Coat of Arms and Surname History


Learn all about heraldry

Who creates and paints our coat of arms shields?

Introducing our shield artist David Barker.

Ever wondered how our hand-painted shields are produced? Each unique coat of arms shield is created to order and painstakingly recreated in specialist enamel paint.

Here, we introduce the man behind the beautiful work! Our artist David Barker has worked in heraldry for decades, and has a wealth of expertise that comes from years of practice.

The significance of colour in coats of arms and heraldry

Have you recently purchased a coat of arms and surname history print from us? Hopefully you will have enjoyed seeing the earliest coat of arms associated with a bearer of your name. But did you know that each colour has a deeper meaning and significance?

There are only seven colours in heraldry. Have a look the list below to discover more about the heraldic colours, with the term used to describe them, and their symbolic meanings.

Red (Gules) = Military fortitude and magnanimity

Artistic interpretation in heraldry and coats of arms

The heraldic artist has a formidable challenge. He or she may enjoy considerable freedom within certain limits, but there are objects within a coat of arms that may not be altered.

For example, the crest, the colors on the coat of arms, and the symmetry may not be changed. Unfortunately, attempts by layman and even some commercial graphic artists often result in some classic mistakes or incongruities within the coat of arms.

Does my family name have a Coat of Arms?

Are you wondering if your family surname has its own specific coat of arms? We are often asked by customers if they have their own family coat of arms, and if our surname histories relate to their own specific branch of the family name.

It helps to understand the basics of how heraldry is created for individuals. The following is a brief guide to help you.

Coats of Arms

Autumn symbolism on coats of arms and heraldry

The rich imagery of Autumn features on many coats of arms, and heraldic symbols often include animals and plants that we associate with Autumn, ‘the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’

Here are some of the more commonly-found symbolic images that can be found on coats of arms.


The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

The imagery of Autumn

As Keats famously wrote in his 'Ode to Autumn', it is ‘the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, rich in natural symbolism, which can frequently be found in heraldry and coats of arms. Here are some of the symbolic images that can be found on coats of arms.

Christmas decorations - the heraldic meaning of traditional festive symbols

At this time of year, thoughts turn to seasonal decoration...

The shops are full of foliage to transform our homes into a festive wonderland. Wreaths and swags adorn gateways and mantle pieces. Trees are festooned with baubles and the imagery is often rich in tradition.

Animals in heraldry: Symbolism and meaning (part three)

Is there an animal featured on your coat of arms? Heraldic symbolism featuring creatures both real and mythological is commonly found in heraldry and here are just a few examples.

Animals in heraldry: Symbolism and meaning (part two)

Continuing on the theme of animals in heraldry, here are some examples of representations where animal symbolism is used to identify significant characteristics of the arms bearer.

The bat: This was an intimidating heraldic symbol used to inspire fear in enemies. In heraldry, it is usually represented displayed, with wings open and facing the observer. 

Animals in heraldry: Symbolism and meaning (part one)

Animals have been used symbolically within heraldry for centuries, and each individual representation has its own specific meanings. The animal depicted often highlights the characteristics of the arms bearer in visual form. Here are some examples of animal symbolism that may be found in heraldry, with a brief description of the symbolic meaning:

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