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Maker(s):Coles, John, Sr. (attributed); Coles Jr., John (attributed)
Culture:American (c.1749-1809) (1776-1854)
Title:coat of arms: By the Name of Williams
Date Made:1795-1805
Type:Drawing
Materials:paper; watercolor; wood
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Boston
Measurements:Frame: 15 5/8 x 11 11/16 x 13/16 in; 39.7 x 29.7 x 2.1 cm; Sheet: 14 x 9 3/4 in; 35.6 x 24.8 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2009.32
Credit Line:Hall and Kate Peterson Fund for Paintings, Prints, Drawings and Photographs
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield
2009-32_0001.jpg

Description:
Framed coat of arms of the Williams family, titled "BY THE NAME OF WILLIAMS". Coats of arms, symbols representing high status, were originally associated with the British nobility. Although few American families were officially entitled to a coat of arms, heraldry was often used to decorate coaches, bookplates,and ceramics. Many young girls also embroidered their family coat of arms at school. The designs of numerous family coats of arms have been attributed to John Coles, Sr. (c. 1749-1809), or to his son, John Coles, Jr., (1776-1854) one of at least eleven heraldic artists working in New England in the early 1800s. Their creations were often used as patterns for needlework. Coles was first listed in the Boston Directory as a publisher and painter in 1782, the year he published John Norman's engravings of portraits of George and Martha Washington based on Benjamin Blyth copies. In 1776, John Hancock (1737-1793) commissioned Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827) to paint these portraits, which may have been taken to Boston in 1777 for safety. Benjamin Blyth could have made copies of these then or from copies made by John Trumball (1756-1843) in 1777. In 1788, Coles was listed as a painter and as a heraldry painter in 1796, which listing continued through 1813; he owed and probably used as his design source a 1724 edition of John Guillim's, "Display of Heraldry." His son, John Coles Jr. (1776-1854), also a portrait, miniature and heraldic painter, was listed in the Boston city directories from 1803 to 1825, and later lived in Providence; had a winter studio in Hartford and summer home in Durham, Connecticut, from 1831-1848; and in Worcester. See also coats of arms, "By the Name of Russell" (HD 71.105); "By the Name of Jones" (HD 2131.1); "By the Name of Hurd" (HD 2431.2), attributed to John Coles, Sr.

Label Text:
Throughout the 18th century Americans maintained the English aristocratic tradition of prominently displayiing their family coat of arms in their homes. This painting of the arms of the Williams family is similar to numerous examples executed by John Coles, Sr., a Boston heraldry painter. Coles characteristically placed the name of the family in the scrolls beneath the shield, a location more commonly reserved for a motto. The crossed green branches, closed helmet, and standard size of paper are also typical of Coles's work.

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=HD+2009.32

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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