A Fine c.1815 Coach Panel Armorial: The Marital Arms of Lieutenant General Samuel Need & Annie Grant

Origin: English
Period: Early Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1815
Height: 8 inches
Width: 6 inches

Beautifully hand painted, the oak panel, hailing from a coach panel from the estate of Lieutenant General Samuel Need and Annie Grant survives from the first quarter of the nineteenth century.

The condition of the panel is good with no serious flaking to the paint and no splits, chips or cracks to the wood. There is some slight bobbling and some light wear to the surface in parts.
We have had The College of Arms, the official heraldic authority for the UK and much of the Commonwealth carry out research on the armorial and this is their extensive report:
"The Marital Arms of Lieutenant General Samuel Need and Annie Grant.

The arms as depicted upon this Coach Panel dating from the first half on the 19th Century are those of the family of Need impaling those of Grant. These armorial bearings denote the marshalling of a marital coat showing on the dexter (the heraldic right on the left as you view the piece) the arms of the husband and on the sinister (the heraldic left on the right as you view it) the arms of the wife. They may be blazoned as follows:

(on the dexter) Per chevron or and ermine in chief two griffins’ heads erased proper (for Need)
(on the sinister) Quarterly 1st and 4th Gules three antique crowns (for Grant) 2nd Or a fess chequy azure and argent between three wolves’ heads couped sable (for Stewart of Athole) 3rd Vert a dexter hand fesswise holding a dagger erect (proper?) between three boars’ heads couped of the third (for Gordon)*
*This scheme of quarterings presume that Annie’s father was member of the family of Grant of Rothiemurchus in the County of Elgin, although the 3rd quarter is often blazoned in other authorities as ‘Azure a dexter hand vambraced holding a sword erected in pale azure hilted and pommelled or between three boars’ heads couped of the third langued gules within a bordure wavy or’. There also appears to be a hint of an engrailed (?) bordure (Or or argent?) around the Grant quarterings, but not on the impaled side as is traditional in heraldry – a difference that denotes Annie’s fathers’ position within the family of the Rothiemurchus Grants.

Crest: Out of an eastern coronet** or a griffin’s head proper (for Need)
**Here it should be noted that the antique crowns that appear in the arms of Grant (the 1st and 4th quarters) are exactly the same in appearance as the ‘eastern coronet’ that appears in the crest of Need. This is only a matter of nomenclature in that such a crown in Scots heraldry is traditionally blazoned as an ‘antique crown’ unless qualified as an ‘eastern coronet or crown’.
The arms shown here undoubtedly pertain to the marriage of Lieutenant General Samuel Need (baptised 1st November 1765 died 18th August 1839) and Annie Grant (born 1790 died 2nd June 1868). Annie had married Samuel as his (presumed) 2nd wife in 1815 in Bengal as some sources mention that Samuel was previously married to a native lady from whom he had issue. Annie was the daughter of Captain William Grant, of the 42nd Highlanders. The Need family were seated at Fountain Dale, Blidworth in the County of Nottinghamshire. It may be ventured that these arms were in use between the marriage of Samuel and Annie in 1815 and Samuel’s death in 1839, although his widow may have continued to use the coach upon which they were painted after this date and, perhaps until her own death in 1868. At some time when the coach in question was sold off or broken up the panel/s were cut from the door/s and at least one was framed as we see today.

Samuel’s military career was as follows:

1) He was commissioned on 27th October 1784 in the rank of Cornet, in the 1st Dragoon Guards;
2) Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and Captain in 1786 and 1793 respectively;
3) Served in the Capture of the Cape of Good Hope in 1796;
4) Promoted to the rank of Major on 19th April 1796 whilst serving with the 27th Light Dragoons;
5) Served during the Indian Campaigns between 1803 and 1804;
6) Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel on 22nd June 1809 whilst serving with the 24th Dragoons;
7) Promoted to the rank of Colonel in 1811;
8) Promoted to the rank of Major-General in 1814 and finally
9) Promoted the rank of Lieutenant-General in 1830."
Heraldry is the science and art that deals with the use, display, and regulation of hereditary symbols employed to distinguish individuals, institutions, and corporations. Armorial Bearings were originally worn to aid identification on the battlefield during the time of the crusades.

A beautifully detailed heraldic artwork that can be admired as much for its decorative quality as its rich history and for the unique way it transports us to a particular families world in the Georgian period.