(arms of Laurent Granier)
Laurent Granier is perhaps the premier French heraldic artist with a vast knowledge of French heraldry. A descendent of a minor noble family of the Duchy of Savoy, he has been active since 1995 and enjoys a broad recognition of his work worldwide. Many have included him in the company of the so called “masters” and I cannot say that I blame them.
As opposed to other artists who had the privilege to study at an art instruction school, Granier is entirely self-taught in the techniques of graphics and design. His innate talents came out and developed through trial and error over the years. However, he has benefited from speaking and consulting with professionals in the field, especially in that of the heraldic arts.
Having graduated with a Master’s degree in History and Modern French Letters, he began working as a heraldic artist in 1995. Being the talented artist that he is, his name began circulating in heraldic circles, first in France and then elsewhere. By 2006, a mere decade after entering the field professionally, he had become established enough that the Vlaamse Heraldische Raad (Flemish Heraldic Authority) had asked him to become of their staff heraldic artists.
Granier’s bilingual website (in French and English) http://www.laurentgranier.com shares a lot of information about the artist, his work and the services he provides. He also lists , in chronological order, the exhibitions he has had over the years through 1995. The website also includes a lot of interesting information on heraldry in general but also specifics to the environment in France and the minor details that most would not know, especially those outside of France. A case in point are the pages “Overview of Heraldry”, where he shares information from Michel Pastoureau’s book “Traité d’héraldique”, and the one titled “Advices”. However, my favorite besides the gallery (of course) is the page “More Information” where a list of excellent books is presented that would allow a researcher to expand upon their knowledge of Heraldry and specifically, French Heraldry.
This noted artist has been commissioned to emblazon arms by customers with very exacting demands and an expectation of perfection over the years. Some of the recipients of his emblazonments have included Cardinal Philippe Barbarin (2004), Cardinal Louis-Marie Billé (2001) and Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza (1997). In 2005 he was asked by the Prefect of the Pontifical House to create a few black and white sketches of the arms of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
His media exposure has included newspaper and journal publications, conferences, personal and group exhibitions as well as working on the heraldry of the 2006 French film “Les Aristos”.
Samples of his work are displayed in this entry and many more images can be viewed in the gallery hosted on the website mentioned above.
It must be noted that not only is Laurent Granier a most excellent heraldic artist, he also has extensive experience in navigating the often confusing waters of heraldic legislation in France. This is a talent, as well as a knowledge base, that is very rare to find and I’m sure can prove helpful to those interested in their rights in the French jurisdiction.
When commissioned to design a coat of arms, his research is extensive spending hours going through books, manuscripts and other resources that most haven’t even heard of, let alone thought of. His formal academic training achieved by obtaining a Master’s degree in French History and Letters from the University of Grenoble in 1991 further validates the rigor of his work. The arms above of Champs de St Léger were derived by researching such obscure sources as the Tacuinum Sanitatis so as to come up with truly unique and expressive arms.
In the case of the arms above of Ms. Maureen Yeo from Singapore, Granier accomplished to fuse the best European heraldic tradition with the Asian tradition of the armiger. Notice the charges, helm and crest all being Asian inspired but the combination 100% traditional heraldry!
Naturally, as with most other heraldic artists, emblazoning heraldic achievements is not all this extremely talented artist does. What you see above is a simple, yet masterfully executed Ex Libris (or bookplate) for Mr. Michel Popoff, President of the International Academy Of Heraldry.
An outstanding heraldic artist who’s work not only accomplishes what an armiger desires in an emblazonment but they can also stand alone as works of art.