Brass of the month
August 2004: Society of Antiquaries of London, c. 1475
August's brass of the month features a brass from the collection of the Society of Antiquaries of London. It was presented to the Society on 8 January 1848 by Hugh Welch Diamond, who also presented two shields of arms also 'purchased by him, some years since, of a person who stated them to have been dredged from the bed
of the river Thames'.
The brass shows a bare-
The likelihood is that the brass originally lay in a London church and was thrown in the Thames during the Reformation, when many brasses and other 'graven images' were ripped up from church floors. It might be thought that the fanatics who removed this fascinating brass might have thrown it into the Thames in an excess of reformist zeal, but that was not necessarily the case.
Many brasses sold as scrap metal (and often turned over for reuse). Possibly that was the case with this brass; by the mid 16th century Southwark was an important centre of brass engraving and this plate may have fallen from a barge while being shipped across the Thames.
Fortunately, like many other interesting artefacts, it sunk into the Thames mud, only to re-
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Page last updated 09 August 2004