Jiří Louda

Coats of Arms of the Knights of the Order of the Garter

A unique book and exhibition to mark the occasion of 100 years since the birth of Jiří Louda.

An author of illustrations and a leading Czech heraldry expert

Jiří Louda (1920—2015)

A Czech heraldry expert with a British signature, a modest hero with a “knight’s blood”

Knights have not yet died out. This is clearly demonstrated both by the impressive collection of coats of arms of the most renowned English order of knights, as well as by the life of Jiří Louda. Today he is familiar to most people primarily as the author of the design for the Czech national coat of arms, but his life story offers us much more than just his admirable work in the field of heraldry, and is not lacking in adventure.

Jiří Louda was a great populariser of heraldry, with an inimitable, British-influenced style, a member of the International Academy of Heraldry, the creator of hundreds of emblems of Czech municipalities, and among other matters was also a soldier. He spent the Second World War in Great Britain, where he became a paratrooper in the RAF. It was here in the British Isles that his lifelong fascination with coats of arms of the knights of the Order of the Garter was first awakened. His passion resulted in the creation of a work that won him the acclaim of heraldry experts the world over.

In 1968 Louda was promoted to the rank of major in retirement, and in 1991 to the rank of colonel in retirement. In 2000 he was awarded a medal for his services by President Václav Havel, and he also received honours from the City of Olomouc and the Olomouc region, where he spent most of his life. In 2004 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Palacký University in Olomouc.

Story behind the book

Jiří Louda: Coats of Arms of the Knights of the Order of the Garter

For almost 700 years the Order of the Garter has maintained an aura of a prestigious community of knights. Since the very beginning, the most distinctive element of this influential English club, at the head of which stands Queen Elizabeth II, has been the individual heraldic emblems of all its members. And it is precisely these coats of arms that form the chief content of the book.

For Jiří Louda these emblems became his lifelong hobby and muse from the time when he first encountered the activity of the order during his military posting in England. A total of 1036 illustrated coats of arms were found in Louda’s estate, and these form the cornerstone of this publication, which is entirely unique and exceptional in terms of its scope and production. The book has been prepared for publication in a superb dual-language volume by Palacký University Press in Olomouc.

All the materials and source documents for the publication were salvaged “at one minute to midnight” thanks to the endeavours of Louda’s grandchildren and friends and form a separate collection in the Regional Museum Olomouc. A box found on the street after his flat had been cleared out, second-hand bookshops both in the Czech Republic and abroad, illustrations scattered among his extended family – it was here we that found the fragments of the lifelong work of this renowned heraldry expert.

It took a full year before the materials could be processed. In the autumn of 2020 Palacký University Press is publishing all these treasures in a superb dual-language edition. Without his enchantment with England, Jiří Louda’s magnum opus would never have come to be, and for this reason the volume is to be published in an English-Czech version. Louda’s work and illustrating style have an international crossover, offering a connecting link between Olomouc and Great Britain. And thanks to this publication a circle is completed in the remarkable life and legacy of a Czech heraldry expert with a drop of British blood.


Exhibition

Jiří Louda

Within the framework of the anniversary of the birth and death of Jiří Louda, from autumn 2020 a thematic exhibition will be held in the Regional Museum in Olomouc. Further information about the exhibition is available on the website www.vmo.cz

From 25. 9. 2020

To 10. 1. 2021

10.00 – 17.00

Vlastivědné muzeum Olomouc

Authors of publication

Michal Šimůnek

Author of biography of Jiří Louda

Michal Šimůnek has engaged in long-term research into the lives of the father and son Zdeněk and Jiří Louda. He works at the Institute of Contemporary History at the Czech Academy of Sciences

Karel Müller

Author and editor of heraldry section

A friend and colleague of Jiří Louda, Karel Müller is a historian, archivist and heraldry expert, and the director of the Provincial Archive in Opava.

Karel Podolský

author and curator of the exhibition in the Regional Museum Olomouc

Historian and administrator of the collection “Jiří Louda” in the Regional Museum Olomouc. From the beginning, he was involved in saving Louda’s estate and was a member of the team that initiated the publication of the book.

Radim Měsíc

Graphic design of publication

Radim Měsíc is a graphic artist from Olomouc. His artistic career began with his study at Palacký University in Olomouc.

References

Friends and experts on the book Coats of Arms of the Order of the Garter

Jaroslav Miller

rector, Palacký University Olomouc

Jiří Louda is a prototype of a modest hero, who combines the qualities of lifelong diligence and courage. I am extremely pleased that his life’s work has now been rewarded by this superb edition.

Tomáš Krejčík

Chairman of the Moravian Genealogy and Heraldry Society

This book is a tribute to the internationally recognised heraldry expert Jiří Louda, whose graphic conception of coats of arms is inimitable, and is fully on display in this volume.

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Contact

Distribution and printing of the book is secured by Palacký University Press

Aleš Prstek

director, Palacký University Press
+420 585 631 704
ales.prstek@upol.cz     

Address

Biskupské nám. 1
771 11 Olomouc
www.vydavatelstvi.upol.cz

Palacký University Press

For more than 26 years we have specialised in academic publications, and we are familiar with the specifics of the academic environment. The annual publishing production represents approximately 200 publications, which ranks Palacký University Press among the leading publishing houses in the Czech Republic.

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