The four main devices (symbols) in the Nuttall blazon are the shacklebolt, cock, talbor and chapeau. The two main tinctures (colors) are argent and sable.
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) 1Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 2A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur 3A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable. In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known 4Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 5The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35.
It is important that a coat of arms be easily recognised and so everyday objects were frequently used as clearly identifiable charges – tools 6Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 69 being a common and important example of these, of which the shacklebolt, a form of padlock, is typical.
The cock, and other members of its avian family are often found in coats of arms, although telling them apart simply from their images can sometimes be a challenge! Many times the precise choice of species arises as a play on words on the family name, sometimes now lost in history. 7A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cock The cock itself, Wade points out is a “bird of great courage” and might be used as a symbol of “watchfullness”, being the herald of the dawn. 8The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P80
Many breeds of dog appear in coats of arms, reflecting their status as man’s closet companion. The talbot is a hunting dog akin to a terrier, and usually illustrated in a lifelike style and eager pose. 9A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Dog In common with the other heraldic dogs, Wade suggests that their presence should suggest “courage, vigilance and loyal fidelity”. 10The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P68 Others might say we need look no further than a pleasure in the hunt and the affection for this sturdy breed.