The Call to Arms - Baz Manning


English armorial bearings were granted to John Basil Edward Manning on the 28th December, 2000: Or semy of Millrinds Azure a Chief dancetty of two full points upwards Purpure pierced twice of the field billetwise through ... upon ... a Wreath Or Azure and Purpure Upon a Mount growing therefrom Giant Red Paintbrushes (Castilleja miniata) slipped and leaved proper an Heraldic Antelope statant erect per fess dancetty Gules and Purpure armed tufted unguled and winged Or holding with the sinister forehoof and by a guige Tenny in the dexter forehoof an Escutcheon Argent. Mantled Azure and Purpure doubled Or and Argent.


I had wanted my arms to symbolise my career in heraldry, be modem in appearance, yet have mediaeval simplicity: to combine elements of fine art, graphic art and good design. I  played around with numerous ideas for many years and had eventually settled on a shield similar to this one except that it had "on a Chief dancetty Purpure three Escutcheons  Argent". The field was the arms of Lincoln's Inn (Azure semy of Millrinds Or on a Canton gold a Lion rampant Purpure), with the tinctures reversed. This enabled me to use a  chief of Lincoln's Inn's third tincture as a background for the three white shields. Lincoln's Inn had been my first and most loyal major client. Without their patronage I would  have struggled to achieve anything.


Three white shields (i.e. blank, awaiting painting) are the symbols of the heraldic artist and were doubly appropriate as I am also a shield maker. John Ferguson painted me a wonderful depiction of this idea even before I approached the College of Arms. At the last moment, just as I applied for the grant, I had the brainwave of removing the escutcheons and replacing them with pallets of the field. This would not only be a pun for an artist but would visually create a portion of a raised portcullis, thereby alluding to my work for Windsor Castle and the House of Lords. It would also create a new charge.


I asked the Kings of Arms for a single escutcheon argent on the field but, not surprisingly, this was refused. Sadly they also rejected my pallet pun and replaced my simple blazon of, "Or semy of Millrinds on a Chief dancetty Purpure two Pallets of the field", with the one above. The final allusion on the shield is a family one. My five times Great Grandfather on my mother's side was Sir Nicholas Lawless, Baron Cloncurry. He used Argent on a Chief indented Sable three Garbs Or which is still used by the Lawlesses to this day. I retained the chief and enlarged it to dancetty. In retrospect I should have asked for three pallets of the field to keep the three charges, but it is easy to be wise in retrospect, and every design must stop somewhere.


The crest includes one of only two beasts with "heraldic" in their names, the other of course being the heraldic tiger, this being the only literal reference to heraldry in the blazon. The indents on my Grandfather's chief are once again represented by a dancetty division on the antelope, per fess indented being too small to be practical. Indeed, I had to fight my comer with well drawn sketches to prove to Clarenceux that even this would work. He is winged to show my lifelong interest in aviation and love of flying, and the white escutcheon has found its way from the shield to a place in his arms.


The most interesting part of the crest heraldically are the flowers. The giant red paintbrush is a North American wildflower new to English heraldry. As far as I am aware it has only been used once anywhere in the world, when it was granted to an institution by the Canadian Authority. The Canadian heralds were so thrilled (and rightly so) to host the International Congress in 1996 along with the first ever artists' workshop, that they wanted it commemorated in various ways. Knowing that I was in the design stage prior to applying for arms, Robert Watt asked me to incorporate a Canadian symbol. He suggested a division line of per maple leaf, as none had then been granted by the College of Arms. I tried to use this but soon discovered it is fiendishly difficult to draw, and did not want to impose this on other artists. I have had numerous complaints already about the millrinds as no-one but me seems to enjoy repetitive geometrical shapes, so I think I made the right decision.


So apart from the clear pun of a paintbrush flower for an artist these splashes of colour on the crest are a suble reminder of the artists' workshop in Ottawa. The purple and gold of the antelope come from the shield but I asked for a red torso as a blue one made the overall effect of the arms surprisingly dull. It needed a strong splash of red to bring it to life. Why not rampant? If ever carved completely in the round, the crest would have a weakness so the antelope could snap off at the leg. I also want my descendants to keep both feet firmly on the ground!


And the motto? Sine Qua Non is a well known saying which means the basis of everything, something without which nothing else can exist. After all, how can an artist be working all day in heraldry without eventually having his own coat of arms? It was also the only saying I could find to incorporate a pun on signwriting, if only a visual one. 


Finally, the patent itself. I used Robert Noel, Lancaster Herald as my agent, as he had been such a long-standing member of our Society. He persuaded Garter to allow the incorporation of "Member of the Society of Heraldic Arts" on line 5, to my amazement and delight. I decided not to push my luck and ask for "Craft Member", but remember this if you apply for a new patent at any time. Andrew Jamieson produced the entire document, even providing the vellum so he could choose a perfect piece. I had hoped to incorporate far more tools in the border, but the Kings would not allow it so Andy and I settled on native English trees and shrubs with the arms and badge of the Officers of Arms involved in the grant. Andy's autumnal maple leaf was a further subtle reference to Canada, while his delightful green man shows future generations that their family was, at least at this time, firmly rooted in English traditions. §


The ultimate in approval sketches by John Ferguson. A highly finished painting of Baz Manning's initial idea for his own arms which, like most approval sketches, underwent many changes before it was granted.
The motto, favoured still by Baz 's son Alex, is, "Ever Onward". John's full colour original is 15 x 19 inches (380 x 480 ml).

Baz Manning

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