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Dictionary of Vexillology: G (Gradiant Fill - Gyrons)

Last modified: 2013-05-20 by rob raeside
Keywords: vexillological terms |
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The printing/computer graphics term that may be used when a charge, or a flag's field, is composed of two or more different colours that gradually merge into each other – fountain fill.

badge - Dominica 1955 – 1965 flag - Dominica 1955 – 1965 Christlich-Soziale Union, Bavaria, German ista di Pietro - Italia dei Valori L'Ulivo, Italy
Badge and Flag of Dominica 1955 – 1965 (fotw): Flag of the Christlich-Soziale Union, Bavaria, Germany (fotw); Flag of Lista di Pietro - Italia dei Valori (fotw); Flag of L'Ulivo, Italy (fotw)

Please note that a gradient fill is not found in heraldry and is very rarely employed in classic flag design, but may be seen on some modern (particularly commercial and especially printed) flags.

See ‘optical proportions’.

president of France
Current Presidential Flag of France (fotw)

The heraldic term used to describe that section of a shield or banner of arms that is further subdivided by being impaled or quartered, and generally employed when one or more sets of quartered, quarterly or impaled arms are displayed with another either so divided or otherwise (see also ‘impaled’, ‘quarter’, ‘quartered’, ‘quartering’, ‘quarterly’ and ‘shield’).

Royal Standard 1603 – 1649 1660 – 1707, UK Standard of HM Queen Mary of Teck, UK National Arms, Spain 1938 – 1945 State Flag, Spain 1938 – 1945
Royal Standard 1603 – 1649 1660 – 1707, UK (fotw); Standard of HM Queen Mary of Teck 1867 - 1953, UK (Klaus-Michael Schneider); National Arms and State Flag, Spain 1938 – 1945 (fotw)

See ‘continental colors’.

Grand Union
Grand Union/Continental Colours 1775 – 1777, US (fotw)

See ‘coronet 2)’.

Grand-ducal bonnet
Lesser Arms of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (fotw)

see 'St. Nino's cross'

St. Nino's Cross
Flag of Ninotsminda, Georgia (fotw)

see 'memorial flag'

The term, now obsolete, for a banner showing all the quarterings of a deceased person's coat of arms for use at that person's funeral (see also ‘achievement of arms 2)’, ‘badge banner’, ‘banner 1)’, ‘bannerole’, ‘coat of arms 2)’, ‘grumphion’, ‘quartering’ and ‘livery banner’).

Please note that according to English heraldry the sizes of a great banner were originally as follows: that of an Emperor; six feet square, a King; five feet square. a Prince or Duke; four feet square, a Marquis, Earl, Viscount, Baron, and Knight-baronet; three feet square.

See ‘great star flags’.

[Great Luminary Pattern]
Great Luminary/Star Pattern of 34 Stars (1861), US (fotw)

A term, now obsolete, for the Scottish heraldic standard as flown from a fixed staff, and there are indications that it was the largest of three sizes (see also ‘battle standard’, ‘standard 5)’, and ‘pageant standard’).

[Great Standard]
Standard of the Laird of Clan Arbuthnott (The Flag Center)

The term used for those US national flags whose canton shows the stars arranged in the form of a single larger star, and in unofficial use (particularly – but not exclusively - upon merchant vessels) from 1818 until c1865 - the great luminary pattern (see also ‘Betsy Ross flag’, ‘continental colours’, ‘Franklin flag’, ‘old glory’, ‘quincunx’, ‘star-spangled banner’ and ‘stars and stripes’).

[Great Star flag] [Great Star flag] [Great Star flag]
Great Star Patterns of 20, 26 and 33 Stars (1818, 1837 & 1859), US

1) In UK usage, the pattern of Union Flag displayed by military colours and originally authorized on 30 August 1900 (see also ‘colour 2)’, ‘colours 2)’ and ‘union jack 1)’).
2) In US usage, a term referring to the 1775 pattern of national flag and occasionally used in place of grand union or continental colours – see ‘continental colours’.

Great Union
The Great Union, UK (fotw)

See under ‘arms’.

Greater Arms of Bremen  Greater Arms of Sweden
Greater Arms of Bremen, Germany and of Sweden (fotw)

The term for a cross whose four arms are straight-sided and of equal length, and which may, or may not, extend to edges of the flag, panel or canton it occupies (see also ‘balkenkreuz’, ‘couped 2)’ and ‘cross-couped’ in ‘appendix VIII’).

Greek cross example Greek naval flag Switzerland
From left: Example, Naval Jack, Greece (otw); National Flag of Switzerland (fotw)

IIn UK usage a term, now obsolete, for the red and white striped flag of the Honourable East India Company. This flag was introduced as an ensign c1600 and worn as such outside home waters from c1676–1824, fter which it was flown as a jack by vessels of the Bombay Marine until 1863 (see also ‘continental olours’, ‘ensign’, ‘jack’ and ‘red ensign’).

[HEIC flag] [England] [United Kingdom]
From left: HEIC Flags, England c1600–1707; UK 1707–1801; UK 1801-1864 (fotw)

Thirteen is the usual number of stripes shown, but that nine or eleven are occasionally seen in contemporary flag books.
b) Information suggests the existence of a gridiron flag bearing a Cross of St George overall (as illustrated below), and that it was worn by armed vessels of the HIEC, however, no further details can be confirmed at this present time.

 [HEIC flag]
Flag of the HIEC bearing a Cross of St George c1820 (Pete Loeser & Željko Heimer)

See ‘millstone’.

