, but whatevs...) and is simply described by the site owner as "an animal breathing flame, and gorged with a coronet from which hangs a long chain, all worked in coloured silks on linen and applique, belongs to the Fitzhugh family, the coat of which is shown on the third quarter (Catherine's grandmother was Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh)."

Despite the lack of much color in the image, you can see that it's striped in what they call a " bend sinister," which is evident in the Wikipedia version.

And... that's all I've got. Whew. Hope this is helpful or at least not unhelpful.

Last edited by choie; 05-18-2018 at 01:01 AM.
  #14  
Old 05-18-2018, 01:13 AM
Terminus Est Terminus Est is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choie View Post
(BTW, am I the only person who finds it weird that the "sinister" side being described is on the right?)
It's a shield. When you're holding a shield correctly, then dexter and sinister are in their proper places.
  #15  
Old 05-18-2018, 01:17 AM
choie choie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terminus Est View Post
It's a shield. When you're holding a shield correctly, then dexter and sinister are in their proper places.
But only from the vantage point of the person holding the shield (and thus not actually actually seeing it), right? To someone looking at you, it's the other 'way round. At least it is in my head. Seems a curious way to think of things.
  #16  
Old 05-18-2018, 01:41 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
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>> it's striped in what they call a " bend sinister," <<

Something in the dim recesses of my memory says a "bend sinister" indicated an illegitimate birth?
  #17  
Old 05-18-2018, 01:44 AM
JoseB JoseB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choie View Post
But only from the vantage point of the person holding the shield (and thus not actually actually seeing it), right? To someone looking at you, it's the other 'way round. At least it is in my head. Seems a curious way to think of things.
The coat of arms belongs to the holder of the shield. I guess that that is the reason to describe things from his/her point of view. A bit perhaps like how, in theater directions, “stage left” or “stage right” are from the point of view of the actors, not the public.
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  #18  
Old 05-18-2018, 02:32 AM
choie choie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickLondon View Post
>> it's striped in what they call a " bend sinister," <<

Something in the dim recesses of my memory says a "bend sinister" indicated an illegitimate birth?
Ooh that's interesting, because in my travels I learned that Catherine's family side of the arms comes down from her great-great grandfather (!), William FitzHugh, 4th Baron FitzHugh--the Fitz part usually indicating some illegitimate connection to royalty somewhere in the past. You can see the FitzHugh yellow/blue diamond pattern in the lower right (or I guess I should say left) of the, um, escutcheon (she said after frantically looking up the names for the crazy number of all these constituent parts).

(William FitzHugh's granddaughter, Elizabeth married to William Parr. Her son, Thomas, was Catherine's dad. (Whew, I knew we'd get to her eventually))

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoseB View Post
The coat of arms belongs to the holder of the shield. I guess that that is the reason to describe things from his/her point of view. A bit perhaps like how, in theater directions, “stage left” or “stage right” are from the point of view of the actors, not the public.
Oh... okay, the performing side of me can see it like that. I guess I'm just so used to seeing these things from our POV that it didn't occur to me that the terms would refer to the owner's POV. Thanks!
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Old 05-18-2018, 02:51 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickLondon View Post
>> it's striped in what they call a " bend sinister," <<

Something in the dim recesses of my memory says a "bend sinister" indicated an illegitimate birth?
Usually, that'd be a bendlet sinister, a narrower version of the bend sinister.
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Old 05-18-2018, 02:54 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choie View Post
But only from the vantage point of the person holding the shield (and thus not actually actually seeing it), right? To someone looking at you, it's the other 'way round. At least it is in my head. Seems a curious way to think of things.
The usage predates the use of heraldry, and comes from military training. When heraldry came in, they used the existing terms.
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Old 05-18-2018, 02:55 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choie View Post
FWIW, I've done a bunch of research on this to hunt down this mythical beast, so to speak. Not exactly helpful but it might be of interest? [...]

And... that's all I've got. Whew. Hope this is helpful or at least not unhelpful.
Helpful, I'd say. Nice job.
  #22  
Old 05-18-2018, 02:57 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Are we quite entirely certain that it's not coloured proper?
naah, everyone knows that's sable.


