Sir William Segar (c. 1554–1633) was a portrait painter and officer of arms to the court of Elizabeth I of England; he became Garter King of Arms under James I.
A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, in photography a portrait is generally not a snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position. A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the painter or photographer, in order to most successfully engage the subject with the viewer.
An officer of arms is a person appointed by a sovereign or state with authority to perform one or more of the following functions:
Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death on 24 March 1603. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the last of the five monarchs of the House of Tudor.
Like other artists of the Tudor court, Segar was active in more than one medium, painting portraits of luminaries of the court in addition to his duties in the College of Arms. He painted Elizabeth's favourite the Earl of Essex in his "Sable sad" (black) armour for the Accession Day tilt of 1590. The famous "Ermine Portrait" of Elizabeth is sometimes attributed to Segar.
The artists of the Tudor court are the painters and limners engaged by the monarchs of England's Tudor dynasty and their courtiers between 1485 and 1603, from the reign of Henry VII to the death of Elizabeth I.
The College of Arms, also known as the College of Heralds, is a royal corporation consisting of professional officers of arms, with jurisdiction over England, Wales, Northern Ireland and some Commonwealth realms. The heralds are appointed by the British Sovereign and are delegated authority to act on behalf of the Crown in all matters of heraldry, the granting of new coats of arms, genealogical research and the recording of pedigrees. The College is also the official body responsible for matters relating to the flying of flags on land, and it maintains the official registers of flags and other national symbols. Though a part of the Royal Household of the United Kingdom the College is self-financed, unsupported by any public funds.
A favourite or favorite was the intimate companion of a ruler or other important person. In post-classical and early-modern Europe, among other times and places, the term was used of individuals delegated significant political power by a ruler. It was especially a phenomenon of the 16th and 17th centuries, when government had become too complex for many hereditary rulers with no great interest in or talent for it, and political institutions were still evolving. From 1600 to 1660 there were particular successions of all-powerful minister-favourites in much of Europe, particularly in Spain, England, France and Sweden.
William Segar may have been the son of one Nicholas Segaror of Francis Nycholson, alias Seager, who became a freeman of the Stationers' Company in 1557. Once thought to be of Dutch origin, Segar is now believed to have been born in England of an English mother. Segar stated his age as "fifty or thereabouts" in a document dated 13 September 1604. By 1584 William had married Helen Somers, and had three sons and three daughters. By 1596 Segar was married to Maria Browne and had four sons, including Thomas Segar who later became Bluemantle Pursuivant, and three daughters. In December 1616 one of Segar's rivals, York Herald Ralph Brooke, tricked him into confirming foreign royal arms to Gregory Brandon, a common hangman of London who was masquerading as a gentleman. Brooke then reported him to James I, who imprisoned both Brooke and Segar in Marshalsea. They were released a few days later and the Lord Chamberlain hoped that the experience would make Brooke more honest and Segar more wise.
Bluemantle Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary is a junior officer of arms of the College of Arms in London. The office is reputed to have been created by King Henry V to serve the Order of the Garter, but there is no documentary evidence of this. There is, however, mention of an officer styled Blewmantle going to France in 1448. The first Bluemantle to be mentioned by name is found in a record from around 1484. The badge of office, probably derived from the original blue material of the Order of the Garter, is blazoned as A Blue Mantle lined Ermine cords and tassels Or.
York Herald of Arms in Ordinary is an officer of arms at the College of Arms. The first York Herald is believed to have been an officer to Edmund of Langley, Duke of York around the year 1385, but the first completely reliable reference to such a herald is in February 1484, when John Water alias Yorke, herald was granted certain fees by Richard III. These fees included the Manor of Bayhall in Pembury, Kent, and 8 pounds, 6 shillings, and 8 pence a year from the Lordship of Huntingfield in Kent. The badge of office is the White Rose of York en soleil ensigned by the Royal Crown.
Ralph Brooke (1553–1625) was an English Officer of Arms in the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. He is known for his critiques of the work of other members of the College of Arms, most particularly in A Discoverie of Certaine Errours Published in Print in the Much Commended 'Britannia' 1594, which touched off a feud with its author, the revered antiquarian and herald William Camden.
Segar was trained as a scrivener and found employment with Sir Thomas Heneage, vice-chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth. Through Heneage's influence, Segar was admitted to the College of Arms in June 1585.While serving as Portcullis Pursuivant, he "reluctantly" accompanied Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester on his 1586 expedition to the Netherlands to serve as the Master of ceremonies for the St. George's Day festivities in Utrecht. A description of this festival in John Stow's Annales is based on "the true and faithful description by one William Segar, alias Portclose [Portcullis], an officer of arms in that service."
