This summer as I was traveling around Europe I noticed the abundance of crests – royal crests, family crests, decorative crests – nearly everywhere I went. It started in a medieval village in the Dordogne region of France called Monpazier. I brought my kids there because the town is famous for making beautiful wooden toys. But what caught my eye were the giant crest-shape flags decorated with charming animal figures in rich colors that were hanging around the village.
The following month, in Spain, there were crests everywhere. They were far more formal crests on the whole, many of them celebrating a royal family, like in the Alcazar Palace in Seville. But even in our small, charming hilltop hotel there were crests hanging in the hallway and again on the upholstered chairs in the breakfast room.
Finally, when I went home to my parents house in New York in August, with my attention more focused on my appreciation of crests, I took more notice than I ever had at my own family’s crests from our ancestors in England and Scotland. I love the idea of a crest – the notion of coming up with colors, shapes, even animals that give symbolic meaning to a house, a family, or a village. They’re like a personal logo, imbued with history and style.