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image M101

Royal coat-of-arms from the Tribunal, Old Court, King's Bench, Westminster Hall

Plaster and papier-mâché

Museum number: M101

Curatorial note

This splendid Royal Coat of Arms, made from some form of papier-mâché, came from the Court of King’s Bench in Westminster Hall. This was a court of Common Law (known as the Court of Queen’s Bench during the reign of a female monarch) housed in Westminster Hall, part of the old medieval Palace of Westminster, from 1318. The Court of King’s Bench was rebuilt by Soane in 1824 as part of his new Law Courts which were constructed between Westminster Hall and Parliament Square and he must have salvaged this coat of arms at that time. The royal arms shown is that used from the accession of the Hanoverian king George I in 1714 until the Act of Union with Scotland in 1801 when it became redundant. It incorporates not only the lions of England and Scotland, the fleur-de-lys of France and the harp of Ireland but in the lower right-hand quarter the two lions ‘passant gardant’ for Brunswick, the lion ‘rampant’ with ‘a semy of hearts’ behind for Lüneberg, the white horse of the Duchy of Saxony and in the centre the crown of Charlemagne – all introduced with the Hanoverians. The original bright colours were revealed when the Coat of Arms was cleaned in 1991. Soane’s Law Courts were demolished in the early 1880s when the new Royal Courts of Justice on Fleet Street were constructed.

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk