Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Ultimate Monogram

I love crests or should appropriately be called coat-of-arms. Coat-of-arms is a heraldic design with smaller motifs on the shield that are unique to a person or family for achievements. I like to think of coat-of-arms as the ultimate monogram since they’re unique to the bearer of the arms. Only men received coat-of-arms since typically women didn’t go to war or participate in governing bodies.  Lately though they’ve been popping up all over in design and been turned into a focal point as this amazing coat-of-arms above.

The Pucci family coat-of-arms has been proudly displayed in Laudomia Pucci's living room on her estate just outside of Florence, Italy.

Tara Shaw

Tara Shaw used some unique coat-of-arms, the one above the fireplace and on the base of the coffee table. I just love this room!

Kathy Rousset

Kathy Rousset Antiques used a coat-of-arms for the back of this newly recovered chair. (I have the other mate to this coat-of-arms for sale if anyone is interested.)

This picture was taken in Kathy Rousset’s living room where she proudly displays two chairs covered in tapestry that display coat-of-arms.

I love banners that display coat-of-arms and this one is amazing and lucky you is still for sale on 1st Dibs.  

This unique coat-of-arms belongs to Greet over at Belgian Pearls . I love it so much it has become a design idea for me in my studio.

My image

This coat-of-arms is very unique given the fact it’s so big at four feet by three feet wide. It dates to the 16th century and represents the marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain in 1469. The design on the shield represents the joining of two lands. If you look up in the upper left hand corner you’ll notice a smaller coat-of-arms that is more typical size for a pillow. Lucky me I have two arms this size each with different shields. I have enough 18th century silk I think both coat-of-arms are going to be stitched down to look like Greets banner with thick cording along the sides. I know the silk is torn but trust me everything can be fixed!

My image

While not a coat-of-arms it’s still a great example of very early monogram, it's getting made up into a pillow.

My image

My image

A tapestry piece with coat-of-arms depicting crabs and symbolizes great strength and power in gripping and holding. You think that was tough to figure out for me? I haven’t decided what I’ll do with this piece but you can be sure it’s going to be for an interior.

My family was made up of peasants so I’m not holding my breath that we had a coat of arms-of-arms. Anyone out there who knows what his or her family coat-of-arms might be? I’d love to hear!

Our warm spring weather has passed and we’re back down in the 20’s-40’s range but there’s great promise for warmth soon. I hope you all have a wonderful spring week!



La Brocanteuse said...

WONDERFULL post , one of those I will keep on coming back to. Thank you for sharing these gorgeous inspiring settings...of course you had me at the header already..Monogrammes! Colette xx

debra @ 5th and state said...

if i were polled and someone asked me what my fav shape is, it's hands down the shield, but no one has asked......
adore this post and the blue pillow with the shield.
clever you.....the original monogram, of course.

ps; our family name is denny and they have a coat of arms, the closest i get to it is i have a coat with arms!

Splendid Sass said...

Mention needlework to me and I am swooning. I love these pieces, Debra. Such beauty in a hand sewn piece of fabric.
Thank you for sharing. I am bookmarking this one.
Have a great week.

Karena said...

Debra I am in awe of the unique fabrics, the coat of arms are all so unusual and the monograms gorgeous as well! I am going to look up to see if we have a family coat of arms.

Art by Karena
The 2012 Artist Series

Sharon Lee Johnson said...

These images are so beautiful. My Dad's family has a coat of arms and he has a beautiful pair of bookends with the crest on. I am the youngest of 5 siblings though so I doubt they will be coming my way! There's no reason why we couldn't all create our own coat of arms signifying things that we identify with. Yours would have to include some beautiful tapestry. x Sharon

Greet Lefèvre said...

Love this post!!! The coat of arms on textile is just beautiful! I do have a family coat of arms. The aquarelle is hanging in my entry hall. But what a gorgeous idea to have it this way, on a wonderful piece of velours!!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous. I love the first one over the fireplace! Hope you had a lovely weekend, Deb! xo

Gina said...

Dear Debra, This is a lovely and most interesting post. All stunning fabrics, especially those on the chairs.
I came from a humble background but that didn't stop me from designing and painting my own crests, embellished with gold, onto my dinner plates.
Can be seen "Ware for the Noble Table, December 28, 2009, or at side bar under "Crests"

Thoughts on Design said...

The Kelsey family coat of arms resides at my Mom's house in upstate new York. I'd forgotten about it until reading your post. Next time I visit, I'll have to look at it more closely. You've got me wondering what it represents.


A room with a view said...

