Fragment of decoration, head of a crowned lion thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Fragment of decoration, head of a crowned lion

Relief
1518-1522 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This relief fragment in cream coloured terracotta formed part of a decorative frieze at Suffolk Place, Southwark, the palace of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, brother in law to Henry VIII. This and other reliefs were excavated on the site of the house in 1937. Suffolk Place was a vast house built between 1518 and 1522 by Charles Brandon for his wife Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII. It is the earliest example of a Tudor courtyard house known to have carried this type of extensive terracotta decoration. This use of terracotta quickly became fashionable and appeared on other buildings commissioned by Henry VIII's courtiers, including Cardinal Wolsey's York Place (later Whitehall) and Hampton Court Palace.
Charles Brandon was an orphan raised at the court of Henry VII and became a life-long friend of Henry VIII, who made him 1st Duke of Suffolk in 1514. The Duke was one of Henry VIII's most powerful courtiers.

The relief is made of moulded clay that was dried and fired to create terracotta (literally 'cooked earth'), a material suitable for use as external decoration. Although building projects such as Suffolk Place were on a vast scale, by using a cheap raw material and a reproductive method of manufacture the buildings could be decorated economically and speedily.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Terracotta
Brief Description
Relief, cream terracotta, from a frieze excavated from Suffolk Place (Southwark, London) showing a crowned lion's head, English, 1518-1522
Physical Description
Octagonal relief in cream terracotta. The head of a crowned lion facing three-quarters to the left. The tongue protrudes from the open jaws. The lower left-hand corner is broken away.
Dimensions
  • Height: 32cm
  • Width: 28cm
Object history
Found during excavations in 1937 for a new building for Messrs Mosers on the site of Suffolk, the place of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, brother-in-law to Henry VIII. Given to the Museum by Messrs Mosers Ltd, Iron Steel & Hardware Merchants, Borough High Street, Southwark, London in 1938, together with cat. nos. 33 to 43.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This relief fragment in cream coloured terracotta formed part of a decorative frieze at Suffolk Place, Southwark, the palace of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, brother in law to Henry VIII. This and other reliefs were excavated on the site of the house in 1937. Suffolk Place was a vast house built between 1518 and 1522 by Charles Brandon for his wife Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII. It is the earliest example of a Tudor courtyard house known to have carried this type of extensive terracotta decoration. This use of terracotta quickly became fashionable and appeared on other buildings commissioned by Henry VIII's courtiers, including Cardinal Wolsey's York Place (later Whitehall) and Hampton Court Palace.

Charles Brandon was an orphan raised at the court of Henry VII and became a life-long friend of Henry VIII, who made him 1st Duke of Suffolk in 1514. The Duke was one of Henry VIII's most powerful courtiers.



The relief is made of moulded clay that was dried and fired to create terracotta (literally 'cooked earth'), a material suitable for use as external decoration. Although building projects such as Suffolk Place were on a vast scale, by using a cheap raw material and a reproductive method of manufacture the buildings could be decorated economically and speedily.

Bibliographic References
  • Gunn and Lindley. 'Charles Brandon's Westhorpe: an Early Tudor Courtyard House in Suffolk', Archaeological Journal., CXLV, 1988, pp.280, pl. XXIc.
  • Bilbey, Diane with Trusted, Marjorie. British Sculpture 1470 to 2000. A Concise Catalogue of the Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V& A Publications, 2002. pp. 26. cat. no. 34
  • Morris, Richard K, 'Architectural Terracotta Decoration in Tudor England' in Lindley, Paul, Frangenberg, Thomas (ed.) Secular Sculpture 1300-1550 Stamford, 2000, pp.179-209.
  • Lindley, P, review of Homand, M, 'The Early Tudor Country House: Architecture and Politics 1490-1550' Oxford Art Journal. XI/I, 1988, pp.65, 66
  • Gunn, S.J and Lindley, P.G. 'Charles Brandon's Westhorpe: An Early Tudor Courtyard House in Suffolk' Archaeological Journal CXLV, 1988, p. 280, pl. XXIC.
  • Rendle, William and Norman, Philips Inns of Old Southwark and their associations. London: Longmans, Green. 1888. p.265
  • Stow, Survey of London 1908, pp.59, 60
  • Review [1911-1938], Victoria & Albert Museum. Review of the Principal Acquisitions during the Year, London, 1938, p. 4
  • Mosers, Mosers of the Borough, (trade pamphlet), London, [n.d.], [1938], p. 7, fig. A
  • Green, C.M., Finds from the Site of Suffolk Place, Southwark, (project submitted for the Museums Diploma Study Course, Dept of Museum Studies, University of Leicester), October 1986, figs. 13 and 15
Collection
Accession Number
A.27-1938

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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