WAKANDA FOREVER!

Last edited by MrDibble; 05-18-2018 at 02:58 AM.
  #23  
Old 05-18-2018, 11:36 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choie View Post
Now that there's sort of an answer, can I ask... what was the topic that led you to Catherine Parr's coat of arms?....
I was just noodling around on Wikipedia, as I'm wont to do when I have a little spare time. I don't remember what led me to Parr's page, in particular.

Quote:
Originally Posted by choie View Post
...For Parr, he goes into very detailed description of the image, and I won't copy all his text, but for the sinister figure, he refers to it as "a panther incensed, striped with various colours, gorged with a coronet of crosses patée and fleurs de lys alternately and chained Or."....
Interesting that he says "various colors," rather than specifying. I've never seen that in a blazon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoseB View Post
The coat of arms belongs to the holder of the shield. I guess that that is the reason to describe things from his/her point of view. A bit perhaps like how, in theater directions, “stage left” or “stage right” are from the point of view of the actors, not the public.
Similarly, under the U.S. Flag Code, the proper placement of the flag is described from "its" point of view - on the right is the place of honor; that is, the viewer's left, like so:

https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/wp...val-Office.jpg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...val_Office.jpg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...A_-_194263.jpg
  #24  
Old 05-19-2018, 09:59 AM
APB APB is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choie View Post
The beast in question is actually on the dexter/right side (which, again, looks like the left, but whatevs...) and is simply described by the site owner as "an animal breathing flame, and gorged with a coronet from which hangs a long chain, all worked in coloured silks on linen and applique, belongs to the Fitzhugh family, the coat of which is shown on the third quarter (Catherine's grandmother was Hon. Elizabeth FitzHugh)."
If only it was that simple. Although it has often been said that Catherine Parr's panther derives from the FitzHugh family, the evidence for that is actually extremely flimsy. The confusion seems to arise from the fact that Willement's comments on the subject are just nonsense.

Before explaining why, there is a general point that must first be grasped. In English heraldry the use of supporters was relatively rare. Although the rules were then not quite as strict as they are now, most individuals entitled to display a coat of arms were not entitled to include supporters. Moreover, the arms of individuals who were entitled to include them often didn't do so, most obviously because often only the shield was used. It can therefore sometimes be unclear what particular familial associations specific supporters were meant to have. However, even allowing for such uncertainty, Willement's arguments strain credulity.

While at a loss to identify what animal it was, Willement proposed a connection between Queen Catherine's supporter and the FitzHugh family on the basis that it also appeared on the seals of her great-great-grandfather, William, 4th Lord FitzHugh and her great-grandfather, Henry, 5th Lord FitzHugh. He specifically cites the illustration of the former in Joseph Edmondson's A Complete Body of Heraldry (1780). Unfortunately, that animal is clearly different. It could be a wyvern, but as it seems to have four legs, it is presumably a dragon. Willement further confuses matters by saying that a similar animal appears on the Garter stall plate of Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland in [topical reference coming up] St George's Chapel, Windsor. But that Clifford supporter is in fact a monkey.

That said, there is one piece of indirect evidence that panther supporters may have been associated with the Parrs or some of Queen Catherine's other ancestors. The Earls of Pembroke, descendants of her sister, Ann, and thus the Parr heirs, have a panther as one of their supporters. But Pembroke panthers are always spotted in the conventional manner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by choie View Post
...in my travels I learned that Catherine's family side of the arms comes down from her great-great grandfather (!), William FitzHugh, 4th Baron FitzHugh--the Fitz part usually indicating some illegitimate connection to royalty somewhere in the past.
No. 'Fitz' was merely the Norman patronymic meaning 'son of'. When used for royal bastards, that was made clear, usually in the form 'FitzRoy'. The idea that 'Fitz' followed by a Christian name or a title means a royal bastard dates only from the late seventeenth century, when Charles II and James II had so many illegitimate children that they had to become inventive about the surnames they gave them. There is no reason to suppose that Henry, 1st Lord FitzHugh was anything other than the legitimate son of his father, Hugh FitzHenry.
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