Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Armorial shield

Armorial shield

  • Place of origin:

    England (possibly, made)
    France (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1500 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved oak, with a dark stain

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 58, case WS

Object Type
This royal coat of arms, of carved oak, is supported by two angels. The arms were used by both the Plantagenet and the Tudor dynasties of English monarchs. It may have been made in France or England.

The style of the piece is late Gothic, and there are parallels in Northern France, Germany and The Netherlands. As yet, there are no signs of the classical influence that would have prevailed at the time in central Italy. Closer to home, there is a similarity between the massive angular folds of the angels' draperies and those of the angels on the tomb of Sir Edmund Gorges in All Saints, Wraxall, Somerset (about 1520). The poses of the angels, in an S-curve, are similar to those of angels on the tomb of Sir Richard Knightley (died 1534) in St Mary's, Fawsley, Northamptonshire.

Place of Origin

England (possibly, made)
France (possibly, made)


ca. 1500 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved oak, with a dark stain


Height: 25.4 cm, Width: 125 cm, Depth: 6 cm maximum

Object history note

Probably made in England or France. An almost identical pair of angels, but supporting a different shield,and the whole carving painted and gilded, is at Knebworth House, Hertfordshire,in the State Drawing Room, illustrated in the guidebook, 2005, p. 39. This suggests that both carvings may have been in the antique trade in London in the 1840s, when Crace was creating his antiquarian interiors at Knebworth.

Comparable carvings with paired angels supporting shields:
Burrell Collection Glasgow 50/101 - shield of Scotland, 10 x 52", with traces of pigment. Bought 1934 for £75 from Hunt
Burrell Collection Glasgow 50/102 - shield of France
A note on the Burrell inventory cards suggests that two more similar are in the Met. NY

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

Charles Tracy, English Medieval Furniture and Woodwork (London, 1988), cat. no. 269.

'Shield or Arms, carved with the Royal Arms of England, as borne by the Plantagenet kings, supported on either side by a winged angel flying horizontally and wearing a long flowing robe (PL.90).
Oak, Early 16th century
25.4 x 1.25 cm
Mus. No. W. 34 -1927
This is sculpture of high quality, and in view of the eccentricity of the heraldry (the lions passant guardant are facing in the wrong direction), could just as easily be French as English. However the bulky angular folds of the drapery can be matched on the angels in the early sixteenth-century tomb of Sir Edmund Gorges at Wraxall, Avon (FIG.54).The rhythmic swinging S-curve of the figures is echoed in the slightly less accomplished but stylistically related figures on the tomb of Sir Richard Knightley (d.1534) at Fawsley, Northants'.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The angel figures suggest that this fragment had a religious use, perhaps as a piece of church furnishing from a screen or choir stalls. The angular quality of the folds of cloth evokes an older, medieval style of carving that was soon to be replaced by fashionable Italian styles. Naked cherubs were more common as heraldic supporters in Henry VIII's reign. [27/03/2003]




Furniture and Woodwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.