A scrivener was a person who could read and write or who wrote letters to court and legal documents. Scriveners were people who made their living by writing or copying written material. This usually indicated secretarial and administrative duties such as dictation and keeping business, judicial, and historical records for kings, nobles, temples, and cities. Scriveners later developed into public servants, accountants, lawyers and petition writers.
Sir Thomas Heneage PC was an English politician and courtier at the court of Elizabeth I.
Portcullis Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary is a junior officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. The office is named after the Portcullis chained Or badge of the Beauforts, which was a favourite device of King Henry VII. King Henry's mother was Lady Margaret Beaufort. The office was instituted around 1485, probably at the time of Henry's coronation. The badge of office is very similar to that of Somerset Herald of Arms in Ordinary, the latter being ensigned with the Royal Crown. The earliest recorded Portcullis Pursuivant was James or Jacques Videt, who was the plaintiff in a Common Pleas case in 1498 and again in 1500.
Segar was promoted to Somerset Herald in 1589 and to Norroy King of Arms in 1593.During his tenure as Norroy, Robert Cooke, Clarenceux King of Arms, was encroaching on the traditional privileges of Garter King of Arms, Sir William Dethick. In 1595 Segar sided with Dethick, criticising Cooke for his inability to write clearly and for making many grants of arms to "base and unworthy persons for his private gaine onely."
Somerset Herald of Arms in Ordinary is an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. In the year 1448 Somerset Herald is known to have served the Duke of Somerset, but by the time of the coronation of King Henry VII in 1485 his successor appears to have been raised to the rank of a royal officer, when he was the only herald to receive coronation liveries.
Norroy and Ulster King of Arms is the King of Arms at the College of Heralds with jurisdiction over England north of the Trent and Northern Ireland. The two offices of Norroy and Ulster were formerly separate, but were merged in 1943. Norroy King of Arms is the older office, there being a reference as early as 1276 to a "King of Heralds beyond the Trent in the North." The name is derived from the French nord roi meaning "north king". The office of Ulster King of Arms was established in 1552 by King Edward VI to replace the older post of Ireland King of Arms, which had lapsed in 1487.
Robert Cooke was an English Officer of Arms during the reign of Elizabeth I, who rose swiftly through the ranks of the College of Arms to Clarenceux King of Arms, serving in that office from 1567 until his death in 1592–3.
In 1596, Segar accompanied the Earl of Shrewsbury to invest Henry IV of France with the Order of the Garter, witnessing Henry's famed Royal entry into Rouen.
Sir Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury, 7th Earl of Waterford, 13th Baron Talbot, KG was a peer in the peerage of England. He also held the subsidiary titles of 16th Baron Strange of Blackmere and 12th Baron Furnivall.
Henry IV, also known by the epithet Good King Henry or Henry the Great, was King of Navarre from 1572 and King of France from 1589 to 1610. He was the first monarch of France from the House of Bourbon, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. He was assassinated in 1610 by François Ravaillac, a fanatical Catholic, and was succeeded by his son Louis XIII.
The Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by Edward III in 1348 and regarded as the most prestigious British order of chivalry in England and later the United Kingdom. It is dedicated to the image and arms of Saint George, England's patron saint.
As Norroy, Segar carried the Sword of state in the funeral procession of Elizabeth I (1603). A contemporary manuscript shows Segar in the black gown and hood with liripipe of Tudor court mourningworn with his herald's tabard (image, left). That same year, Segar was made deputy Garter to invest Christian IV of Denmark with the Order of the Garter in place of the unpopular Dethick. He was appointed as Garter by a signet bill in January 1604, although Dethick (who now described Segar as "a poor, base, beggarly painter, and an ignorant peasant" ) refused to resign until December 1606. Segar obtained a great seal patent, confirming him as Garter, on 17 January 1607. In 1612 he invested Maurice, Prince of Orange, with the Garter, and the same year was granted arms. He was knighted on 5 November 1616.
Segar was the author of The Booke of Honour and Armes which was published anonymously in 1590. An expanded and illustrated version was published as Honour Military and Civil 1602; some editions had an engraved frontispiece by Francis Delaram (image, above right).
Francis Meres in his Palladia Tamia (1598) lists "William and Francis Segar brethren" among famous painters of the day.Little is known about Francis, who was residing abroad by 1605.
Segar's first documented activity is an illumination of Dean Colet in the Statute Book of St. Paul's School, for which payment is recorded in the accounts for 1585/86. The "Ermine Portrait" of Elizabeth I is dated to the same period. Segar was heavily patronised by Essex in the early 1590s, and also painted portraits of Leicester, Sir Francis Drake, and other members of the court. The last recorded payment to Segar as a painter is for a portrait of the queen in 1597.
