Brass of the Month
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Page last updated 04 February 2016
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This month's brass is unusual in two respects: it marks a family vault rather than an individual's grave and it belongs to the late Georgian era, long after the heyday of the monumental brass but before their Victorian revival.
The Talbot family was long-
Talbot was buried in the south aisle of Wymondham Abbey, where he is commemorated by a black marble ledgerstone and a mural tablet, the latter signed by James Watson, a prolific Norwich sculptor. As the second inscription on the ledger reveals, it was evidently the death of two of his sons in 1821 that had caused his thoughts to turn to commemoration of his family. There has evidently been some movement of ledgerstones in the aisle as the inscription on his ledger, at the west end of the south aisle begins 'In the Vault beneath', whereas the stone with the brass marking the entrance to the Talbot family vault is below the tablet, towards the east end of the aisle. This latter area had evidently been the burying place of the Talbots for many years as an inscription, formerly on a pillar at the east end of the aisle, to Ann, died 1669, daughter of Thomas Talbot makes clear. This has been moved to the south wall at some point. The stone marking the entrance to the Talbot vault has, besides the brass shield with his arms, a white veined marble inset denoting the 'Entrance to the Talbot family vault under the steps 1821', possibly covering an inscription indent as the stone is of Vaudey Abbey marble, used by the Norwich marblers' workshops from the mid fifteenth-
February 2016, Talbot family, 1821, Wymondham, Norfolk
The arms on the brass are, according to Farrer,
Quarterly: —1, Talbot; 2, A trefoil slipped between three lions rampant (Talbot, Argent, three lions purpure) ; 3, Bendy of ten argent and gules, Talbot; 4, Quarterly, or and gules, over all an escarbuncle sable, Mandeville ; impaling, Gules, two bars ermine, in chief a lion passant or, Hill. The arms clearly relate to the marriage between Talbot and his wife Anne Hill but are repeated on neither his ledgerstone nor his mural monument, although the latter incorporates, without tinctures, the crest of Talbot of Gonville Hall, Wymondham: a demi-
Thomas Sugden Talbot was an important figure in the history of the study of monumental brasses in Norfolk. As a schoolboy in the 1790s, he had made rubbings of many of the county's brasses, from which he then made accurate drawings. His family was evidently of artistic temperament, his younger sister Frances (later to become Countess of Morley) winning national prizes for two of her paintings in 1800 and 1802, one a copy of an old master but the other drawn from life. Her brother's drawing of brasses, the property of the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society, are now deposited in the Norfolk Record Office. They include a number of brasses that are now lost. He lent his rubbings to John Sell Cotman when Cotman was preparing his volumes Engravings of Sepulchral Brasses in Norfolk and Suffolk in the early nineteenth-
Since recent building work to wall and cover areas unroofed at the Reformation the east end of the south aisle is no longer obstructed as it was formerly. There are six indents in this area, rather more than can be found in the north aisle, although none is very exciting. Any major brasses would have been in the demolished monastic east end of the abbey and were destroyed or, as is most probable in the case of that of Sir Adam de Clifton, moved elsewhere.
Copyright: Jon Bayliss