Middlesex: Puffin Picture Books, 1953. Oblong octavo, staple-bound, 32 pages. Original color lithographed wrappers. Color and black-and-white illustrations throughout text. Light dampstain at gutter.
First edition, number 89 in the Puffin Picture Book series edited by Noel Carrington. After a brisk review of some ancient symbols (the Shield of Solomon, Egyptian hierogylphics, Roman coins), Pallant Sidaway turns to his main interest, the history of European heraldry. He covers traditional livery, badges, beasts, and arms, offering pointed commentary on their twentieth-century use: “frequently modern cities employ a symbol referring to the industry on which their prosperity is founded. . . . when local enthusiasm demands the inclusion of a picture of a whole weaving shed, then we reach the ridiculous.” A compressed, informative history of symbolic design.