Flags representing various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces snap in the breeze outside the county courthouse in Mercer PA (Saturday, June 1, 2013).
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, since 2010
Established in 2009, the Supreme Court took over the old judicial functions of the House of Lords. The gold omega symbolizes the court’s function as the highest and final court of appeal in the country. The floral device in the centre combines the Tudor rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, the flax flower of Northern Ireland, and the er… leek of Wales. Not quite as romantic as the other three.
FLAGS #Great #Britain #London #flag #colour #sun (at Westminster Abbey)
Sussex, since 2011
The cartographer John Speed, in his 17th century map of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy, assigned the Kingdom of Sussex a coat of arms of six golden martlets on a blue field. This was an anachronism – the Anglo-Saxons didn’t have heraldry – but the symbol stuck. Around 400 years later, “Saint Richard’s Flag” was officially registered as the flag of Sussex and raised atop Lewes Castle.
It’s not clear why Speed chose these arms specifically, but it’s been suggested that the six martlets represent the six unfortunately-named “rapes” (districts) of Sussex. Incidentally, a martlet is a fucked up heraldic swallow with its legs cut off. Kind of a weird thing to have as a symbol.
Flags from the National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum has over 1000 flags including two large collections of house flags, used to identify shipping lines, or owners of vessels. These vary from small family firms to major business conglomerates.
- White Flag of Antartica, 1929
- HMS “Princess Royal” Flag, ca. 1860
- Command Flag, Rear Admiral, ca. 1920–26
- Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. Flag, ca. 1955–67
- London Court Line Ltd. Flag, ca. 1955–67
- Deutsche Afrika-Linien Flag, ca. 1955–67
- Skull and Cross Bones Flag made for the film Windjammer, ca. 1962
- Italia Societa Anonima di Navigazione Flag, ca. 1951
- Elder Line Flag, date unknown
- Japanes Naval Ensign used throughout 1889–1945, date unknown
South Africa (proposed), 1927
The old South African tricolour was the end result of a long drawn-out political fight. Nobody could agree about what should be on there. Some folks wanted to give pride of place to the Union Jack, some wanted to include the flags of the old Boer republics, and others wanted a simple “clean flag”. (The majority black population probably would have had some opinions of their own too, but nobody thought to ask them.)
In the end, the House of Assembly passed the “shield flag”, an orange-white-blue tricolour with a quartered shield in the centre. In the first three quarters were the flags of Britain, the Orange Free State, and Transvaal. In the bottom right was a blue field with four white stars for the country’s four provinces.
The Senate countered with this particularly ugly design, which blew up the four quarters of the shield and divided them with a white cross. Note the weird effect this caused with the Orange Free State’s bottom white stripe.
In the end the two sides compromised. The tricolour returned, but the three flags were put on there in full, arranged into a cross. And thus was born the old South African flag. A cluttered ugly mess, designed by not just one but several committees, representing only a small minority of the country’s population. Let’s just say I’m not sad to see it gone.
The Adventure Table Update and the Great Flag Update of 2013.
It looks a lot bigger when you lay them out like that…
If you have any questions, just ask ‘em to me here on Tumblr, click on the little gear and then question mark up at the top left corner on my blog. You can ask anonymously if you’d like.
I recognize most of these, but does anyone know what that one in the lower right is?
Mauritius, since 1968
Official symbolism doesn’t always line up with actual history. On the flag of Mauritius, the four stripes are said to represent (from top to bottom) the struggle for independence, the Indian Ocean, a bright future, and lush vegetation. Reading that, you might think the flag was designed with those meanings in mind. But actually those colours were just chosen because they were the four main colours from the Mauritian coat of arms. All the other symbolism came later.
Some pieces of my sisters and mines Les Miserables cake :)
It’s not unusual for a colonial flag to be designed by someone outside the colony, but this flag wasn’t even designed in Britain. This was the work of one Alec McEwen, a commercial artist from Toronto. Her badge looked a lot like the original from 1903, but with better colours and composition. The two new additions were a sailboat to represent shipping traffic, and a second island in the background to stand in for all the small islands in the chain besides Mahé.
(designer: Alec McEwen)
One of the pictures I took in Folkestone on a workshop with Martin Parr.
Helsinki, since 1967
June 12 is Helsinki Day. The Finnish capital’s most well known symbol is its coat of arms (dating to 1639), but the boat and crown do occasionally appear in flag form.