Notes on the Achievement

 

NOTES ON THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE ACHIEVEMENT FROM WORN DESIGN ON SNUFF BOX LID AND OTHER INFORMATION.

Achievement is a term embodying all the parts marshalled together to form a heraldic device. (p.16)

1. The crest. This is a Roebuck (stag) courant i.e running. This has been reproduced as faithfully as possible form the original. It is of interest that the Roebuck is a sign used by leathersellers and curriers, and since the currier’s trade overlaps that of a tanner, it is possible that this may have originated from the Meston who was a tanner.

2. The wreath. The wreath separates the crest from the shield in this instance and consists of alternate red and white twists. In heraldry there should be six twists this, I have added an extra twist in the reconstruction. (p.24)

3. The shield. On the snuff box lid the outline of the shield is not symmetrical do I have corrected this in the reconstruction. The face of the shield is divided by a diagonal line described as per bend. (p.47) The top right half, basically white, clearly contains two roses and under a microscope the presence of a third rose is revealed. The original execution of the roses is not consistent but I am sure this is not by design so I have made all of the as similar as possible. Incidentally is is not usual to have all of each rose the same colour. Mostly the barbs are green and the centre yellow.

The lower left half of the shield is red and contains a rose revealed again by the microscope. This presumably would have been white, but except for one spec of white, the colour has worn away. The biggest mystery is the lower central area of the shield, for nothing can be distinguished on it. Specks of black and white are visible under magnification. From the suggestion that crossed tools of a tanner appear, I have included the crossed curriers shaves, four pairs of which appear on that trade’s coat of arms. The presence of leather was also suggested, and as I cannot find any other area devoid of colour I have been unable to conceive either the shape or position of the material.

4. The Motto. This is straightforward, and except for balancing the arrangement more evenly, the motto is reproduced as on the original.

5. Supporters. I have made the arrangement more symmetrical than on the original, using the left side as a guide. Supporters are normally animals, it is thus unusual to find plants in this position.

General.

The reconstruction is exactly twice the size (linear) of the original. At the beginning it was my concern that the dimensions should be right and except where I have improved the symmetry this is so. When it comes to the crossed currier’s shaves however, the size and shape are conjectured and unlikely to coincide with those on the original, assuming they existed. On reading “The Observer’s Book of Heraldry” it would seem that every achievement can be described specifically in universally understandable heraldic terms, so that a number of artists receiving the same information (a blazon p.46) would produce basically the same results without having seen a picture of the arms. However the shapes would be slightly different. Some artists draw animals thinner than others etc., and in the context of the crossed shaves, the version I have drawn would be as valid as those drawn by someone else who depicted shaves where both handles are the same way round (an alternative tool that did exist).

All the page references in these notes come from the “Observer’s Book of Heraldry” by Charles Mackinnon of Dunakin, published by Fredereick Warne and Co., London and New York. This is only 45 pence in the U.K.

Library of Congress Catalogue Card No. 67-10967

David S. Meston

Newbury Berkshire.

United Kingdom

11th September, 1971

 

 

Did you know ?

Meston Snuffbox Image

The Motto "DEUS PRO VEDERIT" on the Meston Snuff Box was used as the passwords "SHALL HAVE RIGHT" for a group of French Resistance fighters operating in Normandy during WW II.