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Plaque

  • Place of origin:

    Aragon (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1420 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Copper-gilt, champlevé enamel

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W.L. Hildburgh

  • Museum number:

    M.25-1954

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 9, The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Gallery, case 1

The arms upon this plaque reveal the identity of the original owner, but their identity is now unknown. The left-hand side of this coat of arms incorporates those of Aragon, indicating that the family came from this region. The right-hand side shows a stag, perhaps a family badge, and possibly a visual pun on the family name..The plaque would have been attached to a larger object, perhaps a casket for treasured possessions, or a coach harness.

Physical description

Copper- gilt and champlevé enamel . Raised border in the form of a six pointed star within a sexfoil.The left-hand side of this coat of arms incorporates the arms of Aragon, Spain, indicating that the family came from that region. The right-hand side represents a stag, perhaps a visual pun on the family's nam. The plaque would have been attached to a larger object, perhaps a casket for treasured possessions.

Place of Origin

Aragon (made)

Date

ca.1420 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Copper-gilt, champlevé enamel

Dimensions

Height: 7.5 cm, Width: 7.5 cm

Object history note

Former loan.

Historical significance: This plaque exemplifies the growth of interest in heraldry and heraldic ornament from the thirteenth century onwards. The developing interest in heraldry coincided with the increasing use of enamel on metalwork. Enamel was the only means of permanently colouring metal and was thus a crucual technique in the expression of heraldic language.

Heraldic devices such as this one were used as symbols of identity. Coats of arms also conveyed a sense of status. In England only certain individuals were given the right to bear arms by the King. Individuals often incorporated the arms of their ancestors into their heraldic devices in order to promote their position as part of an important family or dynasty.

Historical context note

The assembly mark on the back of this plaque indicates that it was originally part of a larger object, probably a casket. It would have been attached to the casket with small copper nails.

The arms upon this plaque are those of Timbor de Cabrera, wife of Juan de Fernandez, Señor de Hijar (married 1418). Timbor de Cabrera and her husband were members of the Spanish nobility. They had family connections with the houses of Aragon and Navarre, whose heraldic devices are found on these arms. The symbol of the goat upon the coat of arms may be a pun on the family name of Cabrera. The word for goat in Spanish is cabra.

The depiction of Timbor's arms upon a casket may indicate that the casket was a gift to her, or that she presented it as a gift.

Descriptive line

Plaque showing the arms of Timbor de Cabrera on a lozenge on a black ground with gold foliage, copper gilt and champlevé enamel, Spain, 15th century.

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

Cherry, John Medieval Decorative art, British Museum Press, 1991, p.24

Materials

Copper-gilt; Enamel

Techniques

Champlevé

Subjects depicted

Star; Goat; Arms

Categories

Metalwork; Enamels

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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