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Brass rubbing - Thomas White, 1610

Thomas White, 1610

  • Object:

    Brass rubbing

  • Place of origin:

    Middlesex (Brass subject in Finchley Church, Middlesex., made)

  • Date:

    post 1610 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Rubbing, paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Surrey Archaeological Society.

  • Museum number:


  • 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

Portrait format brass rubbing of Thomas White. The rubbing contains kneeling effigies and an inscription. White is depicted in civil dress with his 3 wives. With his first wife are 3 sons and 2 daughters, with the second are one son and 3 daughters and with the third are three sons and one daughter.

Place of Origin

Middlesex (Brass subject in Finchley Church, Middlesex., made)


post 1610 (made)


Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Rubbing, paper


Height: 25.625 in, Width: 23 in

Descriptive line

'Thomas White, 1610,' brass rubbing (kneeling effigies and inscription), Finchley Church, Middlesex.

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

Victoria & Albert Museum Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design & Department of Paintings Accessions 1934 London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1935






Rubbings; Commemoration


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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