A pair of late-16th century, Spanish armorial paintings



The shields illustrate an unusual provincial depiction of the Royal Arms of Spain, surrounded by the Collar of the Golden fleece, with an inscription around the edge of the paintings. Relined and restored.

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16th Century




Oil on canvass




The paintings show a variation of the Arms of the Kings of Spain as borne between 1580, when Philip II of Spain became King of Portugal, and 1700, when Charles II King of Spain died. Charles II was the last Hapsburg King of Spain and was succeeded by Philip grandson of Louis XIV King of France (1643-1715). Thereafter the Arms of France within a bordure gules (a red border) appear on an escutcheon of pretence (a small shield on the centre of the shield) see appendix 'a'. The inscription around the edge of the paintings reads, "ESLA AVDENZIAREA; DELa DELANTAMIENTO; DEL REGNO; DE LEON". The arms are surrounded by the Collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, founded by Philip the good Duke of Burgundy in 1431. The Kings of Spain were subsequent Sovereigns of the Order. The following description of arms commences with the top-half of the shield in the top left-hand corner: The first quarter shows Leon quartering Castile. This is unusual, since the first quarter is generally Castile quartering Leon; and could be because it was intended for use in the Kingdom of Leon. See appendices 'a', 'b' and 'c'. The lions are painted in either their natural colours or gold, and are uncrowned. This is again unusual since the Arms of Leon are normally shown as a red lion rampant with a gold crown on a white background. See appendices 'a', 'b' and 'c'. The second quarter shows Aragon impaling Sicily. Over the first two quarters is an escutcheon of pretence of Portugal. This version of the Arms of Portugal is again unusual, since it omits the red border charged with gold castles added to the Arms of Portugal by Alphonso King of Portugal (1248-1279). See appendix 'b'. Between the top two quarters enty en point is the pomegranate for Granada, the plate in appendix 'b' illustrates the full blazon. Treating the bottom half of the shield as four quarters, they appear as Austria Modern (top left), Burgundy Modern (top right), Brabant (bottom left) and Burgundy (Ancient) bottom right. This arrangement is unusual since Burgundy Ancient is generally bottom left and Brabant bottom right. Brabant is also unusually shown as a gold lion on a white background, rather than a black background. See appendices 'a', 'b' and 'c'. The last two bottom-half quarters are much larger than usual, and contain an escutcheon of pretence. This unusually shows two blackish eagles on a white background. It is generally shown as 'Flanders', a black lion on a gold background (or a lion rampant sable); impaling the Marquisate of Anvers, a red eagle on a white background (argent an eagle displayed gules). See appendices 'b' and 'c'. Reference: Appendix 'a': 'Les Souverains du Monde', Tome III published in 1721. Pages 259/261. Appendix 'b': 'Essay on the Ancient and Modern use of Armories', by Alexander Nisbet, published in 1718. Pages 218/9 and plate 7. Appendix 'c': 'Sigilla Comitum Flandriae', by Olivarius Vredius, published in 1639. Page 182 illustrating the Arms of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, King of Spain 1516-1556, Holy Roman Emperor 1530-1556, died 1558. Page 219 illustrating the arms of Philip II King of Spain 1556-1598.