Coat of Arms: Delgado Family Crest

April 30, 2011
Delgado Family Crest

copyright ©2011 Sean Wells y Delgado

[Read more about the Delgado Family Crest origin and symbolism below.]

It was so timely that I viewed parts of the inspiring Royal Wedding on the same day that I intended to write the post for my recently completed Delgado Family Coat of Arms.  In the highlights of the wedding, the various media showed glimpses of the handsome program given out to guests.  As a graphic artist, I was very curious to view the layout and design of such a prominent visual article.  I checked online to see if there were any opportunities to view the program and was so pleased to find our most generous new royal couple had the forethought to share the program free online for all to see!

Click here to visit the official site to download the Official Program from the wedding of Catherine and William

Well, there were some very beautiful layouts.  I love the black and white photo of them.  I love the charming watercolor map of the parade route.  Although, I found the font layouts on most of the rest of the pages quite boring.  But, that’s not really what I wanted to mention here on this blog.  What really moved me to get on my article was the beautiful Coat of Arms layout (pg 25 of the program) that shows the crests of both families with text describing the symbolism.  It’s just wonderful.

The program goes into the clever symbolism shown in both William’s Royal crest and Catherine’s family crest.  I especially loved the playful visual split down the middle of Catherine’s family coat of arms as a pun reference to the name “Middleton.”

After completing the Delgado Family Crest using traditional retablo techniques, I had talked to my husband about the meaning and significance of the imagery to our kids.  I am not a Delgado by name.  My children are not Delgados.  My married name is Wells.  I am a descendant of one of the original Conquistadors, Manuel Delgado, that settled here in New Mexico more than 400 years ago.  But that is not why I honor the name in my retablo work.  I have incorporate the name in my artwork because it was my great-great grandfather  Francisco Delgado who defined himself as a traditional Spanish Colonial Artisan tinsmith and who made the great effort to give that legacy to his children and grandchildren.  Without him and his perseverance, I would not have found this important element of myself.

So, I thought if I am to use this name, I should understand it more fully.  I have been using a generic Delgado crest here and there, but I thought it would really become a part of me if I painted it using my traditional retablo style and techniques.  I researched the name and crest symbolism.  I took my time with the piece and I reworked many areas, especially the text, to get it just right.

It was a wonderful exercise for me to recreate with my own hands
this symbol  that I had used so liberally to date.  It is a part of me now and I am a part of it.  With each step I take to slow down and kneel to the story of that which came before me, I feel enriched, blessed, honored and humbled to be a part of this flow.

And, now I look at this magnificent fairytale couple, beginning their journey into a life people think they would want, (but would probably hate) and I wish them good will in marrying their two disjointed symbols of family together.  And, they can now add their own symbols to a new crest that both honors the past and gives hope to a better future.  And, I will look forward to painting a Wells crest for my family and my children that will merge the traditional Wells crest (which I have yet to research) and perhaps elements of the Delgado crest into a unique and original crest for this generation.

The family name Delgado originates from the Latin word, “delicatus” (the root of the word “delicate”), and refers to the word “thin” or “fine.”

It is so hard for me to associate these meanings with any Delgado I can remember.  For me, “Delgado” conjures up images of war horses and canons, symbols of strength, power, confidence and leadership.  I am coining the word “aggressive creativity” as part of my description of the modus operandi of a Delgado.  The only association I can remotely connect with thoughts of filiment-like structure in the world of Delgado, is their very presence.  There is something about Delgados that is so fleeting and ethereal.  You cannot hold a Delgado in your hand, in your grip.  So slippery and mobile, Delgados are like the valence cloud around the nucleus of an atom–you may only roughly predict where they might go next.

The center shield in blue represents the quality of loyalty in both a personal sense and towards the Royal obligations owed to Spain.  The 7 eight-pointed stars represent the enlightenment of God.  I loved painting these elements and spent a great deal of time shading and shaping them.  I used to draw this exact eight-pointed dimensional star over and over as a child.  maybe this was why–some genetic memory of my family’s connection.  The blood red second shield represents the quality of honor and forthrightness.  The eight cauldrons represent the wealth of the (presumable) lord and perhaps specific number of estates held at the time.  I only own one at the moment, so maybe I should eliminate 7 cauldrons.  Although, technically, our lot is a compilation of two lots, so maybe I could keep two cauldrons.

