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Panel

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1540 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oak, carved, painted and gilded.

  • Museum number:

    W.74-1911

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 58, case 1

During the Tudor period heraldic motifs and mottoes were often incorporated into the interior and exterior decoration of a building. Craftsmen exploited the motifs for their intrinsic decorative qualities, though it was the information that they conveyed about the status and wealth of the owner that was most important. This panel would have originally formed part of a richly painted and gilded scheme of carved wall decoration.

The panel is one of a set of four which are said to have come from Windsor Castle. Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547) encouraged the use of heraldry in the decoration of his residences, as well as in the dress of his subjects and servants. At Hampton Court Palace the principal decorative motifs were the coats of arms and badges of the King and Queen. Set in windows, moulded on ceilings, embroidered on hangings and upholstery and carved in stone above gate and doorways, they had to be changed each time Henry remarried.

During Henry VIII's reign legislation was passed relating to the use of armorial devices. To ensure that they used the correct forms, carvers and painters owned and consulted pattern books. Unfortunately, none of these books survives. However, there are surviving royal records of arms and heraldic beasts, for example, those by Sir Thomas Wriothesley (died 1534), Henry VIII's Garter King of Arms. These records would have been used to give advice to painters involved in the decoration of the royal palaces.

Physical description

Panel of carved oak with traces of colour and gilding. In the centre is a shield carved with the arms of the Prince of Wales; three ostrich feathers which pass through a crown with rays behind, and spring from a label bearing an inscription. The shield is surrounded by pomegranates of conventional form amid interlacing stalks and leaves.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1540 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Oak, carved, painted and gilded.

Marks and inscriptions

'I HC DROIT'
On a scroll beneath the arms of the Prince of Wales

Dimensions

Height: 62.7 cm, Width: 31.4 cm, Depth: 1 cm approx

Object history note

Said to have come from Windsor Castle.

Purchased from Mr. G.R. Harding, St. James's Square, along with W.74, 75 and 76-1911

Historical context note

The Prince of Wales's feathers is the heraldic badge of the Prince of Wales. It consists of three white feathers emerging from a gold coronet. A ribbon below the coronet conventionally bears his motto Ich dien (a contraction of the German for "I serve", ich diene).

The lettering here IHC DROIT may be a conflation by the panel's carver of ich dien and the monarch's motto Dieu et mon droit (French,"God and my right").

Descriptive line

English 1540 painted and carved oak

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

Clifford Smith, H., Catalogue of English furniture & woodwork. Vol. I, Gothic and early Tudor, (Percy Lund, Humphries & Co., London, 1929)

Labels and date

“Four panels. Painted and gilded oak, carved with pomegranates and with the devices of Edward, Prince of Wales, English; dated 1540, W73-76-1911” []

Materials

Oak

Techniques

Painting; Carving; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Crowns; Feathers; Coats of arms; Pomegranates

Categories

Woodwork; Interiors; Heraldry

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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