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  • Place of origin:

    Wales, Great Britain (carved)

  • Date:

    ca. 1550 (made)
    after 1720 (restored)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved and painted oak

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, room 58b, case 5

Object Type
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, although 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. Four heraldic panels survive.

Maenan Hall, Caernarfonshire, was a late 15th-century timber-framed hall belonging to Conwy Abbey. Sir David Kyffin, a wealthy cleric, took possession of the house after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the later 1530s and made it his family seat. He undertook some alterations before his son Maurice Kyffin transformed the house in 1582. It was probably Maurice who commissioned the heraldic panels, to display his status and allegiance to the Queen, Elizabeth I (ruled 1588-1603).

Design & Designing
During the reign of Henry VIII (1509-1547) legislation was passed relating to the use of armorial devices. In order to ensure that they used the correct forms, carvers and painters are known to have owned and consulted pattern-books. Unfortunately, no such patterns survive. 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.

Place of Origin

Wales, Great Britain (carved)


ca. 1550 (made)
after 1720 (restored)


Unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Carved and painted oak


Height: 27.6 cm, Width: 130.8 cm, Depth: 2.9 cm

Object history note

Carved in Wales, one of a set of four

Descriptive line

OAK PANEL with the arms of Kyffin

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The Tudor monarchy provided opportunities for ambitious families all over England and Wales to gain political power and status. Maurice Kyffin, appointed Sheriff of Caernarvon, Wales in 1579, was able to rebuild the Medieval house, Maenan Hall, Caernarfonshire in 1582 with lavish plaster and wood-carved decoration. This wainscot panel probably decorated the great hall at Maenan. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

repainted after 1720


Royalty; Heraldry; Woodwork

Collection code


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