The Art of the Heraldry by Arthur Charles Fox-Davies

Coats of arms were first used in feudal times by knights and lords as a way to identify allied and enemy soldiers during battle.  As time progressed the use of coats of arms expanded and they began to be adopted by merchants, shops, priests, towns and even run-of-the-mill families to seal and authenticate documents. Naturally, the publishing industry has also used coats of arms when decorating covers of books about the nobility and long-standing organizations.

Unlike seals or other general emblems, coats of arms are designed using a very specific set of rules more commonly known as heraldry.  In the British heraldic traditions, a coat of arms is associated with an individual and no two people could have the exact same coat of arms. 

Over the years, decedents and family relations were required to distinguish their arms from the ancestral arms by some difference, usually a change of color change or addition of some extra emblem or icon.  These rules mean heraldry can be used as a method of genealogical research.

Today, coats of arms are still widely used by nations, cities and regions as well as by various institutions such as clubs, universities and businesses.  Enjoy this journey through the coats of arms found on and in books.

Coats of Arms on Books

Une Saison A Aix-Les-Bains by Louis Amédée Achard

Une Saison A Aix-Les-Bains
Louis Amédée Achard

A detailed description of the resort Aix-les-Bains in the Rhône-Alpes region of France.

An Illustrated History of the Missouri Engineer & the 25th Infantry Regiments by Dr. W.A. Neal

An Illustrated History of the Missouri Engineer & the 25th Infantry Regiments
Dr. W.A. Neal

A military history, with a gilded coat of arms on the cover, from 1889.

Heraldry in War: Formation Badges 1939-1945 by Howard Cole

Heraldry in War: Formation Badges 1939-1945
Howard Cole

An illustrated guide to badges of the British military in World War II.

 

A Manual of Heraldry, Historical and Popular by Charles Boutell

A Manual of Heraldry, Historical and Popular
Charles Boutell

A manual that describe the rules of heraldry

Heraldic Marylandiana by Harry Wright Newman

Heraldic Marylandiana
Harry Wright Newman

A compilation of Maryland families that used coats of arms in colonial and early post-revolutionary periods.

Flowers and Heraldry by Robert Tyas

Flowers and Heraldry
Robert Tyas

Various examples of arms involving the use of flowers

Hot Irons; Heraldry of the Range by Oren Arnold

Hot Irons; Heraldry of the Range
Oren Arnold

A description of how cattle branding uses various elements of heraldry.

Nisbet’s Heraldry by Alexander Nesbet

Nisbet’s Heraldry
Alexander Nesbet

Containing the true art of blazon, includes achievements of the most renowned surnames and families in Scotland

A Catechism of Heraldry

A Catechism of Heraldry

Another manual explaining the the use of arms, heraldic terms, blazoning and coats of armour.

European Civic Coats of Arms by Jiri Louda

European Civic Coats of Arms
Jiri Louda

An insight into civic heraldry around Europe, including color illustrations.

Heraldry of Fish by Thomas Moule

Heraldry of Fish
Thomas Moule

A book revealing how many famous families have put fish into their coats of arms.

Symbols of Our Celto-Saxon Heritage by W.H. Bennett

Symbols of Our Celto-Saxon Heritage
W.H. Bennett

This book is devoted to the study of heraldic emblems of the nations and tribes of Israel

The Grammar of Heraldry by Samuel Kent

The Grammar of Heraldry
Samuel Kent

This book includes more rules and a large collection of arms.

A Treatise on Heraldry British and Foreign by John Woodward

A Treatise on Heraldry British and Foreign
John Woodward

Includes both English and French glossaries

Suffolcia Vernacule Suffolke by Joan Blaeu

Suffolcia Vernacule Suffolke
Joan Blaeu

A map of the English county of Suffolk with 10 coats of arms along top edge.

 

The Heraldry of the Knights of St. John by G.R. Gayre

The Heraldry of the Knights of St. John
G.R. Gayre

A comprehensive history of the order and its arms with illustrated examples

America Heraldica by E. De V Vermont

America Heraldica
E. De V Vermont

A compilation of coats of arms, crests and mottos from prominent American families prior to 1800.

Coats of Arms of the States of the U.S. by A.J. Johnson

Coats of Arms of the States of the U.S.
A.J. Johnson

A map from Johnson's New Illustrated Family Atlas of the World printed in 1870.

La Maison Royale des Deux Siciles by Marqués de Villarreal De Alava

La Maison Royale des Deux Siciles
Marqués de Villarreal De Alava

A book about the royal house of Sicily.

Ciencia Heroyca reducida a las Leyes Heráldicas del Blasón by Marqués de Avilés

Ciencia Heroyca reducida a las Leyes Heráldicas del Blasón
Marqués de Avilés

The science and laws of heraldry with examples of many coats of arms.

Encyclopedia Heraldica by William Berry

Encyclopedia Heraldica
William Berry

A complete dictionary of heraldic terms.

Il Blasone in Sicilia by Vincenzo Palizzolo Gravina

Il Blasone in Sicilia
Vincenzo Palizzolo Gravina

The coats of arms found in Sicily.

Leitfaden der Heraldik by Alfred von Keller

Leitfaden der Heraldik
Alfred von Keller

A German guide to heraldry.

A Display of Heraldry by John Guillim & John Logan

A Display of Heraldry
John Guillim & John Logan

Many examples of heraldry with examples of woodcuts on almost every page.

The well-known Emblem book by Schoonhovius in a beautiful Italian armorial binding by Florentius Schoonhovius

The well-known Emblem book by Schoonhovius in a beautiful Italian armorial binding
Florentius Schoonhovius

Fine emblem-book, the emblems designed and engraved by Crispijn de Passe.

Books About Heraldry

Boutell’s Heraldry by Rev. Charles Boutell

Boutell’s Heraldry
Rev. Charles Boutell

One of the most popular general texts on the subject, first published in 1863.

The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales by Sir Bernard Burke

The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales
Sir Bernard Burke

A registry of armorial designs from the earliest period to modern times.

The Heraldic Imagination by Rodney Dennys

The Heraldic Imagination
Rodney Dennys

This history of contains an abundance of previously unpublished photographs and line drawings

The Art of the Heraldry by Arthur Charles Fox-Davies

The Art of the Heraldry
Arthur Charles Fox-Davies

Fox-Davies’ writing illustrates heraldry’s involvement in art, history and also law.

Heraldry: Sources, Symbols and Meaning by Ottfried Neubecker

Heraldry: Sources, Symbols and Meaning
Ottfried Neubecker

An extensive and thorough display of heraldic devices and historical illustrations

More to Discover



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