Two sonnets by one "Ch.M." in honour of his lady Oriana were addressed to Segar, who seems to have been painting her portrait; these probably date to the 1590s.
Sir Albert William Woods was an English officer of arms, who served as Garter Principal King of Arms from 1869 to 1904. The Woods family has a strong tradition of service at the College of Arms. Albert Woods was the son of Sir William Woods, Garter King of Arms from 1838 until his death in 1842. Likewise, the grandson of Albert Woods was Sir Gerald Woods Wollaston, who also rose to the rank of Garter King of Arms and served there from 1930 until 1944.
Sir Gilbert Dethick, FSA was a long-serving English Officer of Arms at the College of Arms in London. He would eventually rise to the highest heraldic office in England and serve as Garter Principal King of Arms.
John Philip Brook Brooke-Little, was an influential and popular English writer on heraldic subjects, and a long-serving herald at the College of Arms in London. In 1947, while still a student, Brooke-Little founded the Society of Heraldic Antiquaries, now known as the Heraldry Society and recognised as one of the leading learned societies in its field. He served as the society's chairman for 50 years and then as its President from 1997 until his death in 2006. In addition to the foundation of this group, Brooke-Little was involved in other heraldic groups and societies and worked for many years as an officer of arms; beginning as Bluemantle Pursuivant, Brooke-Little rose to the second highest heraldic office in England: Clarenceux King of Arms.
Thomas Woodcock is the Garter Principal King of Arms.
Sir Henry Farnham Burke, (1859–1930) was a long-serving Anglo-Irish officer of arms at the College of Arms in London.
Sir Gerald Woods Wollaston was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. Wollaston's family had a firm tradition at the College of Arms. Wollaston's great-grandfather was Sir William Woods, Garter Principal King of Arms from 1838 until his death in 1842. His grandfather was Sir Albert William Woods who held the same post from 1869 to 1904.
Sir Algar Henry Stafford Howard was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He was the third consecutive Fitzalan Pursuivant of Arms Extraordinary to attain the highest rank at the College of Arms.
Heraldic visitations were tours of inspection undertaken by Kings of Arms throughout England, Wales and Ireland. Their purpose was to regulate and register the coats of arms of nobility and gentry and boroughs, and to record pedigrees. They took place from 1530 to 1688, and their records provide important source material for historians and genealogists.
Sir William Dethick was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He was the son of Sir Gilbert Dethick and followed his father as Garter Principal King of Arms. Though he was adjudged a qualified armorist and antiquarian, Dethick's biography is notable for numerous instances of conflict with his colleagues and others.
Charles Wriothesley was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He was the last member of a dynasty of heralds that started with his grandfather—Garter Principal King of Arms John Writhe.
Sir Christopher Barker was an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London.
Lawrence Dalton was an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. Dalton was one of thirteen children of Roger Dalton of Bispham, Lancashire, and his fourth wife. Lawrence Dalton also had two half-brothers and one half-sister from his father's first marriage. Little is known about Dalton's early life, and he is not known to have attended a university.
Thomas Hawley was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He began his career of royal service as a groom porter to Queen Margaret of Scotland from her marriage in 1503 until 1508. Although he may have been made Rose Blanche Pursuivant in the reign of King Henry VII, his first permanent heraldic appointment came in 1509.
English heraldry is the form of coats of arms and other heraldic bearings and insignia used in England. It lies within the so-called Gallo-British tradition. Coats of arms in England are regulated and granted to individuals by the English kings of arms of the College of Arms. An individual's arms may also be borne ‘by courtesy' by members of the holder's nuclear family, subject to a system of cadency marks, to difference those displays from the arms of the original holder. The English heraldic style is exemplified in the arms of British royalty, and is reflected in the civic arms of cities and towns, as well as the noble arms of individuals in England. Royal orders in England, such as the Order of the Garter, also maintain notable heraldic bearings.
William Flower (1497/98–1588) was an English Officer of Arms in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. He rose to the rank of Norroy King of Arms, serving in that capacity from 1562 until his death in 1588.
Robert Glover was an English Officer of Arms, genealogist and antiquarian in the reign of Elizabeth I. In the College of Arms, he rose to the rank of Somerset Herald of Arms, serving in that capacity from 1571 until his death in 1588. As marshal and deputy to his father-in-law, William Flower, Norroy King of Arms, he participated in heraldic visitations throughout northern England.
Sir Henry St George (1581–1644) was an English Officer of arms. He was the third son of the herald Sir Richard St George and his wife Elizabeth St John..
| Portcullis Pursuivant of Arms |
| Somerset Herald of Arms |
| Norroy King of Arms |
Richard St George
| Garter Principal King of Arms |