Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ultimate Heraldry

It’s no secret at Knickerbocker we have a major obsession with crests, coats of arms, and all things heraldic. Among the most sought after items in our shop, we’re sure to pick them up whenever we can find them and always love working them into our vignettes, so you can imagine our excitement at seeing this amazing collection of heraldic art up for auction at Christie’s next week.

The January 10th Christie’s Interiors sale includes an amazing collection of fourteen massive sculpted plaster panels originally crafted by Gilbert Bayes to adorn the British pavilion of the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Here Edward, Prince of Wales, The Black Prince is depicted resplendent in blue and crimson generously accented with gold gilding.

Gerald Cobb, Herald painter at the College of Arms, designed the panels to represent fourteen great individuals in the history of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, including Owen Glendower, Prince of Wales shown here in regal gold and crimson.

Due to the onset of World War II by the fairs end it was decided safer for the panels to remain in the U.S., where they were purchased in 1973 by philanthropist Eric Lafferty Harvie for installation in the military history gallery of the Glenbow Museum of Alberta, Canada. With its intricate coat of arms and bold use of black on white the crest representing William Cecil, Baron of Burghley, Knight of the Garter, is especially striking.

With each panel measuring in at around a whopping 100 inches square these grand works of art must have made for a spectacular display in the British pavilion. Crowned gold gilt lions and a fearsome winged dragon support the crest of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Choosing a favorite among these bold yet romantic artworks would be difficult to say the least but especially charming is the coat of arms of Horatio Nelson, Viscount Nelson, Knight of the Bath, which includes a sailor among other nautical references to his numerous victories at sea.

All images via Christies.
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