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Dictionary of Vexillology: C (Collar - Colours used in Heraldry)

Last modified: 2022-08-27 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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The ceremonial neck-chain of an Order of Knighthood, worn instead of a sash and emblem on state occasions by members of the highest class of that Order.

[collar] [collar] [collar]
Royal Standard for Use at Sea, Egypt 1922 – 1953 (fotw); Royal Arms, Spain 1971 – 2014 (fotw); Royal Standard, Italy 1880 – 1946 (fotw)

Please note that a collar was once frequent on royal standards, and a modern example would be the collar of the order of the golden fleece around the arms on the royal standard of Spain as illustrated above.

In heraldry the term used to describe a coat of arms that is surrounded by a neck-chain as defined above – see ‘collar’ and the note below.

[collared example]
Civil Ensign c1670, France (fotw)

Please note that the tern used in heraldry for describing an animal wearing a collar, or of another charge similarly (closely) encircled is “gorged”- see ‘gorged’.

1) See ‘stand of colours 1)’ and ‘venn’.
2) A possible translation of the Spanish term Banderas Coronelas – but see ‘crown colours’.

[colonels colour] [colonels colour] [colonels colour]
Examples of Colonel’s Colours, English c1641 (Željko Heimer, CS and fotw)

The flags of those areas or countries which in the past were under the political control of another country, or of the officers appointed to administer that area or country – but see note below (also ‘badge 2)’, ‘blue ensign 1)’, ‘canton flag’). and ‘colonial jack’.

[colonial flags] [colonial flags] [colonial flags]
Government Ensign of British Honduras 1919–1981 (fotw); Civil Ensign of French Morocco 1919-1956; Flag of the Belgian Congo 1877-1960 (fotw)

Please note that whilst a number of countries still possess territory overseas, the term “colony” (therefore colonial) is no longer used, with the areas concerned being named a dependent and/or overseas territory, overseas department or similar, or are considered an integral part of the motherland.

[colonial flags] [colonial flags] [colonial flags]
Falklands Islands (fotw); Saba and Curacao (fotw)

1) In UK usage the term, now obsolete, for a square blue jack defaced with the same badge or arms as the relevant colonial blue ensign, that could be flown with this ensign by vessels belonging to or hired by the governing authorities of that colony – see ‘colonial flags/ensigns’, ‘blue ensign 1)’, ‘government service jack’ under ‘jack’ and note below (also ‘defaced 1)’ and ‘jack’).
2) In UK usage, also obsolete, a term that was used for the flag (usually the relevant defaced ensign but occasionally another design) that was flown as a jack by the warships of those dominion navies serving under the white ensign – see ‘white ensign 1)’ and ‘naval jack’ under ‘jack’.

Sierra Leone blue jack 1889-1914 Indian Navy 1934-1947 colonial jack
Blue/Colonial Jack of Sierra Leone 1889 – 1914 (CS and fotw); Jack of HM Royal Indian Navy 1934 – 1947 (fotw); Blue Ensign of Canada 1922 – 1957 (fotw)

Please note that the term “colony” (therefore colonial) is no longer used, but that vessels belonging to the governing authorities of a British dependent territory are still entitled to wear a square blue jack defaced with the arms or badge of that territory, however, it is not known whether any actually do so at the present time.

See ‘state colours 3)’ and ‘state colours 4)’.

[colors] [colors]
Colors and Flag of the State of New Mexico, US (CS & fotw)

1) A heraldic term for any tincture (or colour) that is not a metal or a fur- see ‘enamels’, ‘metals’, ‘mixed tinctures’ and ‘tinctures’ (also ‘rule of tincture’).
2) The official ceremonial flag of a military unit (originally of an infantry unit only), and in this context it is sometimes used in the plural when referring only to a single flag – regimental colour, unit colour, queen’s, king’s or royal colour, national or presidential colour etc – but see ‘colours 2)’ and its following note (also ‘badge 3)’, ‘banner 6)‘, ‘company colours’, ‘cord(s) 1)’, ‘presentation’, 'presidential colour 2)', ‘second colour’, ‘stand 1)’ and ‘venn’). see supplemental note
3) In some countries (although entirely military in origin) the ceremonial flag of a non-military organization - such as the police or fire service - that is entitled (or has assumed the right) to bear such colours - but see also ‘parade flag 2)’ and the note below.

