A Scarce Early 19thC Red-Wax Armorial Plaque for The Arms for the Kingdom of Bavaria c.1835

Origin: Bavarian
Period: Early/Mid Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1835
Height: 11.5”
Width: 12.75”

The intricately moulded and pressed rectangular red-wax plaque showing the arms of the Kingdom of Bavaria, showing the golden lion of the Palatinate, the Franconian rake, the striped field with a gold pale and the coat of arms of the margraviate of Burgau, representing Swabia. The fourth field showing the Lion of Veldenz, representing the ruling branch of the house of Wittelsbach and an inescutcheon for Bavaria itself, the whole with integral rope fixtures for wall mounting surviving from the second quarter of the nineteenth century.

The condition of the plaque is good considering the material used with no losses to report. There is a very small hairline crack to the top section. We have cleaned the armorial though it still shows some dirt in its recesses.

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 report:
“The arms in question are those of the Kingdom of Bavaria which were in use between 1835 and 1918. The only difference that I can see is in the generally accepted version of these arms the crowned lion supporters are shown as being reguardant (ie: looking back over these shoulders). On this plaque they are looking towards the arms. So saying, earlier arms of the Kingdom of Bavaria (1807 - 1835) employed the lion supporters in the attitude as found on your plaque, although the arms were different. It may be a case of transition from the old version of the royal arms to the new as depicted on your plaque.”

We therefore date this plaque to the transitional period of the Kingdom of Bavaria in the 1830s due to the fusion of the two arms. Bavaria was one of the stem duchies of the Eastern Franconian Empire and the Holy Roman Empire. The House of Wittelsbach, who ruled in Bavaria for about eight centuries, used the coat lozengy since 1242, later quartering it with the lion of the Electorate of the Palatinate. Bavaria became a kingdom in 1806, and in 1835 a new coat of arms was created, similar to today's but representing some regions by different coats of arms. The first known coat of arms of the house of Wittelsbach is Azure, a golden fess dancetty. When Louis I married Ludmilla, the widow of Albert III, Count of Bogen, he adopted the coat of arms of the counts of Bogen together with their land. The number of lozenges varied; from 15th century 21 were used, increasing to 42 when Bavaria became a kingdom in 1806.

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. We cannot find any other armorials like this in red-wax at all; there are of course small armorial seals in wax but having something of this size is unusual and the wax is similar to that used in the late 17th century when religious figures were made.

A rare and attractive piece of unusual heraldry.