"Her fine high forehead sloped gently up to where her hair, bordering it like an armorial shield, burst into lovelocks and waves and curlicues of ash blonde and gold"

Armorial Shield

Canadian Coat of Arms - armorial shield in centre.
Creative Commons AttributionCanadian Coat of Arms - armorial shield in centre. - Credit: Douglas Sprott

In heraldry, an armorial shield or escutcheon is the shield employed in a coat of arms. Today it is commonly referred to as a crest, and takes its shape from the shields used by medieval knights in combat.



A lovelock is a long, flowing lock or curl dressed separately from the rest of the hair. A popular style in the 17th century, lovelocks were longer than the rest of the hair and were treated as special features often curled into a long ringlet, braided, or tied at the end with a ribbon or rosette. They were worn by both men and women, but were particularly popular with young men.  They were the subject of some scandal, with contemporary author William Prynne describing the wearing of lovelocks as, "unlovely, sinfull, unlawfull, fantastique, disolute, singular, incendiary, ruffianly, graceless, whorish, ungodly, horred [horrid], strange, outlandish, impudent, pernicious, offensive, ridiculous, foolish, childish, unchristian, hateful, exorbitant, contemptible, sloathfull, unmanly, depraving, vaine, and unseemly" .