A small sample of the wood and bronze Family Crests and Coat of Arms carved by Heraldic Sculptor Ian G Brennan; commissioned for both private clients and the British Royal Household
Commissioning a Coat of Arms or Family Crest;
The Royal Crest for HRH Prince Edward the Earl of Wessex - Crest for HRH Prince Andrew the Duke of York
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25 inches high ( 64 cm)
Coats of Arms and Crests are unique to the particular family, company or organisations that they were originally designed for and as such, if these Arms are required to be carved in a two or three dimensional form by Ian G Brennan they are each individually produced from either a black and white or coloured design supplied by the client and made in a variety of materials including carved wood, a resin/marble mixture and the traditional 'loss wax' hot metal bronze.
Carved lime wood Arms with Supporters - The larger version of the Arms were carved in wood; the smaller version was cast in bronze - Carved lime wood Arms without Supporters
( 36 inches high x 30 inches wide ) ( 30 inches high x 26 inches wide ) ( 10 inches high x 6 inches wide ) ( 26 inches x 14 inches wide )
Ian carefully selects each piece of timber to be used for his various carved Coats of Arms and Crests. Timbers such as lime wood, carves extremely well and can also hold very fine detail. Lime wood is also the timber that Ian has chosen for the past 18 years to carve the Crowns, Coronets and Crests for the historic Henry V11 Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey and in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
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The cost and process of producing an original carved and painted Coat of Arms or Crest;
The fee requested to produce each coat of arms, crest or heraldic sculpture would be totally dependent on a number of factors; whether it was to be produced in wood or bronze, the size required ; the complex nature of the particular design and therefore the time required to produce it; and whether it was to be a carved in a base relief or to be produced in a more three dimensional form. A typical carved and painted crest or coat of arms often take around two to three weeks of full time work to produce. Larger more complex carved Coat of Arms often take several weeks to carve in fine detail prior to painting.
Clients who have commissioned a coat of arms or crest are usually sent stage photo's of the carving taken from all angles as the work progresses, starting from the seasoned blanks of lime wood, which have already being brought up to room temperature in Ian's studio ready for work to commence. When all the fine carving has been completed, photographs are taken and sent via email for approval.
When the client is completely happy with the crest or coat of arms it can then be prepared for painting. Each carving is given one coat of primer and then at least two coats of either an acrylic or enamel paint is applied for the finished coat. Again photographs are sent to the client for final approval. The coat of arms or crest is then wax polished, packaged and shipped to the clients nominated address. Outside the UK this would be sent via airfreight.
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Sculptor Ian G Brennan along with a variety of commissioned wood and bronze heraldic sculptures
Creating a Griffin Crest for a Knight of the 'Most Noble Order of the Garter' to be placed in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
A series of short movies designed to be viewed with a Broadband speed of 2Mbs or better; showing in various stages how Ian carved a Griffin crest for a Knight of the Garter; from the lime wood log to the completed carved and painted crest being placed in position upon the Knights helm in St George's Chapel Windsor Castle. please click here
The origins of Crests and Coat of Arms;
In the Middle Ages during the age of chivalry, the coat of arms were both practical and also served a function as a form of identification during pageants and in tournaments. In the confusion of battle the knight clad in Armour from head to toe, with his great war helms (helmet) covering his face, it was difficult to distinguish between friend and foe alike. However identification of each individual knight began to improve, especially from a distance when the Knights insignia began to be painted on his shield and their carved crests were placed upon their helms. These symbols were also worked onto the light coloured coats worn over the Knights armour which protected the wearer from the elements; hence the term coat of arms.
Ian G Brennan's sculpture of a Knight celebrating at tournament
master copy in progress for a new bronze sculpture - 21 inches -( 54 cm )
The bronze sculpture could also be produced with the clients own unique Crest placed on the Knights helm and the charge carved upon the shield
Various stages in creating a selection of Heraldic Devices in both wood and bronze
Carving an individual Crest in wood :-
Carving a large Coat of Arms - with supporters :-
Carving a small Coat of Arms - without supporters :-
A bronze Medieval Knight sculpture produced with your individual Crest and Arms :-
Producing a bronze Heraldic Shield :-
Outlined on this page are various examples of how a typical commissioned Coat of Arms and Crest is produced; From the original clients drawing, through the various stages of carving, to the completed painted or natural wood finish applied to the completed Coat of Arms or Crest.
Crest for the College of Arms
Crest for the College of Arms
Crest for Windsor Castle
Crest for Westminster Abbey
Various Knights of the Garter, Crests and Coronets in the Artist's studio awaiting delivery to Windsor Castle. They are the Crests for Lord Butler of Brockwell (Badger), The Duke of Westminster (Talbot) Lord Morris of Aberavon (Black Bull) and the Coronet for HM The Queen's first cousin HRH Princess Alexandra
The completed coronet and crests now in position above the Knights helms in St George's Chapel Windsor Castle.
HM The Queens daughter The Princess Royal and Ian G Brennan discussing his latest commission, Ian working on The Princess carved Coronet
HRH The Princess Royal and HRH The Duke of Gloucester's Coronet and Crest carved by Ian G Brennan from lime wood in position in St George's Chapel Windsor Castle, placed alongside HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HM Queen Elizabeth II carved Crests.
Two examples of a Carved Crest
A copy of the original coloured design obtained by the client which Ian works from.
