Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Heraldry In History, Poetry And Romance

Ellen J. Millington - Heraldry In History, Poetry And Romance (1858)

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Heraldry occupies an odd position now where most of us know it means something but aren't quite sure what.  There are still guidebooks around though they seem (and here I'm wildly extrapolating from one picked up in a bargain bin a few years ago) to be heavy on the design elements and light on the history.  This isn't one of those books.  It's well illustrated but extensively covers various uses of heraldry throughout history and literature - in fact maybe more thoroughly than most people would want.  I have a pretty high tolerance for this sort of thing (what a contemporary review in The Gentlemen's Magazine called "antiquarian gossip") but describing the quarterings of Elizabeth I's shield in great detail may be more than I need.  Still, that's why skimming was invented.

I can't find much about the author.  She translated something by Schlegel, also a French work on Christian iconography and contributed a piece on poet Vittoria Colonna to Biographies of Good Women.