Thursday, July 13, 2023

Three Coats of Arms in a Stained Glass Panel

Continuing our look at some of the heraldic glass in the Stained Glass Museum in Ely Cathedral, we come to this lovely panel depicting a scene from Arthurian legend which displays three (presumably attributed, or simply invented) coats of arms.

The scene shown is labeled right there in the window: Launcelot and Elaine. The panel was designed and made by Andrew Stoddart in 1910. This window is based on a German Art Nouveau tapestry designed by J.H. Vogeler in 1898. This panel was a gift of the Page family to the Musuem in 1977, and is from Stoddart’s home in Nottingham.

The story of Lancelot and Elaine was an Arthurian tale of unrequited love.

In the panel there are three shields. The one at the top of the window is: Argent an ancient crown or. On the left is: Per fess sable and or three arrows in pile on a chief argent a (cow’s?) head grey.* And on the right: Sable a saltire engrailed between four (fleurs-de-lis?) or on a chief argent a fleur-de-lis or between two mullets of six points sable.

I don’t believe that any of these are “real” arms, but expect that they are either attributed or completely newly invented for this panel.

Overall I think it's a lovely work of stained glass (if not of heraldry), but then, I've long had a fondness for Art Nouveau.

* This coat of arms might also be blazoned as Tierced per fess argent sable and or, in pale a (cow's?) head grey and three arrows in pile argent. But that does not best describe the position of the three arrows on the field, while the "Per fess ... on a chief" does that better.

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