Regimental colour - 1st Battalion of The Black Watch Queens colour - 1st Battalion of The Black Watch Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa
Queen’s Colour and Regimental Colour, 1st Battalion of The Black Watch, UK (Graham Bartram); Queen’s Colour and Regimental Colour, Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, Canada (fotw)

a) There are basically three ways involving a sleeve by which a parade flag or military colour may be affixed to its staff - with decorative nails (often a precisely regulated number of nails), by grommet and clip or by tab and hook. However:
b) The practice of tying a colour to its staff, or attaching it by cloth loops or metal rings is still occasionally seen (see also ‘grommet 1)’, ‘nails’, ‘ring 4)’, ‘sleeve 2)’, 'tab' and ‘ties’).
c) Please note with regard to 3) that the flags of various non-governmental or semi-governmental organizations, whilst often being given the reverence and treatment normally shown to a military colour, should be correctly called parade flags because they do not have the armed guard usually required by such colours.

One who bears the regimental, unit, or national colour (see also ‘balcanifer’, ‘colour 2)’, ‘cornet 3)’, ‘enceniator’, ‘ensign 4)’, ‘gonfalonier’, ‘standard bearer’ and ‘vexillary’).

[colour bearer examples]

See ‘flag belt’.

[colour belt example]
Colour/Flag Belt According to Spanish Regulations (Reglamento de Banderas Actualizado)

1) The ceremonial escort of the standard bearer, symbolically responsible for guarding the colour during a military parade (see also ‘colour 2)’ and ‘standard bearer’).
2) In widespread naval usage the guard in attendance when the national colours are raised or lowered ashore or afloat with full ceremony (see also ‘colours 5)’).
3) See ‘colour party 1)’.

[colour guard example]
Colour Guard of the French Navy 2008 (Wikipedia)

The system or systems by which the exact tone or shade of colours may be identified and reproduced.

Please note that whilst a number of systems (international, national and proprietary) for identifying colours by numbers or names are listed separately herein, several (particularly national) systems are not - largely because they receive limited use or that use is apparently restricted to their countries of origin (see also ‘British Colour Code’, 'Cable Number', ‘CMYK’, ‘International Colour Code’ and ‘Pantone Matching System’).

1) In US and some other usage, the standard bearer and colour guard collectively (see also ‘colour 2)’, ‘colour guard 1)’ and ‘standard bearer’).
2) In naval usage, the personnel detailed to carry out the ceremonies of morning and evening colours (see also 'colour guard', 'sunset' and 'colours 5').

In US military usage, the non-commissioned officer who carries the national colour (see also ‘colour 2)’ and ‘colours 2)’).

[color sergeant example]
Color Sergeant Army, US (Wikipedia)

Please note that in British military usage this rank, now partially obsolete, had and has (as far as can be discovered) no specific duties connected with escorting or guarding the colour or colours. Historically however, the senior sergeants within any battalion or regiment (for whom the rank was originally instituted) could have such a duty.

[colour sergeant example]
Colour Sergeant Royal Marines, UK (Wikipedia)

1) Figuratively any national flag.
2) In UK and US practice (and in some other cases), one or both of the flags issued simultaneously to a military unit (see ‘banner 6)‘, ‘colour 2)’, ‘company colours’, ‘presentation’, ‘presidential colour’, ‘second colour’, ‘stand 1)’, ‘venn’ and note below).
3) Generally at sea, any flag that denotes nationality.
4) Specifically at sea, the ensign of a merchant vessel, or the suit of flags worn by a warship (see also ‘ensign’ and ‘suit of flags’).
5) The ceremony of hoisting the ensign and jack particularly (but not exclusively) aboard a warship or naval shore establishment – morning colours, conducting or making colours (see also ‘sunset’).
6) The combination of colours – whether metal or tincture - derived from the personal or house flag of an individual, company or association (see also 'house flag 3)' and 'personal flag 3)').

[colour example] [current US flag] [Croatian naval ensign]
Military Colours, France 1852 – 1853 (fotw); National Flag/National Ensign, US (fotw); Naval Ensign, Croatia (fotw)

a) In military forces where it is customary for some or all units to carry a pair of colours, the first of these colours now generally represents the head of state or the state itself and is known - depending on the country concerned - as the king's, queen's, sovereign's, royal, national, president's, presidential, or state colour.
b) The second represents the unit itself and is known as the regimental, battalion, squadron, organizational, or unit colour. The first type of colour is generally (but not invariably) based on the design of the national flag, and in a few cases (such as in the British and Canadian regiments of foot guards) it is the regimental colour that derives from the design of the national flag.
c) In some countries a single distinctive colour carried by some military forces (such as the British Royal Navy or the Indian Air Force) may be designated as a sovereign's (king's, queen's) or president's colour.

See ‘arab liberation colours’.

[Colours of Arab liberation]
National Flag of Egypt 1958 – 1972 (fotw)

See ‘flag of defiance’.

[flags of defiance]

See ‘tinctures’.

tincture tincture tincture tincture tincture tincture tincture tincture tincture

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