Saturday 21 January 2023

An unusual mantling

Looking through the various and varied oddments saved on my hard drive I came across a record of the auction held by Forum Auctions* on the 12th December 2018. I thought that this rather eccentric treatment of the torse would be of interest to my reader.

Lot 62

Coat of arms of Edwards of Toxteth Park, Liverpool and Broughton Park, Manchester, watercolour coat of arms, on vellum, framed and glazed, coat of arms 120 x 100mm., [c. 1880].

Estimate: £80 - £120

Hammer Price: £130 (plus commission of course)

In my humble opinion, although there can be no criticism of the artwork, this is yet another example of "Victorian" paper heraldry where real heraldry has been forgotten. No real crest balanced precariously upon the top of the helmet: the torse helped to securely fix the crest upon the helmet but, in this painting, even worse still the purpose of the mantling has been completely forgotten and it has been replaced by something pretending to be a cloak. At the risk of teaching my reader how to suck eggs, the mantling was a piece of cloth fixed to the helmet in order to protect the wearer from the effects of the sun. All that said, the painting is nevertheless a pleasing one. 

*Forum Auctions is the specialist auction house for Antiquarian Books and Manuscripts, 20th Century Literature, Modern & Contemporary Art and Editions, Old Master Prints and Drawings, Photographs and other Works on Paper. In May 2022 the firm merged with international art advisory business Gurr Johns, also owners of the UK's leading regional auction house Dreweatts.   

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