Fabulous post, Debra! It is always wonderful to look at things with a history - I am a huge fan of that. It would pain me to cut up any such fabric, though, but this is part of your expertise and I am sure you will enjoy a pillow or pillows as much in a space you probably spend a lot of time in.

Barbara@HausDesign said...

What a fun post Debra! My husband's family has a coat of arms that I hope to have on display in our new home. That first room is one of my all time favorites!

Taylor Greenwalt said...

Great post Debra! I have always been attracted to this style. Love them hanging above a fireplace, but I am in love with the pillows you made.

Nella Miller said...

Family Coat of Arms have always fascinated me, and like Collette so have monogrammes....just purchased some lovely ones from Sharon of French Country Home.I like you Debra probably would not have a genuine family crest because my ancestors in Europe were not titled,however I would readily ADOPT one! Great post! B.xo

Leslie said...

Incredible design! What an interesting way to make a statement in a room. Great post!

The enchanted home said...

Hi Debra..what a GORGEOUS post!!!!! I have always had a "thing" for crests, monograms and coat of arms. Just stunning and your pieces are exquisite!! That chair is to die for in the Kathy Rousset picture, your things are sooooo beautiful! What fun it must be to get to deal with such special pieces. Interestingly enough my fathers fathers family has a coat of arms and we have a whole book on the family lineage which is quite fascinating.....would love to do something with that crest one day!! Wonderful post....enjoy your day.

Paula said...

Beautiful and so majestic! I especially love how such a heraldic and formal statement can be adapted into such beautiful and contemporary homes without looking at all stuffy. Lovely post - thanks for sharing!

The French Tangerine said...

What a beautiful post! I can't say whether my family has a crest.. I'm doubting it. We ordered the family crest from the shop in Disney World, which is surprisingly quite authentic and special looking.. But I think they use generic ones using your family name. A fun keepsake nonetheless!
Such pretty images you have here..

Heather Robinson said...

This is such an incredible post! Bravo Debra for bringing us all into your world with such a benefit of knowledge--merci! I think that there must be a Robinson crest somewhere.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


I too love that huge coat of arms that Sarah Richardson has over her fireplace, that is an amazing piece!

I am speechless at these spectacular pieces that you have collected. I would love to know more about your work, how do you find your pieces? Do you travel the world, scour the auction houses? How did you come to be a antique textile expert? I am simply fascinated. If I am too nosy that tell me!

I love Pompeii and could go on for days, it is an amazing place! I would love to know what was the name of the documentary which you watched?

I hope you have a fabulous week!


Stacy CUrran said...

I remember a friend in college had a really old family crest was SO cool. I love them!

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Wouldn't it be great if eveyone had a coat-of-arms in their house!

I think the aqua pillow with the crest is the most amazing pillow I have EVER seen. Please leave it to me in your will!!!

Pura Vida said...

Some really beautiful fabrics

I Dream Of said...

How fascinating. Love these pieces, they make me imagine the history of the families and people behind these coats of arms. I know the McKay clan has a tartan, but not sure if there's a coat of arms out there for us.

Luciane at said...

Hi Debra,

What a fantastic post! So informative and fun!

By the way, thank you for always being so sweet and supportive. I'm sorry I can't reply to every comment, but know that I'm so grateful for your friendship.


Luciane at

michele said...

i'm a huge fan of that crest sarah found! it totally made the room. i have zilch experience or knowledge of coat of arms stuff, but if we were to design one to reflect our family's identity at this moment, i believe an electric guitar and longboard would be front and center. your post has made me feel all civilized!

smiles to you.


Unknown said...

Lucky you to have two such beautiful coat-of-arms! I also love the shield from Tara Shaw.

I remember last year when Will and Kate were getting married....wasn't her family given a coat-of-arms? I have no idea if there is one in our family...but I'm going to do some digging!

We're chilly here too....ready for Spring to make a formal appearance!

xoxo Elizabeth

Veronica said...

Hi Debra. My son would adore this post as well! Apart from all the interesting crests there are some amazing rooms here as well. I am sure there must a crest for our family, I need to go look!

PS: Thanks for all the wonderful comments and visits!

La Dolfina said...

So interesting Debra!
Your vintage textiles are true treasures and you are the perfect caretaker!!!
Thanks for all the beauty!!

pve design said...

Last year, I designed a party invite for a dear friend and it was all about a modern day coat of arms for a bon vivant. I would loved to have lived back then designing those spectacular monograms of such arbiter and grace.

LaPouyette said...

Love, love coats of arms...where ever they appear!
Stunning pieces!!! Wonderful post!


Ispirato Design said...

Yeah, we probably don't have a coat of arms either. Such an interesting and informative post. I love that last tapestry- all of the shades of blue- pretty, pretty!

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