On the 22nd February of this year, a noteworthy event in the history of the Society took place at a lunch at the RAF Club in London’s Piccadilly where we as a society became officially armigerous! It was through the beneficence and munificence of Ralph Brocklebank, Hon FSHA such a goal was reached and through the good offices of Robert Noel, Lancaster Herald, the agent in the matter of our grant, we now have at long last a proper heraldic identity which as society of heraldic artists and enthusiasts is our due! As chairman on behalf of all members, both Craft and Associate, I now wish to extend our most humble and profound thanks to both Ralph for his generosity and to Robert for his diligence in the matter of our grant of arms, crest and badge and for Gillian Barlow’s wonderful artwork. We are grateful to all of them fo joining us on the day and for Robert being able to present the Letters Patent to the Society in person.
John J. Tunesi of Liongam

Stephen Friar, M.Phil, FHS, FSHA

Little did I know, when friends met at my Dorset home to discuss the formation of a guild of heraldic artists, that we would meet together in London nearly thirty years later to receive letters patent granting armorial bearings to the Society of Heraldic Arts.

The history of the design is a fairly brief one. The founding of the Society I have dated to October 1987. My original suggestion for what was essentially a logo was simply An Escutcheon Argent en soleil but when the first Newsletter was published in April of the following year this had acquired lines extending from the sunburst to form the outline of a shield (see The Heraldic Craftsman No. 81, December 2012 p.3). This was John Ferguson’s original interpretation to which, in due course, were added further versions by Anthony Wood and Kevin Arkinstall among others. And it is essentially that which is depicted in the Society’s new shield of arms: Azure an Inescutcheon Argent enflamed of sixteen points and irradiated throughout of sixty-four lines all Or. The original blazon which was submitted for Garter’s approval in July of last year included sixty-four points Or but he observed that ‘I would prefer to say ‘lines’ or ‘beams’ – they don’t really have ‘points’ (and ‘rays’ would imply something more substantial).’

Of course, before the Society received Ralph Brocklebank’s extraordinarily generous offer to underwrite a grant of arms, the Society had not considered the matter of a crest. Ralph’s proposed crest, which in most essentials has been accepted by Garter, attempts to recognise the wide range of crafts that may be applied to heraldry: On a helm with a Wreath Argent and Azure a Semi-Circle of Artists’ Implements from the dexter a Stonemason’s Mallet and Chisel a Glasscutter a Calligrapher’s pen seven Paint Brushes on the bristles Purple Black Blue Red Yellow White and Green paint a Draughtsman’s Pen an Embroiderer’s Bodkin threaded with red wool and a Woodcarver’s Gouge and Mallet all proper Mantled Azure doubled Argent. This is a good example of where the practice of omitting punctuation from legal documents, intended to avoid ambiguity, may actually cause confusion. Again, there were a number of changes made to the original blazon: Semi Circle of Artists Implements was substituted for Panache (in my view, correctly so: a panache is by definition composed of feathers) and the paint brushes were said to have paint on the bristles rather than charged with... The motto SYMBOLS HONOUR ARMIGERS is self-explanatory and singularly apt. Letters Patent confirming the arms and badge were conveyed to the Society by Lancaster Herald on behalf of Garter King of Arms in April 2017.

When visiting the Society's website members will observe that the coat of arms now features prominently on all pages and the colours have been changed throughout from red to blue to reflect the Society’s new livery colours. The representation of the arms in the website has been painted by David Hopkins, an eminent Fellow of the Society to whom we are most grateful.

Finally, one cannot conclude without recording the Society’s immeasurable gratitude to Ralph Brocklebank for his generosity. The Society has grown significantly in both numbers and stature over the past thirty years and this has been recognised by the granting of armorial bearings which we may display with pride. 

Letters Patent of the Arms of the Society of Heraldic Arts

The Society of Heraldic Arts



Tuesday 9 May 2017

11.30am at The Society of Authors

4 Drayton Gardens, Kensington, London SW10 9SD. 

Telephone: 020 7373 6642

  1. To receive any apologies for absence (to the Hon Secretary)
  2. To approve the Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 10th May 2016
  3. To consider any matters arising from the Minutes other than those included in the Agenda
  4. To receive and approve the Chairman’s report
  5. To consider a recruitment strategy
  6. To receive and approve the annual accounts and financial report for the year ending 31 March preceding the date of the AGM
  7. To receive and approve:
    1. the Hon. Secretary’s report
    2. the Hon. Membership Secretary’s report
    3. the Hon. Editor’s report
    4. the Anthony and Margaret Wood Bursary Scheme report
    5. the Appointments Board report
  8. Election of Officers:
    1. Chairman
    2. Hon. Secretary
    3. Hon. Treasurer
    4. Hon. Membership Secretary
    5. Hon. Editor of The Heraldic Craftsman
    6. Hon. Webmaster
  9. To consideration of any motions (tabled by 1 May 2017 to the Hon Secretary)
  10. Any other business (with written notice by 1 May 2017 to the Hon Secretary)
  11. To agree a provisional date for the next Annual General Meeting.


The Society of Heraldic Arts

Report from the Chairman/Hon Sec

I have found during my tenure as Chairman and Honorary Secretary of the Society that I often find myself on occasion juggling too many balls in the air being not only the Hon Secretary (and Chairman) of this Society as well holding the office of Hon Secretary of The Heraldry Society, but perversely I enjoy the challenge.  Presently, we have gained much as a society, although we must beware and not risk becoming too complaisant, but I am glad to be able to say that your Society is increasingly pulling its weight in the world of heraldry.

