Saturday 1 May 2010

Artistic License & The Quin's loose their Chief.

Burke's General Armory informs us, in the entry for Quin (Windham-Quin, Earl of Dunraven and Mountearl), that the Earl of Dunraven wishing to perpetuate the more ancient arms of his ancestors, the O'Qins of Munster, obtained from the present Ulster King of Arms the right to bear them [the arms of O'Quin] instead of those assigned to his ancestor, Thady Quin Esq., of Adare, by Carney, Ulster, 29th November 1688. The arms of Thady Quin are recorded in BGA as being Vert, a pegasus Ermine, a chief Or. Crest; A wolf's head erased Ermine.

Why then I wonder did Windham-Henry Wyndham-Quin, 2nd Earl of Dunraven and Montearl, omit the chief when he commissioned two armorial shields to commemorate his inheritance of Adare Manor in 1824?


These two armorial shields were sold last year by Christies for the huge sum of £6'875.00 ($10'368) and the one which is said to represent Quin has definitely lost its chief. Described as Two Irish Antiquarian Painted Pine and Ebonised Armorial Shields circa 1830 - 40 with Quin pegasus and Wyndham chevron, one marked "I.D", 32 in. (81½ cm.) high; 12½ in. (32 cm.) wide they were sold at Christies' sale of 7th may 2009 at their London King Street saleroom.

The Lot Note stated that the shields were:

Commissioned following the Earl's inheritance of Adare Manor in 1824. The shields boast his descent in the Irish peerage with a name derived from the 2nd Century monarch of Ireland, Con of the Hundred Battles and his grandson Quin, who wielded the sceptre in 254. Together with the ancestral portraits and chivalric armour, these heraldically charged shields hung in the Great Gallery, which had been romantically aggrandised in the 1830s under the direction of the architect Lewis Cottingham (d.1847), author of Plans, etc. of Westminster Hall, 1822. In 1839, the antiquarian Earl, a member of the Society for Promoting the Study of Gothic Architecture, recorded that his embellishment of the Gallery with heraldic glass designed by Thomas Willement had given it the handsome air of a Cathedral. He went on to patronise A.N.W Pugin in the 1840s.

These items were way out of my pocket but nevertheless aroused my curiosity for two reasons; because of the missing chief and because I quite like the artistic style. The erased lions' heads flowing over the chevron and the pegasus almost too large for the shield along with the rather unusual, if not rare, inclusion of an actual head inside the helm (somewhat spooky perhaps) make them, to my eyes at least, rather splendid.

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