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Once the most suitable pieces of timber had been selected from the stack of lime wood, once the size of the Crest has been determined by the client the original crest section of the drawing is scaled up accordingly and a simple outline paper version produced. This paper outline can then be easily moved around the block of wood to find the most suitable part of the timber from which to produce the beaver carving itself.
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When a Crest or Coat of Arms is to be painted rather than stained and polished, the fine detail is usually carved bolder and deeper in the wood, which helps to prevent the fine detail of the carving being obscured by the various layers of paint that will be required to finish the Crest. Once the carving has been completed to the clients satisfaction the whole Crest has then to be sanded smooth to remove any remaining chisel marks using various grades of sand paper and prepared for painting.
Once the white wood primer paint has been added and then allowed to dry, the carving is again finely sanded down before the first coat of the finish paint can be applied. In this particular crest an 'enamel' paint finish was applied with the first coat of this enamel being rubbed down smooth. The second coat of enamel paint was then be applied and the paint is then allowed to fully harden for a few days, before the whole crest is ready to be lightly polished with 0000 wire wool dipped in wax polish.
Completed Beaver Crest awaiting packing and delivery.
Briefly shown below are the various stages of the carving Ian was commissioned to produce for the Duke of Devonshire. KG ' Snake upon a Wreath Crest', this crest follows the ancient design of the Crest for the Duke of Devonshire family. This particular Crest again carved from lime wood before it was painted was then placed above the Duke of Devonshire stall ( seat ) which is alongside the High Altar in St George's Chapel Windsor Castle.
The completed carved and painted crest now shown in position in St George's Chapel Windsor Castle. .
Lime Wood - 16 inches high
A selection of carved and painted Crests and Coronets
The various stages of a carved and polished Coat of Arms - ( with supporters )
( 37 inches high )
Carefully selected Lime wood timber were set aside form the large timber supply that has been seasoning for several years, on this occasion Lime Wood was chosen to reproduce the Arms, the bulk of this timber for the shield, crest and motto. On this occasion the wood was required to be around four inches thick, also shown below are the larger seasoned lime wood blocks set aside for the Goat Supporters sculptures.
Lime Wood is a much favoured wood for carving, as once seasoned, is a very stable when placed indoors, the timber also enables you to carve in very fine detail. All the various commissioned Crowns, Crests and Coronets that have been carved by Ian G Brennan for over fifteen years for the Knights of the Most Noble Order of the Garter and Most Honourable Order of the Bath have all been carved from lime wood.
The outline of the goat supporters carvings are drawn onto the larger blocks of lime wood and part of the wood has now started to be removed.
The outline of the Goat Supporters
All the various parts of the coat of arms carvings are carefully assembled in their correct positions with most of the roughing out stage of the carving having been completed.
With all the detail carving on the coat of arms now completed , many hours of careful sanding down prior to staining the wood is now required before the finally stage of applying the wood preservative, clear wood sealant and the final wax polishing.
The completed Coat of Arms
( 30 inches high x 26 inches wide )
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A selection of smaller carved and painted coats of arms both with and without supporters
The various stages of carving a Coat of Arms - ( without supporters )
( Teak - 15 inches high )
The high points of the carving is left untouched with the remainder being carving away to the desired depth. After all the fine detail of the carving has been completed, the coat of arms is sanded smooth and several coats of a wood preservative and then wood sealant is applied. Once dry the coat of arms are again being carefully sanding down and the final wax polish applied.
Completed Arms - ( 15 inches high )
It has taken just over two weeks full time work to complete the carving on this particular coat of arms.
A Bronze Heraldic Shield
The various stages of producing a heraldic shield cast in bronze
(16 inches high )
The original shield carved from wood
The design of the shield was firstly carved from wood and then the surface of the carved shield was sealed with shellac to prevent the rubber mould sticking to the wood. A silicone rubber mould was then produced using this original wood carving as the master copy and within this rubber mould melted wax is painted or swilled against the inner surface of the flexible rubber mould to the desired thickness required for the finished metal casting.
Various 'wax trees' being dried in the foundry
The completed wax shield is then attached to a wax ' tree' used for the casting process and all the necessary runners and risers required are attached, the whole thing is then coated with a Ceramic shell which is then pre heated in an oven to around 1300° centigrade. Once the bronze is melted in a high-frequency induction furnace it is poured into the hot shell, enabling the bronze to flow into all the detailed sections. After solidifying and cooling the ceramic shell is broken away from the bronze cast and the castings are cut away from the tree.
The remaining larger pieces of the ceramic shell has then to be cleaned away from the sculpture by tapping the bronze tree section of the sculpture with a hammer, the remaining smaller pieces of ceramic can then be removed by sand blasting. Hours of careful fettling is then required to clean up and finish the bronze heraldic shield.
The version of the shield having now been cast in bronze and finely chased, all that now is required is for the surface of the bronze to be sealed with a bronze primer prior to the first coat of paint being applied. On this occasion the shield was required to be painted in its correct heraldic colours, however if a natural bronze patina is required this can be obtained by using a variety of different coloured patinas which is sealed in with wax polish.
As the heraldic shield was to be placed outside in all weathers it was painted with several coats of enamel paint..
16 inches high ( 46 cm)
For further details about commissioning your own Coat of Arms or Crest
please contact Ian G Brennan at :-