What are supporters and how do I choose them?

Some less common supporters that I’ve painted are angels, columns, and even a single supporter reminiscent of a Greek god.

Some less common supporters that I’ve painted are angels, columns, and even a single supporter reminiscent of a Greek god.

On my family crests, I often use animal supporters holding the shield. Supporters are the animals, or in some cases, people or objects that are holding the shield in the art. Some common supporters are lions and horses. Some less common supporters that I’ve painted are angels, columns, and even a single supporter reminiscent of a Greek god.

In historical heraldry, Supporters can have local significance, such as the fisherman and the tin miner granted to Cornwall County Council, or an historical link, such as the lion of England and unicorn of Scotland on the two variations of the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. Some heraldic traditions do not allow for supporters on the art unless they are specifically granted.

However, my pieces are more about the art and individual meaning for the couple of family. I am a little more inspired by the look of vintage arms and less interested in a strict interpretation of rules and tradition. I add supporters to almost all of the pieces that I create because they add lifelike spark to the pieces. They are one of the larger elements of my pieces, and my clients and I choose them with care.

An eagle and swan as supporters.

An eagle and swan as supporters.

Some of my clients have chosen to use their astrological signs as supporters, and some choose their animals based on the mascot from the school they attended. Many of my clients choose their animal supporters based on characteristics of the animal that are important to their families - Like a bear to represent a protective mother. Some clients even send me photos of their pets and we pose their pets as supporters.

I love animals and all the character and life they bring to a piece of art. Animal supporters are some of my favorite parts to consider in the pieces that I create for my clients. What animals would you use for an artwork to represent you?

jamie hansen