Yes, it’s certainly of interest. Here’s the picture for those who haven’t seen it.
You wouldn’t find the shield with the hearts in Fairbairn’s Crests because it isn’t a crest. The crest is the hart (deer) standing on top of the helmet.
These arms are given in Bolton’s American Armory, citing this bookplate as the source. They are clearly punning, or what are called "canting" arms, both as to the shield and as to the crest, although that doesn’t mean the Rev. Mr. Hart originated them himself, since such puns are one of the most common sources of armorial design going back centuries.
To determine whether the arms are of British or Irish origin or were devised and adopted unilaterally would require some digging in armorials, not collections of crest. The most useful of these is Papworth’s Alphabetical Dictionary of Coats of Arms Belonging to Families in Great Britain, known as Papworth’s Ordinary because it is arranged by the principal charge on the field. Papworth is available through Google Books, and it doesn’t include these arms. That means they probably wouldn’t be in Burke’s General Armorial, either, since Papworth is basically an index to Burke.
See our pages on England and Scotland on researching ancestral arms, http://americanheraldry.org/pages/index.php?n=Main.Ancestral for the other English and Scottish references that are available. Unfortunately I haven’t done Ireland yet, but contacting the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland http://www.nli.ie/en/services-heraldry.aspx may yield information as to whether the arms appear in the Irish records.
Do you have any idea about the date of the bookplate or where Mr. Hart lived?
Thank you for taking the time to respond.
Rev. Hart lived in Richmond Virginia around 1815.
The bookplate is early 19th century.
This emblazonment seems to walk right up to the edge of including a compartment and supporters without quite doing so.
Or does it? Are the flanking harts and the foliage supposed to be read as other than decorative?
Which is why many people prefer bookplates over simple depictions of their arms. You can include so much and cite it as artistic license. Even the simplest arms can appear as impressive as any monarchs this way.
That’s a terrible artistic rendering of the arms, in my opinion.
The torse is under the helm instead of on top of it. There appears to be a huge swath of scrollwork replacing the torse- if that were to be actually mounted on a knight’s helm, it would be longer than the knight’s steed!
Ah, those early 19th century artists…..
The deer clearly aren’t supporters (they aren’t supporting anything!). I don’t think a compartment has properly ever been anything except decorative—does anyone know when an English or Scottish king of arms first thought to specify the design of the compartment in a grant?
There are certainly compartments specified in the earliest parts of the Lyon Register, so in Scotland 1672 is a definite start date and the practice may be earlier. However it was very rare. An example of what was normally said can be seen in the 1829 note to the LR entry for Maxwell of Calderwood
These words were omitted in the matriculation—And on a compartment below the Shield are placed for Supporters…
Some examples of specified compartments (extracted from Gayre’s "Roll of Scottish Arms" which covers the period roughly 1672-1810):
Marquis of Atholl: A rich compartment LR i/44 c1672
Belshes of Invermay: The trunk of an oak tree eradicated with leaves sprouting out Proper LR i/592 30-Apr-1804
Robert Boswell, Lyon-Depute: A lyon’s head affrontee Gules suppressing a saltire Argent LR i/126-7 4-Mar-1773
Campbell of Finab: Compartment out of which the sun is rising LR i/494-5 30-Jul-1772
Dalzell of the Binns: A hillock Proper LR i/232 9-Mar-1773
Marquis of Douglas: Within a circle of timber stalks Proper LR i/42 c1672
Douglas of Douglas: A hillock bounded by stakes of wood wreathed round by osiers LR i/143 & 231 20-May-1771
Macfarlane of that Ilk: Wavy LR i/377 c1743
MacLeod of Cadboll: whereon is set an Antique crown LR i/535-6 23-Jul-1784
Robertson of Ladykirk: a wild man lying fessways in chains Proper LR i/209 12-Nov-1752
What is interesting is that in most cases where there are compartments the details are not specified so the *general* rule is that the compartment is decorative unless something specific is required. That fits all the above except Dalzell of the Binns, and possibly the Marquis of Atholl, though I’ve heard that richly is occasionally herald-speak for Azure (goodness knows where I picked that up) which would fit with the main tincture of the Murray arms.
Interestingly neither Robert Boswell nor MacLeod of Cadboll have supporters, just compartments.