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Brass rubbing - William and Ursula Hawes with their children

William and Ursula Hawes with their children

  • Object:

    Brass rubbing

  • Place of origin:

    Solihull (Location of original brass. Rubbing would have been made on site.
    Original brass might have been made elsewhere prior to its installation., made)

  • Date:

    1610 (made)
    second quarter 20th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wax rubbing on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs E.R.M. Morris

  • Museum number:

    E.40-1950

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Monumental brasses are commemorative plaques that served as effigies and were most commonly found in churches. The earliest examples come from the thirteenth century but they were popular up until the seventeenth century and then again in the Victorian Gothic Revival. Surviving brasses from the medieval period are limited due to the turbulent history of the Church but they do survive in considerable numbers in the East of England, Germany and Flanders. Made from an alloy of copper and zinc, a material known as latten, they were laid into church floors and walls. Monumental brasses are historically and stylistically significant because they record dress, architecture, armoury, heraldry (coats of arms and insignia) and palaeography (handwriting) in a dated object. In addition they tell the story of memorial and patronage.

The practice of recording brasses through a process of rubbing originates from the Victorian Gothic Revival. An early method of pouring printer’s ink into engraved lines and then placing damp tissue paper over the brass was replaced around the mid-nineteenth century with the more effective technique of using black shoemaker’s wax, known as heel ball. Brass rubbing continued to be a popular hobby into the twentieth century before the process was understood to cause damage to the brasses.

Physical description

Rubbing taken from a memorial brass

Place of Origin

Solihull (Location of original brass. Rubbing would have been made on site.
Original brass might have been made elsewhere prior to its installation., made)

Date

1610 (made)
second quarter 20th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Wax rubbing on paper

Dimensions

Height: 23.5 in From original accession record, Width: 18.75 in From original accession record

Descriptive line

William Hawes with 4 sons and his wife, Ursula (née Colles) with 4 daughters, 1610. Solihull Church, Warwickshire.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings Accessions 1950, London, 1962.
Stephenson, Mill. A List of Monumental Brasses in the British Isles. London, 1926 and Appendix, 1938.

Materials

Wax

Techniques

Rubbing

Categories

Death; Metalwork; Rubbings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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