Thursday, June 18, 2020

Nothing Succeeds Like Excess

The next armorial memorial we're going to look at in the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp, Belgium, is a wonderfully baroque one to various members of the van Delft family.

I mean, really! There is an awful lot going on on this memorial. Click on the image above to see a larger version, and take your time to look carefully at all of the details, from the bishop's mitre and spiked club through winged figure at the top to the cherubs on each side through the female figure and the skeleton, all the way down to the death's head and wings at the bottom. It is, frankly, just an amazing piece of the carver's art.

The bottommost names on the memorial plaque are those of Jean-Baptiste Joseph van Delft (1709-1777), who was granted hereditary nobility by Empress Maria Theresa in 1762) and his wife, Jeanne Marie de Coninck.

You can find a brief descent tree from him on-line at

Jean-Baptiste Joseph van Delft's parents were Jean Gisbert van Delft (1686-1740) and Marie Madeleine Schenaerts (1683-1755), whose names are noted on the memorial.  Jean Gisbert's parents were Jean van Delft (1640-1694) and Catherine Louise Schut (1655-1736). Jean's parents were Jean van Delft (1592-1662) and Catherine Keurlincx (d. 1659). (Ah, you have to love all of the genealogical websites on the internet! They can make it a lot easier to trace back a family tree, like the one here.) All of these husbands and wives are named on the memorial.

But, of course, it is the coat of arms that I finally noticed (well, it took a while; as I said above, there is a lot going on in this monument!) at the bottom.

Riestap's Armorial Général tells us that these arms are blazoned: Argent a fess and in chief two mascles gules. The crest is: The bust of a young man habited in the arms wearing a hat[? Rietstap calls it a bourlet] azure with two horns argent.

All in all, a beautifully carved (if in some places maybe just a little "over the top") memorial to several generations of the van Delft family of Antwerp.

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