11 x 8 1/8 in. (27.9 x 20.6 cm)
Northern German or Netherlandish
Medium and Support:
Glass, stain, enamel, and lead
Bertha Buswell Bequest
Location: Not currently on view
Small glass panels showcasing the coats of arms—specially-designed, unique combinations of lines, colors, and symbols that represent an individual or family—were especially popular among American collectors. While many were original, others were legitimate copies used to replace broken originals or decorate new and renovated buildings in the medieval or Renaissance style. There was also a large market for modern forgeries made specifically to serve an ever-growing market of collectors.
Of these three armorial panels [42.31, 42.34.3, 55.98], the only early example is the piece with the motto Bibe Si Sapis, which means “If thou art wise, drink.” The other two, both of which have women holding coats of arms, are modern, probably made in the late 19th or early 20th centuries.
[Label text from It Came From the Vault exhibition, 2013]