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Brass rubbing
  • Brass rubbing
    Wallis, Arthur Bertram Ridley, born 1864 - died 1931
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Brass rubbing

  • Place of origin:

    Oxfordshire (Rubbing from a brass in Little Wittenham Church, Oxfordshire, made)

  • Date:

    1864-1931 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wallis, Arthur Bertram Ridley, born 1864 - died 1931 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wax rubbing of monumental brass on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Wallis

  • Museum number:

    E.3548-1932

  • 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 made up of three parts from the brass of David Kidwelly aligned on a single sheet. The effigy depicts him in civil dress with his hands in prayer. Beneath his feet are the accompanying inscription and below that a faint rubbing of his shield.

Place of Origin

Oxfordshire (Rubbing from a brass in Little Wittenham Church, Oxfordshire, made)

Date

1864-1931 (made)

Artist/maker

Wallis, Arthur Bertram Ridley, born 1864 - died 1931 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Wax rubbing of monumental brass on paper

Dimensions

Height: 25 in, Width: 17.25 in

Descriptive line

Rubbing of a brass depicting an effigy, inscription and shield of David Kidwelly (d.1454), porter of the palace of Henry VI, shown in civil dress, from Little Wittenham Church in Oxfordshire, 1864-1931

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

Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings Accessions 1932 London: HMSO, 1932.

Production Note

In the Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings Accessions 1932 London: HMSO, 1932, it states that 'The eighty-six rubbings of bell-inscriptions, brasses, slabs, etc., numbered E. 3505-3584-1932 and E. 3672-3677-1932, were made by the late Arthur Bertram Ridley Wallis, M.A., B.C.L., B.Sc., Barrister-at-Law, the Temple, London, Fellow Commoner of Worcester College, Oxford, Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge, Freeman of Newcastle (b. 1864, d. 1931).'

Materials

Paper

Techniques

Rubbing

Subjects depicted

Heraldry; Inscription; Effigy

Categories

Rubbings; Christianity; Commemoration; Heraldry; Death

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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