Highlights of the British Collection:

Children in Monumental Brasses

Many monumental brasses, especially those from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, show family groups. On these brasses children are depicted as miniature adults, often beside or behind their parents. Many of these brasses depict large family groups and sometimes the occupations the children achieved as adults are shown through their costume, such as clerical or monastic dress. Unmarried daughters can also be shown with loose hair, although the meaning of loose hair can be problematic (for more information see Woman in Monumental Brasses). These accompanying figures are known as ‘weepers’ and are often presented with groups of males on the left and females on the right. Their size may also vary according to age; the younger children being smaller.

Brasses were also used to commemorate children in their own right. Sometimes the child is placed on a pedestal. However the size and costume of brasses to children can be misleading as to age at death; as seen in the monument to Griffin Clarke. Children are also depicted as chrysoms and infants in cradles.

Click on Images to Enlarge

Anne Asteley (click to enlarge)

Brass of Anne, wife of T. Asteley, dated 1512 from Blickling, Norfolk. This brass show the woman holding two babies.

John Newman and family (click to enlarge)

Rubbing from the brass of John Newman, with his wife and son, dated 1517, from Brightwalton, Berkshire

Wool merchant and family (click to enlarge)

Rubbing from a brass of a wool merchant, his wife and 4 children, dated 1485, from Northleach, Gloucestershire

Brass of Griffin Clarke

Rubbing from the brass of Griffin Clarke, a child and son of Thomas and Elizabeth Clarke. Although he was a child he is depicted as an adult. The monument dates to 1583 and is from Streatley in Berkshire.

Further Information


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Sarah Glover
January 2012