Founded in 1484 and in its present location since 1555, the College of Arms is one of the last remaining heraldic authorities in Europe. The use of armorial bearings was used as a signifier of allegiance and position within European society for much of the College’s existence. This begs several questions of current-day relevance. In the early 21st-century, what is the role of such an organisation? What authority does this type of organisation really have? What does membership of this organisation grant you? Does the College motto “Diligent and Secret” mean what it used to, given our dependence on instant information?
When a Herald takes up their position within the College, they are given the office of the title they maintain. They are given the key to lock the door, the room is painted in primer and is devoid of any furnishings. Some incumbents furnish their rooms ornately, lined with antique furniture and portraits. Others prefer to keep theirs sparse, with only a selection of mismatched Ikea furniture and Dell tower computers. This series documents a range of offices at the College of Arms.