A rare, pair of 18th century, armorial shields
One shield depicts the lion 'rampant' as a primary charge. The rampant body is shown with the forepaws raised to strike, which displays the claws to best advantage, and the lion is standing on one hind leg with the other also raised to strike. This shield has 'Lloyd Meredith' written on the back.
The other shield depicts the lion 'passant', walking, with the right fore paw raised with two fleur-de-lys above and one below. This shield has 'North' written on the back. Both gilded and with a dark green painted ground on pine shields lined with old canvas on the back. Minor old restorations and re-varnished
The lion is a common charge in heraldry, symbolizing bravery, valour, strength, and royalty, since it is traditionally regarded as the king of beasts.
The fleur-de-Lys (flower of lily) is an heraldic representation of an iris or garden lily. It was the armorial bearing of the Kings of France from 1147 and was also borne by some English families. The fleur-de-lys is a cadency mark for the sixth son.
These striking shields are finely, gilded, showing the small detail such as whiskers and hairy coats, and scrollwork on the fleur-de-lys. The lions are very characterful with their elegant poses, large manes, curling tongues and tails, and large paws and claws. It is not known where these shields originally came from as they have been in the same family for many years, but they would have most likely been hung high as a pair over doorways in a room, or above or either side of a fireplace for maximum impact giving gravitas to the room. I am currently researching these shields, which I have only just purchased, as it is very unusual to see the lion depicted as the primary charge.
Private Collection, Suffolk by descent
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