Thomas C. Jack was a publisher in London and in the mid 1800s printed fascinating engravings of the heraldry used by British noble families.
Heraldry is a system of visual identification that started in the Middle Ages to differentiate knights on the battle field. Every symbol in a heraldic design has meaning, hence a system of visual language developed around heraldry. The designs were meant to be impressive and seen at distance, so had large, contrasting features and colours.
As time went by, noble families wanted everyone to know how important they were. As most people could not read, heraldry was the perfect, visual way for them to brag of their accomplishments. So, heraldry started to be used away from the battle field. Noble families would use heraldry on ceremonial cloths, shields, banners, letterheads, tapestries and anywhere else it may be seen.