Coats of Arms

The Noble Coat of Arms

It seems obvious that Feodor Aminoff, by Russian tradition, did not have a coat of arms of his own. The coat of arms was drawn in connection with him receiving his letters patent from King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden. The casts of the arms indicates that it could have been inspired by coat of arms used by highly ranked nobility in both the Baltic area and Sweden. Quartered shields with two of the fields filled with motifs indicating warfare either across to each other, or running across and through the crown while the two other fields were filled with an reared up animal occurred in many of the coats of arms used by these families.

 

The blazoning of the coat of  arms of Aminoff is the following (according to the arms hanging on the wall at the House of Nobility of Sweden): Gules and or, quartered shield. Quarterly 1st and 4th a golden crown, with two lance flags in or with shafts in argent placed across each other running through the crown; 2nd and 3rd quarterly a natural-coloured springing reindeer. An open tournament helmet. Crest a rising reindeer between two lance flags in or with shafts in argent. Argent, gules and or in the torse, mantled gules, doubled or and argent on the right side, argent and or on the left side.

The Baronial Coat of Arms

According to the Swedish rules of heraldry, those who were risen up to the baronial estate were supposed to be given a quartered shield, but in practise an inescutcheon (a smaller version of the shield placed in the middle of the shield) was also commonly added onto the escutcheon (the shield). In the case of Johan Fredrik Aminoff, who already had a quartered shield, a solution like this would have lead into a very complicated, less successful visual solution, especially in a small reproduction. He chose a considerably better alternative which was blazoned in the following manner (according to the variant of the arms approved by the emperor): Gules and or, quartered shield. An argent bordure with eight nail heads. Quarterly 1st and 4th a crown in or, with two lance flags in or with shafts in sable placed across each other running through the crown; 2nd and 3rd quarterly a proper springing reindeer. On the right side of the upper border of the escutcheon an open tournament helmet crowned with an baronial crown. On the left side of the upper border of the escutcheon an open tournament helmet crowned with an baronial crown. Crest a cock head in azure, armed gules, between two (laurel) branches. In the middle of the upper border of the escutcheon two crossed banners in argent with shafts in or rising from a baronial crown, on the right banner crossed laurel branches in vert and oak branches, on the left banner a Maltese cross in sable. At the end of the shafts of the banners waving ribbons in gules. Between the banners the monogram of Alexander I, surrounded by a halo in or. Supporters two natural-colored regardant bears wearing crowns in or, holding in its paw a sabre in argent with cross-guards in argent, elevated into a stroke. Motto Nec adversa nec prospera flectent (may neither success nor adversities have influence).

In other words, Johan Fredrik only added a border with nail heads to his shield. Due to the superficial knowledge of heraldry during this time period, the lance flags were reproduced with black shafts. The heraldically correct decorations of the helmet is the ones from the noble coat of arms, but with black shafts. The new helmet decoration on the left also originates from the poor knowledge of heraldry of the time. Johan Fredrik’s mother was born into the family of Rotkirch, and the helmet decoration was taken from her family’s faulty version of coat of arms used at the time. At this point three crowned roosters were believed to be the sign of the coat of arms in question, but they were in fact crowned eagle heads. Placing the emperor’s act of grace, the monogram of Alexander I - which  on the coat of arms can be discussed. The baronial rank was originally granted by King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden, not to mention the fact that it is not very heraldically correct to add free elements above the arms. The arms were not only supposed to be possible to reproduce visually, in principle the arms were supposed to actually be wearable as well. All the same, it was in fact Alexander I who granted the baronial rank in the present extent when creating the arms themselves. The supporters of the arms, the two bears originates from the coat of arms of the region of Satakunta and refers to Johan Fredrik’s position as the commander of the Regiment of Pori.

More information on the birth of the baronial and the comital family branches can be found here.

Click here to read more about Johan Fredrik.

The Comital Coat of Arms

When Johan Fredrik Aminoff  received the comital rank in 1819, with inheritance limited by primogeniture he improved the baronial coat of arms (according to the blazoning approved by the emperor) by changing the crowns of the tournament helmets from baronial crowns to comital crowns. Moreover, he traded the baronial crown in the middle on top of the coat of arms for a open tournament helmet crowned with a comital crown. The monogram of Alexander I surrounded by a golden halo between two banners in silver, familiar from the baronial coat of arms, was chosen as the helmet’s crest.