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Thread: Help needed for identification - Challenging question on artifact - good luck !

  1. #1
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    Help needed for identification - Challenging question on artifact - good luck !

    Hello forum members,

    Although I am a sword collector at heart, I came across an item that is most intriguing and I do not know which forum to post it in. So, as we all might generally do, we resort to a place where we feel most comfortable for advice. So that is why I am here (where I normally post swords) Hopefully someone can inform me which forum I should post this item in.

    Well, here it goes....This item I am totally guessing is maybe mid 1800's? it is in fabulous condition. The leather was dry when I purchased it, so to save if from eminent death, I have been very slowly and carefully nurturing and feeding the leather to a point that it is stable with Antique Picard leather conditioner. I was lucky enough to save this in time from the previous owner, as the leather is responding very well to minute applications. I believe I have historically saved it in time so that it will live on for many more decades to come...it will outlast me. One has to be very careful with very old leather...slowly and just the right amount only.

    It is a beautiful all original coach driver's leather gorget or a military gorget with what appears to be a sterling silver (with very old patina) family crest of the Scottish clan Stuart? surmounted by a 'marquis' crown?

    The crest has two griffin's and the upper central animal is a lion with a very small scroll on both sides that say 'Nobilis Ira' (Something to the effect of 'Noble is the lion's anger/roar')

    Around the circular badge is also the script of "Nemo Me Impune Lacesset'

    Below the circular badge portion is, what I believe is St. Andrew with the cross.

    Not sure if this gorget was worn by someone in a Royal Highland Regiment, Black Watch etc or maybe it is a coach drivers gorget for someone in the aristocracy.

    Question: Might anyone know who this might have belonged to or it's relationship to military or maybe nobility?

    Thanks to anyone who is willing to share.
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Kind Regards,
    Derek McLane

  2. #2
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    Hi Derek, this looks like a martingale badge, the breast badge off a set of high end horse furniture. It's great quality, what does the reverse look like? The guys at the British Military Badge Forum could probably help you id the badge. My suspicion is that it's not military but there are guys on that Forum who only collect martingale badges.

    Greg
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    Last edited by Greg Nehring; 02-13-2021 at 09:27 AM.

  3. #3
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    Greg,

    Many thanks for the reply. Very interesting thought, I never considered it being a horse breast badge.

    The only other example I have ever been able to locate online is the one shown below. It is identical in all sense of size, shape, construction, material etc except it has a different badge and crown. It is described as a Coachman's leather gorget for some aristocrat. I believe mine is in better condition than this example found online.

    In fact, I can not find any other examples online other than this one shown below.

    I greatly appreciate the info Greg, I will certainly post my item on the forum you mentioned.
    Attached Images Attached Images    
    Kind Regards,
    Derek McLane

  4. #4
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    My apologies, I should have mentioned the dimensions in my previous post.

    Dimensions of mine are:

    Height: 6 1/2"
    Width side-to-side: 7 1/2"
    Thickness: 3/8"
    Kind Regards,
    Derek McLane

  5. #5
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    Now, if I can just find a sword with this family crest on the blade, this would make for a fine display.
    Kind Regards,
    Derek McLane

  6. #6
    The griffin/lion and "Nobilis Ira" motto are of the Montagu-Stuart family. The other motto is not, but is of 7 other families.

  7. #7
    P.S. According to the Wikipedia article (which see) and other sources, "Nemo Me Impune Lacessit" is/was(!) the Royal Stuart motto and the national motto of Scotland or of the Kingdom of Scotland(!); but the genealogical sources (Fairbairn, Burke, et al.) do not ascribe it to the Stuarts!

  8. #8
    Also the motto of several British/Scottish regiments, etc. etc. But see the Wikipedia article, for whatever it's worth.

  9. #9
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    Here’s another example sold online recently, this one does seem military. I believe they are gorgets not Breastplate Badges, too wide for a breastplate and no evidence of stitching either side and at the bottom for the shoulder and girth straps.
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  10. #10
    From Fairbairn, Burke, et al.: "A demi-lion rampant gu., and in an escroll above the motto Nobilis ira (for Stuart). A griffin's head couped or, the wings endorsed and beak sa. (for Montagu)." I can't find any other that matches(?) the item in question.

  11. #11
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    Thank you very much Ben and L. Braden for the replies and information. I do greatly appreciate it. Every little bit of information/clue is certainly helpful. Appears we may be on a path to the correct family/clan to which my gorget belonged to.

    I am still at a loss how to narrow down a specific historical date when this gorget was issued, and more historically important.....to whom and what position/rank this individual might have acquired? It would seem, to me, that gorgets of this category would have been issued to individuals with specific purpose.

    Myself, being a Mclane of the Maclean clan, as genealogy records indicate one can understand this gorget I own hits 'close to home' in a historical sense for me.

    Also, I appreciate all the kind responses, especially since this item is not edged weapons related (my true passion.)

    I sure hope more information comes to light soon.
    Kind Regards,
    Derek McLane

  12. #12
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    To those who may still be interested, it was kindly brought to my attention that the two winged creatures beneath the rampant lion are actually wyverns (a winged dragon, with wings, arrow/diamond shaped tail and has only TWO legs). I am not sure at this moment, but this may certainly prove useful in further research.

    Just wanted to share.
    Kind Regards,
    Derek McLane

  13. #13
    Yo, Derek!
    Fairbairn, Burke, et al. re Crichton-Stuart, Marquess of Bute &c.: "For Stuart, a demi-lion, rampant, gu. Nobilis ira. For Crichton, a wyvern, wings elevated and addorsed, fire issuant from mouth, all ppr." "1st, a demi-lion, rampant, gu., and over it the motto, 'Nobilis ira', for Stuart; 2d, a wyvern, wings elevated and indorsed, fire issuant from the mouth, all ppr., for Crichton."
    Best Regards!

  14. #14
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    Hi Sir Braden!

    Thanks!! Excellent information!!! And guess what, your right spot on with another detail...the wyvern is breathing fire from the mouth. Amazing what fine detail one can observe with the help of a 10X jewelers loop.

    Best Regards!
    Kind Regards,
    Derek McLane

  15. #15
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    Now that the closest identification has been found via Crichton-Stuart, the challenge remains to determine which specific Marquess of Bute the gorget may be directly related to...The 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th?

    Due to the old age of the leather and it’s construction, it leads me to presume it could be either the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd? (I would wager my bet on either the 2nd Marquess John Crichton-Stuart or the 3rd Marquess John-Patrick Crichton-Stuart.)

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