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Fairbairn's Crests of the Leading Families in Great Britain and Ireland and Their Kindred in Other Lands (Classic Reprint)

Fairbairn's Crests of the Leading Families in Great Britain and Ireland and Their Kindred in Other Lands (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Fairbairn's Crests of the Leading Families in Great Britain and Ireland and Their Kindred in Other Lands

They addressed the imagination by a more direct channel and in a more striking manner than words; while at one glance they re called the most important events in the History of persons. Families and nations. Their immediate relations to war and to the honorable distinctions arising from it, connected them with the deeds and manners of former times. Exhibited on the shields and vestments of warriors, they also adorned the most splendid apparel of peace; and were often transferred to more durable materials, to perpetuate the memory of those who bore them. They formed the chief orna ments in the palaces of the great, were chosen by artists of various professions to embellish their respective works. Were set up in courts of judicature, and impressed on the public money. Thus, to the utmost extent of their application, did Armorial Bearings become the symbolical language of Europe.

It was not until the time of the Crusades that the Crest or cognizance was generally adopted. Originally the crest was an ornament chie?y worn by Kings, Knights, and warriors. It was made either of feathers, wood, leather. Or metal, and secured by the wreath, a parti - colored fastening, consisting of the principal metal and color of the shield entwined. At first these badges were placed on the summit of the helmet, to render them more plainly visible; or on the arm; but in later times were transferred to the shield or armor. The crest served to distinguish the bearers in battle, and as a mark for their followers or supporters. Being no longer thus borne, the art of the painter, sculptor, or engraver must be had recourse to, gracefully and peacefully to represent on the precious metals. On wood, canvas. Stone. Paper, or other material, what was more rudely and terribly displayed in the times of the past. Armorial Bearings may be, and frequently are, rendered with a view to general effect.

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