From the College of Heralds to Star Wars

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These wonderful sepultures (literally, burial concepts in image form) were created by the inspired artwork of John Mollo (who drew them) combined with the unparalleled knowledge of John Brook-Little (1927-2006), then Bluemantle Pursuviant at the College of Arms in London. Mollo [1931-2017] was a military historian and adviser on the film The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968); he won 2 Oscars (for Star Wars and Gandhi), 5 BAFTAs and 3 Primetime Emmys. Brook-Little’s detailed description of each Knight is shown with each image to which we have added footnotes to explain some of the armour and heraldic words.  The prints depict imaginary tomb decoration or, in ecclesiastical terms, potential stained glass imagery of the armour and real heraldry of 12 of the leading barons of the middle ages.

They lived during a tumultuous 300 year period between Richard the Lionheart (Richard I, 1189-1199) and Richard of York (1411-1460) also known as Richard Plantagenet. Great grandson (and, through his mother, great, great grandson) of Edward III, he fathered two monarchs culminating in the restoration of the House of York when his sons, King Edward IV (1442-1483) and King Richard III (1452-1485) successively ascended the throne after the Wars of the Roses.  He would have been a king himself had he not been killed in December 1460 at the Battle of Wakefield just a few weeks before Henry, by now mad, escaped to Scotland with his wife, Margaret of Anjou.

The Oxford English Dictionary lists, under “armor” and “armour”: “coat armour = ‘coat of arms,’ originally a vest of silk or other rich material embroidered in colours, worn over the armour of a knight, to distinguish him in the lists or on the field of battle”. For the art and science of armory, more generally called heraldry, these 300 years were the period of its maximum development. [John Mollo was also responsible for our prints Uniforms of the Royal Navy and The Light Brigade.] These big, sumptuous images are printed on heavy cartridge paper, the predominate colours being heraldic red, blue, green, gold and silver.

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