Page:The Ancestor Number 1.djvu/267

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THE ANCESTOR 207 POPULAR HERALDRY— BOOK MAKING The name of Mr. Joseph Foster is well known to all antiquaries as that of a painstaking compiler of books of reference. One of these, the Alumni Oxonienses^ a record of the admissions to Oxford colleges, is a monument of indus- try, and for the English genealogist is almost without doubt the most useful book of reference which has yet come to the bookshelves. His less fortunate Peerage and Baronetage will be remembered for the honest mistrust with which many of the legendary beginnings of our great houses were regarded in their pages. With such a record behind him, it is the more pity that Mr. Foster should have permitted himself to embark upon another great scheme to which beside his unfailing in- dustry he has no quality to bring. The making of such a book as Siome Feudal Coats of Arms^ demanded a measure of modest scholarship with which Mr. Foster has not equipped himself, a certain patience of research he seems unable to con- descend to, and an appreciation of that colour of the middle ages of which Mr. Foster throughout his pages shows himself incapable. In this case the compiler has set himself the work of an antiquary whilst disdaining an antiquary's training. Mr. Foster's preface and introduction show him jubilant, and even though he were in mood to learn, the applause with which this work has been received by a press singularly ill informed in archaeological questions will convince him that there is at least no commercial reason for the antiquarian book compiler to do so. It is this very applause which moves us to review in some detail a book which, otherwise an unimportant one, will by reason of its impressive size and weight inevitably thrust itself amongst English archaeological books of refer- ence. Passing the frontispiece of a bronze shield found in the Witham bearing the outline of a boar, which seems, according to Mr. Foster, to be our ' national symbol,' and one of those decorated title pages which, in our country at least, seem foredoomed to artistic mishap, we come to the preface and ^ Some Feudal Coats of Arms, hy Joseph Foster, Hon. M.A. Oxon (James Parker & Co., Oxford and London, 1902). O