We are growing in all categories.  The numbers are still not large, but I think we can claim to have some of the most eminent craftspeople from all over the world in our number. In addition, our Associate membership, too, both lay and now, with young craftsmen, are making significant contributions to the craft in many different ways as well.  Presently our membership numbers are holding their own.  It is good to learn that more arrive than leave!

Many are the people whom I ought to thank; name one and you must name all, but at the risk of your ire, let me single out our founder, Stephen Friar, FSHA who is giving us a web site of which we can be proud; a web site where prospective clients can see what we have to offer and they are, we know, enquiring and commissioning work from the SHAs and ASHA featured there.  We are grateful to him indeed.  And our gratitude extends in more than ample measure to Ralph Brocklebank, Hon FSHA, for his continued generosity in so many ways, not least making it possible for us to petition for our own grant of arms, crest and badge which we received from the hands of Robert Noel, Lancaster Herald of Arms at a Presentation Lunch at the Royal Air Force Club in London’s Piccadilly in February.  As Stephen Friar said in a recent article in The Heraldic Craftsman, we really have come of age.

Another important point.  Whether you practice the art of heraldry or enjoy looking at it from a castle in Denmark or a flat in Macedonia or even view the subject from a small remote and windswept island in the Hebrides, what we do is a pretty solitary activity.  So, if the SHA acts as a truly international network for contemporary artists to see what their fellows are doing and for the inspiration we derive from those craftspeople of the past, then we are all in a mutually supportive league, a real society despite hardly ever meeting each other.

We do, however, have some problems.  First is the absence of a recruitment strategy which all members will be able to participate in no matter where they live. I hope we will explore this at the AGM.

Second is our patent inability to get members, mostly UK based, to take on some of the less than onerous tasks.

Thirdly we wonder if it is our role to advance the cause of heraldry in those circles which would depose of it, be it academic institutions or a parliament.  But if we do not, who will?  To us, heraldry is an integral part of our visual world, art in many different media according to age old principles, which unlike most logos evokes emotion and brings the past into today and the future.  In the UK when there were other bodies and societies which should have led the charge against a know-nothing committee of the House of Lords over the parchment issue, it was the SHA which was the acknowledged voice of protest.  Is the heraldic education of architects, design companies and those responsible for the reputation of their organisations and, indeed their families, a responsibility which we should take on? Our web site and quarterly journal would be excellent purveyors of the message but what student would know to look us up on line and we have not the funds to even send free copies of The Heraldic Craftsman out.

Having written all this, I still find the Society a delight to be associated with and my fellow officers make it doubly so. My thanks to them and to all members.  I commend this report to you.


John J. Tunesi of Liongam

Chairman (and Honorary Secretary)

The Society of Heraldic Arts

10th April 2017

The Society of Heraldic Arts

Report of the Hon Editor 2016-2017

The Heraldic Craftsman continues to circulate in its quarterly orbit and whilst it requires some effort, many more are the joys. Take the 18” stained glass roundel from Shaftesbury Abbey which graces the cover of issue 91, April 2016. Who did it, we wondered and that led to the re-discovery of C Rupert Moore and his family and associates, backed with the extraordinary knowledge of Baz Manning, FSHA. The article on Moore elicited more spontaneous comment than any other during the year, which may have more to do with model aeroplanes than heraldry. Heigh ho.

We have not only had to increase our production run during the year to accommodate an increase in membership, but this April we produced the first 28pp edition featuring another masterly article on little-known artists or those who have brought out art to its high standard today. Doctors David Phillips, Anthony Hilton, V. Irene Cockroft and Jan Gore have enriched our mental world as have all our other authors, craft and associate, who have contributed to what we are told is an interesting read. ‘I used to flick through it over breakfast, now I can’t.’ was a particularly pleasing back-handed compliment.

As members will know, we have experienced some issues over collecting subscriptions this year past and without two substantial anonymous donations at least two issues would not have appeared. Under the leadership of John and Jane Tunesi of Liongam working with David Krause, FSHA, we are now convinced that by the 2017 AGM members everywhere will be aware of their responsibility to support us with lucre filthy or clean and your executive will be assiduous in chasing up those who do not remit promptly by 31 May.

One other issue worth mentioning is the policy, made up on the hoof, of putting past issues online. Some do not like this: ‘You are giving our capital away’ is one comment, yet, my counter point is that to do our part in strengthening our offering as a Society, we need to display more of our interesting world. To that end, we are now making every issue available a year after it was initially published and thanks to Dr Andrew Gray for his help on this. So, that means that as issue 95, April 2017 is published, issue 91, April 2016 will join its fellows online and so on, issue by issue.

The AGM will be asked to note that unless good sense breaks out and I am asked to relinquish my green eye shade early, my last issue will be in four years’ time and it is not too early to begin looking for my successor!

William Beaver

14 April 2017

A 5 page website to include:

  • Home
  • About
  • Gallery
  • News/Blog
  • Contact

This would include 12 months domain, hosting and email.

Includes professional graphic header and home page slides.

£450 ($700 USD). 

Ocean Website Design
Tel: 020 8144 5603

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