The Armorial Bearings of the Bonnington Group
The Badge of the Bonnington Group consists of a torch enflamed, between two furisons or fire-steels; it thus combines two of the distinctive elements from the Arms and Crest.
The Armorial Bearings consist of the following elements:
The Shield or escutcheon, which was held or worn by knights for protection against blows from opponents’ weapons. As part of the equipment of medieval warfare, shields were constructed from wood, leather or metal, and painted with various devices (or charges) that would identify each knight on the battlefield or at tournaments. The shield is the principal element in the Armorial Bearings, and has varied in shape and design according to changes in fashion.
Here the Arms consist of a blue (or Azure) shield, charged with a red (Gules) reversed pall edged with gold (Or), which forms an arrow pointing upwards. This represents the company’s ethos, one of community and moving forward together. The gold furisons or fire-steels to either side of the pall are used to light fires, symbols of the home from home provided by the hotel group. The furison device also forms a ‘B’ which alludes to the name of the company.
The Helmet was a technological development of warfare that contributed to the development of heraldry: with its visor closed and the face hidden, combatants could no longer be easily recognised. The Helmet is always depicted in its natural colours (proper), those of steel.
The Crest is the device worn on top of the helmet; it also has its origins in identification on the battlefield and at jousts and tourneys. Very often Crests consist of an animal or monster, and whilst many have no discernible meaning, for others the choice may express the bearer’s surname or character.
The red elephant in the Crest of the Bonnington Group is an Indian symbol of hospitality, being seen outside many large homes and residences in that country. It also alludes to the Arms of the London Borough of Camden, and thus to the geographical origins of the Group in Bloomsbury. The gold flambeau or torch is similar to those found outside many hotels and clubs in London and is thus a symbol of those places, of hospitality, and of the firm’s leadership in the field. It is shown with fire coming out of it (or enflamed).
The Mantling consists of a cloth, much slashed and elaborately curled, behind the helmet and the shield. It probably derived from cloths worn to protect the knight’s head, encased in a metal helmet, from the heat of the sun.
The Wreath serves to mask the connection between helmet and Crest, and to attach the mantling. It consists of two skeins of silk in the principal colours of the Arms, twisted together.
The Supporters are creatures or figures to either side of and supporting the shield. They may derive from figures often shown to either side of the shield on heraldic seals.
Here the gold beaver and badger are both famous for their home-making skills in diverse habitats, which alludes to the diversity of the company both in geography and in people. Both begin with a ‘B’ which again alludes to the company’s name and brand. They hold blue torches enflamed.
Badges were devices used in medieval times to identify members of a lord’s retinue, household and family. Whilst the Arms, Crest and Supporters relate only to the individual or specific corporate body, badges had a wider application and could be used by those outside the immediate family to express their relationship. They were popularly used on clothing, jewellery, plate, and on buildings.
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