Excerpts from the book





          Written and illustrated by

          Carl Alexander von Volborth , K.St.J., A.I.H.


          Copenhagen 1973


          Internet version edited by   Andrew Andersen, Ph.D.








(pp. 49-51)



In some instances a coat of arms may be held up or carried by supporters. In most cases there are two (identical or different), but from time to time only one, and in exceptional cases more than two, are used. Most supporters are animals or fabulous creatures, but human beings or creatures in human form are also used quite frequently. Supporters began to appear regularly in the fifteenth century. They may have developed from the figures which seal engravers placed between the shield in the middle of the seal and the text around the edge. Another origin may be found in the cavalcade or presentations that took place before a tournament, when the armorial shields of the participants were carried round by their pages.



49 - Copy

270. Arms of the Hanseatic town of Bremen.



269. An angel supporter




In some countries everybody is entitled to use supporters and these need not always be the same ones.

The question of whether one's shield should be supported by a mermaid, two elephants or something else is decided on purely decorative grounds. In other countries there are rules as to who is entitled to them — the high nobility, towns of a certain size, members of certain orders — and once sup¬porters have been decided on, others cannot be used: their use is not obligatory though, for an escutcheon can always be depicted without supporters. Some supporters stand on a natural base or 'compartment', others on a plinth, an ornament or a motto-scroll.





271. Armorial bearings of Isabella of Castile (castle and lion) and Ferdinand of Aragon (pallets and eagles). At the base is the pomegranate ot Granada. The shield is supported by a crowned eagle. The yoke and the sheaf of arrows beneath are Spanish royal emblems.





272. Arms of the Earl of Snowdon. The shield is supported by a griffin and an eagle.













273. Arms of the Anglo-Belgian painter and lithographer James Ensor (1860— 1949) who was created a Baron by the King of the Belgians in 1930. The supporters are two mermaids, each with the clef of G in her hand. The mermaids, like the sea in the top half of the shield, may be symbolic of Ostend, Ensor's birth place, and the beach where he played in his childhood



50-51 - Copy (2)


50-51 - Copy


274. Arms of the Russian aristocratic family of Mendeleyev, of which Dimitri Mendeleyev (1834-1907), the well- known chemist, was a member. The supporters are two lions rampant reguardant.