Armorial Bruno Bernard Heim
Armorial Bruno B. Heim

Armorial Bruno B. Heim


Edited and Introduced by Peter Bander van Duren
Preface by The Earl Marshal of England Major General His Grace the Duke of Norfolk CB, CBE, MC

Blazons for the 'Liber Amicorum et Illustrorum Hospitum' by John George, Garioch Pursuivant

21.5 x  15.5 cm.      224pp. with reproductions in b/w of 143 pages + 18 colour illus  Van Duren  1981

This is by any standard the most unusual armorial ever to have been published. In his Preface the Earl Marshal, His Grace the Duke of Norfolk, says: ‘What makes the Liber Amicorum an unusual armorial is that it extends beyond national insularity and embraces heraldry varying in origin and authority, but whatever the source, the creative and imaginative style which Archbishop Heim has developed, makes every shield and crest and device which he treats, a spectacular example of heraldic art. Here the heraldry of Europe is repre­sented side by side with British armorial bearings, and while different heraldic tastes and practices are catered for, by Archbishop Heim’s artistic skills all are brought into colourful harmony. No more fitting tribute could be paid to Archbishop Heim than the first publication of this important and unique work of art.’

In his introduction, the Editor presents a profusely illustrated biographical chapter on Archbishop Bruno B. Heim, the Holy See’s Authority on heraldic matters and the man to whom heraldry in the Catholic Church owes the high standards today.

This is not just an armorial but a unique historic record of one of the most exciting periods in the history of the Catholic Church. Archbishop Bruno B. Heim, the Apostolic Delegate to Great Britain, has done more than any other man towards the creation of harmony and unity be­tween the Holy See and Great Britain, whose relations had been strained for over four hundred years. Historians and heraldists of the future will find this armorial an invaluable source of information because many of the armigers in this volume have a share in the joyful development of those relations between the Holy See and Great Britain.


Some words by Peter Bander-van Duren

Archbishop Heim's ARMORIAL or Liber Amicorum, his guest book for special friends, was published in 1981 to celebrate his seventieth birthday and the centenary of the birth of Pope John XXIII. Apart from having been Pope John's Secretary when the Pontiff was still Archbishop Angelo Roncalli, Apostolic Nuncio to France, none of Pope John's biographies had made mention of his contribution to heraldry. The appointment of Mons. Bruno Heim to his first diplomatic post under Archbishop Roncalli was the beginning of a close cooperation between two outstanding heraldic artists.

'Although I was able to include several facsimile letters from Archbishop Roncalli and other high dignitaries who consulted him on heraldic matters, unfortunately too late for inclusion in the book was a manuscript thesis by Pope John XXIII, written four weeks before his death, explaining the meaning of his personal coat of arms.

'Mons. Heim continued to add armorial bearings of friends and of illustrious guests who paid him a visit, especially when he himself had been consecrated Archbishop and appointed Apostolic Delegate and later Nuncio. During Mons. Heim's appointment to the Court of St. James (1973-1982 as Apostolic Delegate and from 1982 - 1985 as Nuncio) he entertained kings, queens, princes as well as prime ministers and leading figures in literature and the arts, not to mention Pope John Paul II and many eminent men of the Church.

'He had started his work as an heraldic painter at the age of sixteen, and by the time he arrived in the United Kingdom, Archbishop Heim was a well known and highly respected ecclesiastical heraldic artist.

'Medieval simplicity in his heraldic representations was his hallmark, but he was adventurous and never hesitated to give a "rebus" (a heraldic emblem) to those visitors who were not armigerous. Two of them were published all over the world: that of Dame Agatha Christie, the author, and that of The Rt. Hon. Margaret Thatcher, MP, PC, (later Prime Minister and then Baroness Thatcher, Dame of the Noble Order of the Garter). Lady Thatcher is now armigerous; her heraldic banner hangs in St. George's Chapel, Windsor.

'Archbishop Heim designed the coats of arms for Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I and Pope John Paul II as well as the armorial bearings for countless cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops and high prelates in the Catholic Church. His book HERALDRY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH became the standard reference work in ecclesiastical heraldry. After his retirement from the Holy See's diplomatic service in 1985 it took him more than ten years to complete his last heraldic work Or and Argent, which was originally planned for publication in 1983 but eventually appeared in 1994.

'On occasion Archbishop Heim gave reign to a wicked sense of humour. When a prelate asked him to design for him a coat of arms appropriate to his high social status, he proposed a donkey's head.

Archbishop Heim was later to issue a reproduction of the Liber Amicorum in full colour, with the limitation notice: 'Only thirty copies of this privately produced and augmented coloured edition of my "Liber Amicorum" were made. They are not for sale.  This is number [30]"

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