- Plural of supporter
- Plural of supporter
In heraldry, supporters are figures usually placed on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up. These figures may be real or imaginary animals, human figures, and in rare cases plants or inanimate objects. Often these can have local significance, such as the fisherman and the tin miner granted to Cornwall County Council, or an historical link, such as the lion of England and unicorn of Scotland on the two variations of the Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom. The arms of nutritionist John Boyd-Orr use two garbs (wheat sheaves) as supporters, the arms of the USS Donald Cook, missiles, the arms of the state of Rio Grande do Norte, in Brazil, trees. Letters of the alphabet are used as supporters in the arms of Valencia, Spain.
There is usually one supporter on each side of the shield, though there are some examples of single supporters placed behind the shield, and the arms of Congo provide an extremely unusual example of supporters issuing from behind the shield. While such single supporters are generally eagles (City of Perth, Scotland) with one or two heads, there are other examples, including the cathedra in the case of some Canadian cathedrals. At the other extreme and even rarer the Scottish family Dundas of that Ilk, had three supporters; two conventional red lions and the whole supported by a salamander. The coat of arms of Iceland even has four supporters.
Animal supporters are by default as close to rampant as possible if the nature of the supporter allows it (this does not need to be mentioned in the blazon), though there are some blazoned exceptions. An example of whales 'non-rampant' is the arms of the Dutch municipality of Zaanstad.
CanadaIn Canada, Companions of the Order of Canada, people granted the style "the Right Honourable", and corporations are granted the use of supporters on their coats of arms. Further, on his retirement from office as Chief Herald, Robert Watt was granted supporters as an honour.
New ZealandPrincipal Companions and Knights Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit are granted the use of heraldic supporters.
United KingdomIn the United Kingdom, supporters are typically an example of special royal favour, granted at the behest of the sovereign. Hereditary supporters are normally limited to hereditary peers, certain members of the Royal Family, chiefs of Scottish clans, and Scottish feudal barons whose baronies predate 1587. Non-hereditary supporters are granted to life peers, Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Garter and Order of the Thistle, and Knights and Dames Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Order of St Michael and St George, Royal Victorian Order, and Order of the British Empire. Knights banneret were also granted non-hereditary supporters, but no such knight has been created since the time of Charles I. Supporters may also be granted to corporations which have a Royal charter.
supporters in Czech: Štítonoš
supporters in Danish: Skjoldholder
supporters in German: Schildhalter
supporters in French: Support (héraldique)
supporters in Italian: Sostegni (araldica)
supporters in Hebrew: תומכים (הרלדיקה)
supporters in Hungarian: Pajzstartók
supporters in Dutch: Schildhouder
supporters in Norwegian: Skjoldholder
supporters in Polish: Trzymacze heraldyczne
supporters in Portuguese: Suporte (heráldica)
supporters in Serbian: Држачи штита у хералдици
supporters in Swedish: Sköldhållare