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Item number: 6930

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A 15th Century English Limestone, ‘Fleur-De-Lis’
Discovered in Norwich, Norfolk
Ex English Private Collection

The deliberate act of defacing and often violent destruction of statues, monuments and carvings,  ‘Iconoclasm’, has been known since ancient times, the scarred and partial remains of the desecrated, stand testament to the power that images can often possess over people. Viewed as symbols representing a monarchy, religious or political power, such carvings have often been subjected to wanton vandalism, a reoccurring and frequent component to times of major religious upheaval or political unrest, born from emotionally charged people with a desire for change.

The fleur-de-lis is one of the most frequently encountered, instantly recognisable, reoccurring symbols, remaining in popular use since at least the middle ages where this stylised flower motif seems to have began its long association with royalty and those of noble birth as evidenced by its popular use in heraldry. The three petals of the flower said to symbolise, faith, wisdom and valour and alternatively, perfection, light and life.

Popularly used in ecclesiastical architecture where its three petals have been used to represent the holy trinity, it was also adopted by the Roman Catholic church as the emblem of the Virgin Mary.

This 15th century English carved limestone fleur-de-lis is a typical victim of, ‘Iconoclasm’, due to its associations with the aforementioned and was probably removed from a building during the 16th century dissolution of the monasteries.

Discovered during landscaping work in a private residential garden in the City of Norwich, the surface has acquired a fine, weather worn patina from exposure to the elements, revealing numerous tiny fossil inclusions within the stone.

Dimensions (Approximate)

Height: 21.5cm,  Width: 19cm,  Depth: 10.5cm