Detail of stars on Delgado family crest

The outer shield (described as “silver”) is suspected to have been added later and may have been bestowed on the family by the King of Spain for acts of service for country or it may be some element added as part of a nuptial bond.  The Spanish phrase on the outer ring reads “Ave Maria Gratia Plena,” or “Hail Mary Full of Grace.”  Although I’m not sure if it was intentional, I love the balance of the symbolism of the light of God in the center and the love of Mary on the bounding ring.  This “silver” ring is an especially interesting addition to the crest since the tinsmiths were derived from the silversmiths of Spain.  I would have liked to somehow incorporated a hint of our family tin style, but I asked Jason to add a tin frame around the finished board.  I will post a picture of the finished piece after he tins it up!

I did not leave enough room to put the text in the way I had envisioned so I decided to ghost in the covered letters so that the full words could be read.  Although it was a correction, I ended up liking the effect.  I used a font with the thought that the letters should look carved from the material and added highlights using color lifting and shading as needed.  I used a more traditional calligraphic font for the “Delgado” banner.

Delgado calligraphy banner

This piece will be available in the Tintero Gallery in Old Town (as soon as Jason finishes the tin frame) and will soon be available online.  It measures 7″ x 12″ before the tin.  I’ll be offering framed and unframed prints soon as well!



  1. Sean,

    You’ve outdone yourself, artistically and in writing this post. It made me cry. I hope other members of the Delgado family see this, and see how much love you’ve put into your work. On behalf of them, thank you.

    This piece should stay in the family. Once Jason is finished with the frame, I’d like to purchase it.


    • Hi my name Is Vicente Delgado jr

      I’m trying to find my blood line, hope you can share some of your knowledge.

      My brother got this glass from my uncle who gat it from his aunt who got
      it from his grandpa LOL,,, according to mi uncle Joe Delgado there are
      only 5 of does
      glasses and the Coat of arms is very similar to this one.

      My father Vicente Delgado Delgado he was a trio singer,
      His father name was Fermin Delgado

      I hope to hear from you here is my contact number 321-663-8159

      Thanks for your time

      Have a pleasant day

      • I cant up load picture here
        if you like send me your email for more info

  2. Beautiful, Sean. The retablo and the thoughts you shared connected to it.

  3. Awesome!!! I printed these pages out so Ken could really enjoy reading them.

  4. Fascinating!!!
    Can’t wait to see it.
    Will it be available at the spanish market in Santa Fe this summer?

  5. This particular piece would not qualify under the Spanish Market guidelines of traditional retablo imagery, but I am having a banner made of the image that I will display at my booth and I will be creating some peripheral items like posters, cards, etc of the image that will be available online and at Tintero Gallery.

  6. That was pretty good. If you’ve noticed there’s more than 1 Coat of Arms for the Family; This being one of the earliest versions as The Family married into other kingdoms the Image Changed. This is my Family’s version in the 12th Century they migrated from Santander to Italy then eventually to the New World mostly The Caribbean and Mexico most were Royal Guards making sure the Expedition Sailors would stay in line by this time there was proof that there was wealth for the Crown and The Royals didn’t really trust ex-convicts watching their new found wealth. Our ancestors were Lords but what set them apart was their Loyalty to the Order of Calatrava which was a Militia that served the then Pope Alexander III during the 12th Century. This made then a trusted tool for The Crown and The Vatican. This is what I was told when I was a kid but as everything else it withers away after time and many couldn’t careless. I’m thankful you do and have compiled this information. I had the coat of arms in gold and lost it while in the Caribbean I guess it was my GREAT,GREAT,GREAT Grandfather wanting it back… Que vayas con Dios en tus viajes de busqueda.

