- Arthur Charles Fox-Davies
Arthur Charles Fox-Davies (
28 February 1871– 19 May 1928), was a British author on heraldry. By profession, he was a barristerbut he also worked as a journalistand novelist.
Fox-Davies' writing on heraldry is characterised by a passionate attachment to heraldry as art, as history and also as law. He was something of a polemicist, and issued one of his most controversial works ("The Right to Bear Arms") under a pseudonym ("X"). However, he always supported his arguments with specific historical and manuscript evidence.
He conducted a lifelong campaign against the bearing of coats of arms without lawful authority in accordance with the
Law of Arms, whether that authority was a right recognised at the Visitations conducted by heralds between the 16th to 18th centuries or, more commonly, a right deriving from a specific grant entered in the records of the College of Arms. In support of this campaign, he produced a directory which attempted to list all living bearers of arms in England and Wales who could prove such authority, under the title "Armorial Families". This served as an incentive to families who had not got such authority to regularise their position at the College of Armsand the size of the work increased considerably until its final edition in 1929, which remains the most comprehensive published record (the records of the College of Arms being largely unpublished) of post-Victorian heraldry in Britain. Many of the arms were illustrated with specially commissioned heraldic drawings, and Fox-Davies drew on this large resource when illustrating his more systematic treatises on heraldry.
The most lavish of these was "The Art of Heraldry", which was originally conceived as an English translation of a German publication, but which, in Fox-Davies' hands, was transformed into a largely original work specifically directed to the history, theory and practice of English heraldry, with illustrations in black and white and in colour throughout. Much of this material was re-used in the shorter, cheaper and more popular exposition of contemporary English heraldic practice, Fox-Davies "Complete Guide to Heraldry", which proved very successful and influential. Another even shorter guide was "Heraldry Explained", but even this balanced a clear and didactic text with plentiful illustration.
Fox-Davies' emphasis on practical and officially authorised heraldry caused him to showcase mostly recent grants of arms. This was in contrast to the medieval emphasis of other scholars, of whom his most prominent critics were
Oswald Barron, author of the celebrated article on heraldry in the 1911 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, and Horace Round.
Round, in an essay called "Heraldry and the Gent" (eventually published in his collection "Peerage and Pedigree"), ridiculed another thesis with which Fox-Davies was particularly associated, namely, that an English grant of arms was equivalent to a continental patent of nobility, and that, not only were all English armigers to that extent noblemen as well as gentlemen (if male), but that no-one without an official right to bear a coat of arms could claim to be a
Fox-Davies' influence on English heraldry continued long after his death in 1928, not least because of his lawyerly insistence on backing his opinions with solid evidence, and because of the continuing popularity of his books with the general public and with expert heraldists alike. One of his admirers in the next generation was
John Brooke-Little, Clarenceux King of Arms and founder of the Heraldry Society, who edited a new edition of "The Complete Guide to Heraldry" and in many ways propagated similar, albeit somewhat less aggressively expressed, ideas.
Fox-Davies did not become a herald or pursuivant at the College of Arms, but he served as Gold Staff Officer at the Coronation of George V.
Fox-Davies was brought up at Coalbrookdale, Shropshire. His paternal family (Davies) was of Welsh origin. The Fox name came from his mother, whose father was John Fox of Coalbrookdale.
Fox-Davies was educated at
Ackworth School, Yorkshire. He does not appear to have received a university education, but was called to the Bar by Lincoln's Inn.
As a barrister, he practised on the South Eastern Circuit, at the
Old Bailey, and at the Surrey and South London Sessions. He also prepared printed cases for peerage cases in the House of Lords.
In addition to his writing on heraldry, he published a number of works of fiction.
He was a Conservative in politics, and unsuccessfully stood for election as
Member of Parliamentfor Merthyr Tydfilin 1910, 1923 and 1924. He was, however, elected as a member of HolbornBorough Council in London.
He married in 1901 Mary Crookes, by whom he had one son and one daughter. He lived at Warwick Gardens,
Kensington, London, and had chambers at 23 Old Buildings, Lincoln's Inn.
*"Dod's Peerage" (editor)
*"Burke's Landed Gentry" (editor)
*"The Book of Public Arms"
*"The Art of Heraldry"
*"The Law of Names and Changes of Name"
*"The Complete Guide to Heraldry"
*"The Right to Bear Arms" (published under the pseudonym "X")
*"Their Majesties' Court"
*"The Dangerville Inheritance"
*"The Average Man"
*"The Mauleverer Murders"
*"The Finances of Sir John Kynnersley"
*"The Sex Triumphant"
*"The Troubles of Colonel Marwood"
*"The Duplicate Death"
*"The Testament of John Hastings"
*"The Ultimate Conclusion"
*"The Book of Public Speaking"
Source: "Who Was Who"
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Davies — Family name Region of origin England/Wales Related names Davis, Davey Footnotes:  Davies is a spelling variation of the patronym … Wikipedia
Charles Henry Williams — (later known as Charles Henry Basset, from 1880) (16 November 1834 – 1 February 1908) was a British naval and military officer, and a Conservative Party politician. He was the Member of Parliament for Barnstaple, 1868–1874. He was the son… … Wikipedia
Arthur Davis (disambiguation) — Arthur Davis or Davies may refer to:* Arthur Davis, animator * Arthur Hoey Davis, Australian writer using the name Steele Rudd * Arthur Joseph Davis, British architect * Art Davis, jazz bassist musician * Artur Davis, American politician * Arthur … Wikipedia
Charles Manners Lushington — (1 August 1819 – 27 November 1864) was an English Conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1854 to 1857. Lushington was born at Sanderstead, Surrey, the son of Stephen Rumbold Lushington and his wife Annie Elizabeth… … Wikipedia
Charles FitzGerald, 4th Duke of Leinster — Charles William FitzGerald, 4th Duke of Leinster PC (30 March 1819 – 10 February 1887), styled Marquess of Kildare until 1874, was an Irish peer and politician. Contents 1 Background 2 Political career 3 Family 4 … Wikipedia
Charles Stuart, 12th Lord Blantyre — Charles Walter Stuart, 12th Lord Blantyre DL (21 December 1818 – 15 December 1900), styled Master of Blantyre from birth until 1830, was a Scottish politician and landowner with 14,100 acres (57 km2). Born at Lennoxlove House, Stuart… … Wikipedia
Fox family of Falmouth — For the Fox Family TV Network, preceding ABC Family, see Television networks preceding ABC Family The Fox family of Falmouth, Cornwall, UK were very influential in the development of the town of Falmouth in the 19th Century and of the Cornish… … Wikipedia
Charles Calvert Bowring — Sir Charles Calvert Bowring KCMG, KBE Acting Governor of the East African Protectorate In office 1917–1919 Preceded by Henry Conway Belfield Succeeded by … Wikipedia
Charles Boutell — Title page of English Heraldry by Boutell The Rev. Charles Boutell (1812–1877) was a Norfolk archaeologist, antiquary and clergyman, publishing books on brasses, arms and armour and heraldry, often illustrated by his own drawings … Wikipedia
Charles Chadwyck-Healey — Sir Charles Edward Heley Chadwyck Healey, 1st Baronet KCB, QC, DL, JP (26 August 1845 – 5 October 1919) was a British lawyer and baronet. Contents 1 Background 2 Career 3 … Wikipedia