[HEIC flag]
Flag of Záříčí, Czech Republic (fotw)

Please note that a grindstone can also be a wheel upon which knives etc. are sharpened, and that such an implement has not - as far as is known - yet appeared on flags.

1) A hole or eyelet, reinforced by stitching or an inserted metal ring, usually found at both ends of the heading on the hoist of a flag, through which clips, attached to the halyard pass - see ‘Inglefield clip
 (also ‘Appendix I’, ‘clip and grommet’, 'hoist 2)', 'tack', and 'halyard').
2) In naval heraldry the rope decoration that often surrounds a ship's badge - sometimes (and incorrectly) referred to as a ship's crest - see ‘ship's crest’ (see also ‘badge 3)’).

Please note with regard to 1) that Lt (later Admiral) Edward Inglefield RN patented this system in 1890.

See ‘clip and grommet’.

clip and grommet example
Željko Heimer

See ‘field’.

See ‘command pennant’.

[Group Command Pennant, Spain]
Group Command Pennant, Spain (fotw)

A Scottish term, now obsolete, for a small funeral flag bearing a death's head.

See ‘Appendix V’.

Royal Banner of Denmark
Royal Banner of Denmark c1300 (fotw)

In particularly (but not exclusively) US usage, a flag which symbolizes the office of governor.

Hawaii governor's flag Nevada governor's flag Nevada governor's flag
Flag of the Governor of Hawaii, US (fotw); Flag of the Governor of Michigan, US (fotw); Flag of the Governor of Nevada. US (fotw)

In US usage the practice, almost certainly obsolete, of flying a blue flag with a white descending diagonal stripe from the starboard yardarm (or spreader) of a pleasure vessel when a guest is on board but the owner is absent (see also ‘descending diagonal’, ‘dinner flag’, ‘meal pennant’, ‘owner absent flag’ and ‘yardarm’).

guest on board flag
Guest on Board Flag, US (fotw)

1) In US and some other military usage, a small, generally swallow-tailed flag used by army formations below battalion level - company, battery, troop, platoon, detachment – and at group level in the air force (but see also ‘fanion 2)’ and ‘swallow tail(ed)’).
2) In UK and some other military usage, the swallow-tailed flag (sometimes double-tailed descate, descate or other variations) that is the cavalry equivalent of an infantry regimental colour, and still displayed on fighting vehicles by their successors (see also ‘colour 2)’, ‘cornet’, ‘descate’, ‘double-tailed descate’, ‘hussar cut’ and ‘rounded swallow-tail’).
3) A Scottish flag 2.40m long, tapering to a rounded (or lanceolate) fly, it has a body in livery colours, with the owner's crest or badge at the hoist and his motto in the fly, and is used by lairds who have a following but are not peers or feudal barons – see ‘pennon 3)’ (also ‘badge in heraldry’, ‘lanceolate’, ‘livery colours’, ‘motto’ and ‘pinsel’)..
4) Generically, any small swallow-tailed flag.

Guidon of the Blues and Royals, UK (Graham Bartram)

Please note, some sources suggest that the term is derived from guide-homme (guide-man), but this remains unproven, and the similarity with the medieval terms ‘geton’, ‘giton’ or ‘gytton’ cannot be ignored.

A term used to describe the individual segment or segments of a geometric carpet design and usually employed to describe those on the national flag of Turkmenistan.

National Flag of Turkmenistan (fotw)

A heraldic term for the colour red (see also ‘Appendix III’ and ‘rule of tincture’).

[colour example]

1) A form of saluting, ashore and afloat, in which 21 blank rounds are fired by artillery or naval guns to honour a country or its flag.
2) A form of saluting in which an appropriate number of guns are fired to honour a head of state, other dignitary, or a senior officer, or the flag representing him (see also ‘broad pennant’, ‘distinguishing flag 1)’, ‘flag of command’, ‘flagship’ and ‘rank flag 1)’).

In an exchange of such salutes, naval officers receive the number of guns appropriate to their rank - that is an Admiral of the Fleet/five star admiral/grand admiral - 19 guns; Admiral - 17 guns; Vice Admiral - 15 guns; Rear Admiral – 13 guns, whilst a Commodore receives 11 guns and a Captain only seven.
b) In some countries a celebratory salute of as many as 101 guns may be fired at the birth of a royal heir or other occasion of national celebration (example--50 guns at noon on 4 July at US Army posts), and that minute guns (that is one shot fired every minute) may be fired in connection with the death or funeral of a person entitled to a gun salute.

A medieval term, now obsolete, for a gonfanon (see ‘gonfanon’).

See ‘gouttes’.

Flag of Samnanger, Norway (fotw)

The heraldic term for when the field of a flag or shield is divided into sectors (called gyrons or girons) radiating from or near the centre of the flag or shield – typically eight in heraldic practice, but an undetermined number on flags – Geronny or Gironné. See ‘radiant’ plus ‘cross gyronny’ (and compare with ‘radiating’, ‘sector(s) 1)’, ‘sectored 2)’ and ‘flammes’). See supplemental note

[gyronny] [gyronny] [gyronny]
From left: Fafe, Portugal (Sérgio Horta); Naval Jack of the Netherlands (CS); Flag of Ceuta, Spain (fotw)

See ‘cross gyronny’ in ‘appendix VIII

[gyronny cross]
Flag of Eelde, The Netherlands (fotw)

See ‘flammes’.

[gyronny wavy]
Flag of Mulhouse, Germany 1770 – 1798 (fotw)

See ‘gyronny’.

Flag of Balneário Camboriú, Brazil (fotw)

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