Period: Late Nineteenth Century
Height: 7 inches
Width: 6.25 inches
Depth: 0.75 inches (at maximum)
Hand painted, the oak and heater shaped shields having chequey 3x3 and heraldic cross fields respectively.
The first coat of arms in nine partitions shows the charges of the rampant lion signifying strength, courage, ferocity and valour, and the fleurs-de-lis representing purity and light but more importantly the coming together of France (fleurs-de-lis) and England (lion) in a particular family.
In the second we see the coat of arms for the city of Colchester. The arms are a direct reference to Saint Helena, the patron saint of Colchester, believed to have been born there. The cross is believed to be the True Cross, which Saint Helena is supposed to have found and the red background represents the blood of Christ. The crowns are representative of the crowns of the Magi, the bodies of whom Saint Helena is supposed to have found. The four shafts are joined in a fylfot, a symbol of good fortune. They depict a rough, wooden barbed cross rising out of the base of a red shield between two open crowns of gold with a similar crown around the lower limb of the cross. On both the shields, the colours of red and gold also came to signify generosity and military strength.
The condition of the shields is very good with no serious flaking to the paint and no splits, chips or cracks to the wood. There are hoops present with which to hang the shields.
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.
These shields, a pair in the sense that they were painted by the same hand and would have hung in the same house, would appeal to those interested in heraldry or anyone after an authentic decorative armorial fix.