Another mystery crest deciphered from the Miami Beach Antiques Show! « My Family Silver

Our Blog

The stories behind our listings, news of exhibitions and some heraldic tales

Another mystery crest deciphered from the Miami Beach Antiques Show!

Martyn Downer on the subject of Crestfinder. Posted on February 4th, 2009.

Another mystery crest deciphered.

The second mystery crest I saw recently at the Miami Beach Antiques Show was on every piece of this lovely eighteenth century porcelain breakfast set.

Eighteenth Century Porcelain Breakfast Set

Without a motto, this was a slightly tougher challenge than the crest on the antique silver tureen covers I examined previously. Looking at the image, my instinct was that the principal feature on the porcelain was some sort of hawk holding what looked like a snake. You might agree:

Porcelain Hawk

However, Crestfinder drew a blank using these search terms. There were loads of hawks (248 to be precise) but none with a snake like this. The closest fit was a hawk holding a wheatsheaf:

Crestfinder Hawk

As you can see, this crest relates to five families. But I was not happy – maybe I was being too hawkish (boo!). So turning to doves, I searched again. This time, I found a better fit: a dove (with less hairy legs than the hawk) holding a snake for the Elphinston family of Scotland:

Crestfinder Hawk

One interesting reminder of this search is that the porcelain set was probably decorated in the Far East with the artist working, not from our nice neat source Fairbairns, but from his client’s description. Hence, a variation in the exact depiction of the crest, although the elements and their arrangement are correct. I think this is our answer, so once again Crestfinder has resurrected the hidden history of a work of art.

Leave a comment


Register your interest

Be the first to hear about progress at My Family Silver by filling in this form.

* First name:

* Last name:

* Email Address:

Interested in:
Family crest
Silver items
I'm a dealer wanting to join
* Required