Blazons & Genealogy Notes

The seal of judge Lars Johannes Irgens on the Norwegian Constitution Document of 17 May 1814. The Irgens von Westervich arms are completely different. Per bend gules and azure, 1 three fleur-de-lis argent, 2 two roses of the last, seeded gules, barbed proper. Crest - a fleur-de-lis Or between two horns, dexter per pale Or and azure, sinister conversely.

Origin, Meaning, Family History and Irgens Coat of Arms and Family Crest

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Irgens Coat of Arms Meaning

The three main devices (symbols) in the Irgens blazon are the rose, fleur-de-lis and proboscis. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, gules and argent .

The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli 1. Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” 2.

Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”3. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines 4. Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).5

Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 6. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 7.

Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur 8. The rose is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect. It has long been present in English heraldry, and as a badge and symbol played an enormous in English history throughout the conflict between rival dynasties known as the War of the Roses. In addition to these familial uses, Wade suggests that red roses signify “beauty and grace” and the white represents “love and faith”. 9

The fleur-de-lys (“flower of the lily”) has a long and noble history and was a symbol associated with the royalty of France even before heraldry became widespread. 10. The Lily flower is said to represent “Purity, or whiteness of soul”11 and sometimes associated with the Virgin Mary. The fleur-de-lys is also used as a small “badge”, known as a mark of cadency to show that the holder is the sixth son of the present holder of the arms 12

A term probably unfamiliar to many readers, proboscis is a term often found in the heraldry of continental Europe and represents the trunk of an elephant. They are exclusively found in pairs, and only in the crest above the shield in a full achievement of arms. The mouth may be a different colour, and in some cases may hold objects such as ostrich feathers. Little is actually known about their origin or meaning, an interesting mystery for future heraldic scholars to address.

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References

  • 1 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure
  • 2 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 3 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 4 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P52
  • 5 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P154
  • 6 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 7 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
  • 8 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P262
  • 9 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P132-133
  • 10 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 3
  • 11 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P134
  • 12 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P489