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The Institute Coat of Arms

The design of the ICAEW coat of arms was explained in the ICAEW Report and Accounts 1982.


A Crest and Supporters have been added to the Shield of Arms of the Institute, granted in 1881.

In the original Shield, which is retained unaltered, the 'Female figure proper representing "Economy" ' stems from a book by Cesare Ripa, entitled Iconologia, which appeared in Rome in 1603. The author describes Economia as: 'A matron of serious aspect crowned with olive and holding a compass in her left hand, a rod in her right. Behind her is a rudder. Every family has need of its own particular laws, so she is shown holding a rod signifying command. The rudder is the symbol of guidance. The garland of olive shows that the good economist must necessarily maintain peace in her house. The compass teaches how each economist should measure her powers and so estimate by means of reckoning what she has to spend' The 'compass' might better be described as a pair of compasses or dividers, denoting accurate measurement.

The Shield is now ensigned by a Helm with Mantling, upon which is a Crest, whose main feature is a tower with portals. Twin turrets rise from the tower, and set between them is a heraldic star. The tower suggests a corporate body, well established on a solid foundation of accuracy and care. The twin turrets are an allusion to the double-entry system of book-keeping. The radiated star symbolises the application of electronics to methods of calculation and the speed of communication of data.

In the Helm is a lion's mask, an ornamental feature of Helms in the 19th century and matching the scroll work of the original Shield. A lion and dragon are the Supporters. Each has been garlanded with olive, a wreath of which is about the temples of Economia. Each Supporter has a key of gold fastened to a chain and a blue ring, the key being a symbol of security. The ward of the key held by the lion of England is shaped as an 'E', and the key held by the dragon of Wales has its ward in the form of a 'W.

Red, blue and gold, being the major colours used, appear again in the 'compartment', the base upon which the Supporters stand, which is designed to resemble a chequerboard, originally an aid to monetary calculation. The compartment is made of exactly 100 squares, thus noting emblematically the Institute's centenary.

Extract from The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
President's Statement
Report and Accounts

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