    • Hello Cuz, adding to my earlier reply it turns out we are all Sephardic Jews and became conversos or marranos ad they called all converted Jews in España; this explains the reason all of the wealth previously held by the Delgado Family were taken and given an opportunity to leave the Kingdom of Spain or suffer the Inquisition after the Alhambra Treaty. This explains the menorahs my Great Grand Parents had and certain little things that just didn’t make much sense to me. Our family were Lords and Knights in Santander España and as a courtesy they were given the choice to surrender their wealth and titles in order to leave alive without torture for their religious believes they converted because it was worst in Italy and in the New World as with anyone NOT Christian was subjected to torture and death. This is where the Ave Maria Gratia Plena comes from; it was making a statement that YES we believe in Christ (but secretly practicing Judeism) I know it took me by surprise also but I already verified it with my Great Grand Mother who gave me the whole story. After going to Messina Italia, they went to Colombia and eventually Boriquen (Puerto Rico), Hispañola (Dominican Republic/Haiti) as Royal Guards and from there Mexico with Hernan Cortes. And thus is our story, I kept asking: How come the Coat of Arms have 7 Stars of David and then very subtle Ave Maria Gratia Plena Motto and what happened to the Royal Titles how come we don’t hold them?? And she asked me: Where are these questions coming from? Why do you want to know if we’re Jews? And the titles? Then she answered.

      • Hi Ben im Sandra Delgado and i would like to know what your grandmother responded.

        It was intriguing reading this 🙂

  7. Ben, thank you so much for the additional information! Your mention of loyalty to the Crown seems to be a theme with all the Delgado crest stories. I was especially excited to read about the connection to the Order of Calatrava. My husband is a huge Santiago Calatrava (an architect famous for his graceful and bold engineering) fan, so I will have to look a little more into that part of the story. I really love that a family coat of arms is an ever evolving thing and is something I did not understand before researching for this article. Best of luck in your own search, cousin!

  8. Hi,Im a new member of that family and I have that surname. I think would be nice give my feedback.
    Im Cristian Delgado A. and Im Brazilian,my grandma was spanish.
    Well,keep the good work!

  9. Hi, I am a Delgado by birth. I come from the island of Guam in the Marianas, Western Pacific. I loved reading anything about the Delgado.

  10. Thank you, it’s always nice to hear from other Delgados from around the world! Those Conquistadors really did insure propagation of the planet!

  11. Hi. My father was a Delgado from a family in the Canary Islands that moved to Puerto Rico.

  12. Miguel, it’s really incredible how far-reaching the Spanish Colonial settlers were. I was just this morning grasping how many pockets of Spanish Colonial Art there are in the world, but how each type developed its own look based on local materials and influence. Maybe there is a book in that!

  13. Hello, I’m also Delgado by birth,was born in Guadalajara Mexico,living in California now, thank you for sharing ,was really move reading about family members (in a way) that came way way before me, thanks for your work god bless.
    Javier D.

    • Javier, thank you for sharing your positive thoughts, cousin. If you can ever trace your family tree, Manuel Delgado, 2nd in Command to the legendary Don Diego de Vargas, came to New Mexico via Mexico in the 1600’s which would be about 17 generations.

  14. Hi I am a Delgado by birth, born in New York from a family from Puerto Rico, it is always interesting to see how many people their are with the same surname.

  15. hello, I am Delgado by birth as well from New York City from Puerto Rican decent. Well done.

  16. Hello, I would like information about where yo purchase a print when available. Your description and emotional ties are quite moving. I will be marrying a Delgado, and I am from a Scottish Clark clan (maternal side) with grand-maternal roots from the Spitler clan. My paternal side is The Rogers coat of arms. Both, my blood and the family name I wish to join by marriage, I am proud of!

  17. Hi. My name is Veronica martinez born in Argentina. Some how my grandfather’s real surname was Gimenez Delgado from 1800s from Spain. I enjoyed reading your article and made me wonder who are my ancestors. Will do more research.

  18. are we Delgado’s royal. My family is the Caracas venezela Delgado family.

  19. Very interesting my great grandfather was also Francisco Delgado. His son my grandfather my grandfather was Lorenzo Delgado.

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