Learning with regret of the death of Nelson Mandela, former President of the Republic of South Africa on 5 December, special instructions have been received requesting that all Union Flags on buildings of her Majesty's Government be flown at half-mast from 8 a.m. this morning until 8 p.m. this evening, 6 December 2013.

Any other UK national flags flown alongside the Union Flag when it is at half-mast should also be at half-mast. If a flag of a foreign nation is normally flown on the same stand as the Union Flag, it should be removed.

Local authorities are not bound by this request but may wish to follow it for guidance. Devolved administrations are responsible for issuing instructions for the flying of the Union Flag on buildings in their estate and others as necessary.

From the Archives

07 October 2013

Over the years the College has received many donations of manuscripts, photographs and some artefacts from retiring College employees, Officers of Arms, or their families. These will not go on to form part of the College's official records, but are nonetheless worthy of preservation in its archives. Modern computer systems make listing and sorting these items much more straightforward, and this work is currently being undertaken as part of a larger project to address some of the issues around storing an expanding archive in a finite space. Some of the items rediscovered in the course of this work are particularly valuable for those interested in the history of the College in the early twentieth century. For more information about the archives of the College of Arms see here.


Artist's work book

Artists work bookThis page of an artist's sketch book dates to 1931 and is an excellent example of the stages through which a design progressed - the initial sketch, another with annotations giving further details to be executed, and the finished item sent to the commissioning Officer for approval. The colours in which the Indian pheasant are depicted are particularly beautiful.


Artist's account ledger

Artists accounts ledger

These accounts ledgers show the work of the College from the point of view of the artists who were commissioned to realise the designs devised by Officers of Arms for their clients. This page, from 1922, is headed with the name of the Officer commissioning the work (A G B Russell, who was created Lancaster Herald in the same year) and shows the amount charged for different types of work, and the names of clients for whom the work was intended. On this page these include HRH The Prince of Wales, the Inner Temple, the Borough of Southport, the Duchess of Albany, and Westmoreland County Council.


Silver cigarette case belonging to Keith W Murray, Caernarvon Pursuivant of Arms (1860-1922).

Cigarette caseThis silver cigarette case was presented to Keith Murray, Caernarvon Pursuivant, by Sir Alfred Scott-Gatty, Garter King of Arms, in 1910. Rather than having their names inscribed on the case, Scott-Gatty chose to use Murray's crest and motto and Garter's achievement of arms instead.

CambridgeMaritalRevReleased today are the conjugal Arms of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which were approved in February this year by Her Majesty The Queen. Conjugal Arms are those that show the separate shields of a husband and wife, side by side. In this case, the two Shields are the Duke's on the left and the Duchess's on the right with both supported by the Duke of Cambridge's Supporters of the Royal Lion and Unicorn, which is made to look different from The Queen's by adding his white label of three points around their necks with the central point charged with a red escallop shell taken from the Duke of Cambridge's mother's Arms of Spencer.

For the full heraldic story, stretching back to the announcement of the engagement between Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton, see here.

A grant of Arms, Crest and Badge (illustrated left) was made to Heston Marc Blumenthal of Bray in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, OBE, by Letters Patent of Garter and Clarenceux Kings of Arms dated 18 June 2013. College reference: Grants 177/132. The blazon is:

Arms: Sable issuant in pall three dexter cubit Arms vested Or each charged with a Rose Gules and cuffed Argent the hands appaumy proper between in chief an Apple slipped and leaved and in base two Lyres Or.

Crest: A Duck wings elevated and addorsed Or holding in the dexter foot a Magnifying-glass proper the frame and handle Gules and in the beak three Stems of Lavender flowered proper tied Gules.

Badge: A Duck's Leg erased à la quise Or.Blumenthal005

The design of the Arms and Crest represents the five senses, which the distinguished chef and food scientist Heston Blumenthal considers should all contribute to the enjoyment of food. The hands stand for touch, the apple for taste, the lyre for hearing, the lavender for smell, and the magnifying glass for sight and scientific examination. The duck in the Crest and the duck's foot in the Badge allude to Heston Blumenthal's restaurant The Fat Duck and the three roses recall its three Michelin stars.

John Petrie, Rouge Croix PursuivantBy Letters Patent dated 26 July 2013, Her Majesty the Queen has been pleased to appoint John Michael Allen-Petrie to the office of Rouge Croix Pursuivant of Arms, vacant since the promotion of David Vines White to the office of Somerset Herald in 2004.

John Petrie (right) was born in Canada in 1980 and educated at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris, where he received a master's degree in sciences politiques, and at the London School of Economics, where he received the degree of M.Sc. Before coming to the College of Arms and successfully completing a probationary period in the practice of William Hunt, Windsor Herald of Arms, he worked at the Bank of England in the division regulating the circulation and issuance of bank notes in the United Kingdom.

By decision of the College of Arms all proceeds arising from the sale of The Armorial of Haiti will be donated to the international effort for the relief of Haiti
after the calamitous earthquake of 12 January 2010.

The College of Arms Newsletter is produced every three months and sent automatically and free to those who subscribe. Other benefits for those who submit their names in this way include advance notice of College of Arms events, relevant publications, and media appearances.

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