Heraldry is the use of designs and symbols combined according to long established rules (the "laws" of heraldry) as a form of Visual Identification of individuals, groups, clans, corporations and countries. Under the laws of heraldry, a particular design may be Inherited, or Varied for different individuals within a particular family, so that each individual is readily identified and not confused with another.
Thus a heraldic design (or coat of arms) has the same unique function as an identity or social security number. Unlike such numbers, a coat or shield should be visually pleasing and may be invested with meaning or symbolism to the owner.
Australia's Own Heraldic Artist
Heraldic Art, is a form that fascinates many people, but for some it is a lifelong passion. One such individual is Michael Spencer. Michael has studied the subject for nearly forty years. His work has reached such high standards that incoming orders keep him constantly busy. Michael studied heraldry at the City Literary Institute in London. The late Julian Franklyn, the celebrated author of the acclaimed books "Shield and Crest" and "Heraldry", gave the two year course at the City Literary Institute. Michael at that time, became an active member of "The Heraldry Society of Great Britain".
Later he studied heraldic art and design, under Norman Mainwaring, an eminent heraldic artist, who worked for "The College of Arms" in London. Over the years, Michael has developed a keen interest in Scottish heraldry, and has told me that more than 70% of his work comes from Scots, or Australians of Scottish ancestry.
In recent times, Michael has been involved in assisting and advising on all matters heraldic, for local Scottish Associations and Clan Gatherings.
Michael is currently designing Award Medals for The Celtic Council of Australia and in conjunction with his artwork, is giving illustrated seminars on heraldry, to a wide range of community groups.
Michael is currently President of the Plantaganent Society of Australia, which is an organization, devoted to the study of the Plantaganent Kings of England and their life and times. He has just been appointed a Knight of the Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitallers. Michael's work is also illustrated in the header on our Newsletter.
A sample of Michael's work can be seen below:
Arms of Alexander Leslie and his wife, Jane Seton, daughter of William Seton 6th Bart of Pitmeddan, first drawn in 1805, on their marriage.