The three main devices (symbols) in the Hendrick blazon are the leopard’s face, crescent and ducal coronet. The two main tinctures (colors) are or and azure.
Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” 1. Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun 2. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 3.
Azure is the heraldic colour blue, usually quite a deep, dark shade of the colour (there is a lighter blue that sometimes occurs, known as celestial azure). If colour printing is not available then it can be represented by closely spaced horizontal lines in a scheme known as “hatching” 4. The word is thought to originate from the Arabic lazura and it represents the colour of the eastern sky. It is also said to be the colour associated by the Catholic Church with the Virgin Mary and hence of particular significance 5.
The leopard’s face (sometimes, incorrectly referred to as a leopard’s head occurs very frequently in heraldry 6. Early heraldic artists tended to treat lions and leopards as the same animal, but during the development of British Heraldry the heads of the two creatures have adopted separate, and more realistic forms. Wade would have us associate leopards with warriors, especially those who overcome ”hazardous things by force and courage” 7
For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose 8xz`, and the crescent Is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. Some common is this device that there are special names for its appearance in various orientations – whilst it lies normally with points upward, the decrescent points to the sinister side, and the increscent to the dexter 9. The allusion, obviously is to the shape of the moon in the sky (indeed, the French have a version “figuré” which includes a face!) and has been said to signify both “honour by the sovereign” and “hope of greater glory” 10.
Crowns are frequently observed in Heraldry 11, but we should not make the mistake of assuming that these are always on Royal arms 12. Many of the orders of nobility across Europe were entitled to wear crowns and coronets, Dukes, Earls, Viscounts and Barons in England each had their own distinctive headwear 13. The ducal coronet is an example of this, being gold with a brim of strawberry leaves and a cap of crimson velvet. 14 It may also be the case that a crown is added to an existing coat of arms as an augmentation in recognition of some service to a King 15.