I spent a very pleasant afternoon on Saturday giving a guided tour of the heraldry in Merton and Brasenose to fellow members of the Oxford University Heraldry Society.
The Society which originated in 1835, but has gone, in best Oxford fashion, and like the best peerages, through a series of periods of success and dormancy, has been revived this year, and this was a joint meeting withe the Chiltern Heraldry Society.
Both colleges looked beautiful in the spring sunshine - the college planting of bulbs and window boxes were looking quite splendid - and the chapels and halls provided some fascinating points for discussion. We considered the variable quality of nineteenth century heraldic art, the niceties of canting arms and the value of heraldic glass in dating a medieval building, and the courtly and political world it could evoke in the modern viewer.
My favourite new discovery was some glass in the hall at Brasenose, given apparently by King Louis XVIII, presumably during his residence as an exile at Hartwell in Buckinghamshire. Side by side were his arms and those of King George III - with the electoral bonnet, not the crown on the Hanoverian inescutcheon - between the badges of the Order of the Garter and the conjoined French Order of the Holy Ghost and St Michael.