The first edition of Segong's Armorial universel was printed in Paris in 1654,
and it was so popular that a second edition was printed as early as
This work is valuable both from the point of view of heraldic art for the
197 plates engraved on copper by Pierre Nolin, and as a witness of the
dignitaries, of French and other nationalities, during the reign of Louis
XIV, the Sun King: it comprises not only the coats of arms of the royal
house, of the aristocracy and the most important French church dignitaries
of the time, but also those of the main British and German families, of the
cardinals created by Paul V, Gregory XV, Urban VIII and, lastly, by Innocent
X Pamphili, of whom a fine papal coat of arms is shown. There are also the
coats of arms of the Swiss cantons, of the Iberian peninsular kingdoms and
of the cities and territories of the present day Belgium and Holland.
The volume also includes the arms of eminent literary figures such as the
Duke of La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680), author of the renowned Maximes, and the
Cardinal of Retz (1613-1679), famous member of the French branch of the
Florentine Gondi family.
Preceded by a brief illustrated disquisition on the science of the blazon,
all the coats of arms are clearly and finely drawn with indications of the
tinctures; many are embellished with crowns, supports and crests, some are
hung with the insignia of knightly orders such as those of Malta and
Saint-Michel, others again indicate alliances by marriage: the end result is
an unusually elegant, illustrated treatise on heraldry.