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Brass rubbing

  • Place of origin:

    Oxfordshire (Rubbing from a brass in East Hendred Church, Oxforshire, made)

  • Date:

    1864-1931 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wallis, Arthur Bertram Ridley (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wax rubbing of a monumental brass on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Wallis

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

  • Public access description

    Monumental brasses are commemorative plaques that served as effigies and were most commonly found in churches. The earliest examples come from the thirteenth century but they were popular up until the seventeenth century and then again in the Victorian Gothic Revival. Surviving brasses from the medieval period are limited due to the turbulent history of the Church but they do survive in considerable numbers in the East of England, Germany and Flanders. Made from an alloy of copper and zinc, a material known as latten, they were laid into church floors and walls. Monumental brasses are historically and stylistically significant because they record dress, architecture, armoury, heraldry (coats of arms and insignia) and palaeography (handwriting) in a dated object. In addition they tell the story of memorial and patronage.

    The practice of recording brasses through a process of rubbing originates from the Victorian Gothic Revival. An early method of pouring printer’s ink into engraved lines and then placing damp tissue paper over the brass was replaced around the mid-nineteenth century with the more effective technique of using black shoemaker’s wax, known as heel ball. Brass rubbing continued to be a popular hobby into the twentieth century before the process was understood to cause damage to the brasses.

  • Physical description

    Rubbing of the brass of two merchants, Henry Eldysley and his brother Roger Eldysley, depicted in civil dress, with their merchant marks in shields above their effigies. On the left register the merchant's mark identifies 'H. E.' for Henry, and on the right the shield includes 'R. E.' for Roger. Only one effigy has been rubbed in detail to reveal the brass beneath. Under the effigies is an accompanying inscription.

  • Dimensions

    Height: 1025.5249 mm, Width: 727.0749 mm

  • Object history note

    The effigy of Henry Eldysley is lost.

  • Descriptive line

    Rubbing of the brass effigies, inscription and merchant marks of Henry Eldysley and his brother Roger Eldysley, dated 1439, from East Hendred Church in Oxfordshire, 1864-1931

  • Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

    Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings Accessions 1932 London: HMSO, 1932.
    Addenbrooke Mahala. East Hendred History. http://www.hendredmuseum.org.uk/history_addenbrooke.htm.

  • Collection code

    Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection