It's always interesting, visiting an art and/or antique store I've never been to before, because you just never know what you're going to find.
We've been looking lately for a painting or other art piece to go over the television in the living room. We're taking our time with it, because whatever we get we're going to be looking at for a long time. But our tastes are pretty similar, and we're pretty sure that when we see "it," we'll know.
In the process of that search, we went to an antiques store we'd never been to before. We didn't find the art that we were looking for, but we did find this:
It's clearly a large (I'm afraid a little too large to do well in our living room, but we were a little tempted by it anyway) memorial board. We were told that it came from a French church, but there wasn't a lot more they could tell us about it besides the (hefty) price.
I thought to myself that, given that it appears to be the shields of a husband and wife who are pretty clearly of the nobility, it shouldn't be all that hard to track down whom this board memorializes. It turns out, I was only partially correct.
The coronet appears to be that of a baron of The Netherlands. The supporters are two griffins or, armed and langued gules. The motto is Crux decus spes (Cross honor hope). (A slightly different motto, Crux decus et spes, was borne by Gerard du Demaine, per the Dictionnaire Des Devises Historiques Et Héraldiques, Vol 1.) The date of death at the bottom is 12 November 1885.
The wife's arms were actually as easy to track down as I thought the entire achievement would be. They are found in Rietstap's Armorial Général as:
Draeck (de) Anvers, Gand - (Barons, 18 mai 1782. M[aison]. ét[einte].). Écartelé: aux 1 et 4, d'azur, à un dragon ailé et écaillé d'or (de Draeck); aux 2 et 3, d'argent, à trois chevrons de gueules (de Wesele dit Sompecqui). Cimier le dragon. Supports deux dragons ailés et écaillés d'or lampassés de gueules.
My attempt at a translation into English makes it: Draeck (de) Antwerp, Ghent (Barons, 18 May 1782. [Literally, House off. I assume that means the de Draeck line had died out by the late 1800s.] Quarterly: 1 and 4, Azure a dragon [which the English would blazon a wyvern] winged and scaled or (de Draeck); 2 and 3, Argent three chevrons gules (de Wesele known as Sompecqui). Crest: A dragon as in the arms. Supporters: Two dragons winged and scaled or langued gules.
And the arms appear in Rolland and Rolland's Illustrations to the Armorial Général:
But I was striking out completely on the husband's arms. Oh, Rietstap had plenty of quarterly arms with a gold rampant lion on a blue field in the first and fourth quarters, as here, but the other quarters were completely different from these. Riestap has only three entries for a red field with six white billets:
Esmez (Bretagne) De gueules, à six billettes d'argent.
Mauger (Normandie) De gueules, à six billettes d'argent.
Périchou de Kerversau (Bretagne) De gueules, à six billettes d'argent.