Van Dyck's coat of arms

February 9 2017

Image of Van Dyck's coat of arms

Picture: Jordaensvandyck.org

One of the blog items on the new Jordaens/Van Dyck panel paintings project (mentioned below) was a query about Van Dyck's coat of arms. The arms appear on a mid-17thC engraving by Paulus Pontius, which shows a self-portrait by Van Dyck, and Van Dyck's portrait of Rubens. The engraving was presented as showing the two 'knights' of Flemish painting (both were knighted by Charles I). But while the coat of arms of Rubens has always been confirmed, there was thought to be some doubt over whether Van Dyck's coat of arms is accurately represented.

In response to the JVD blog item, the art historian Karen Hearn tells us that the arms were confirmed by the herald Michael Siddons in his 2010 book The Heraldry of Foreigners in England 1400-1700. The registered arms were: 

ARMS: Quarters 1 & 4. Azure six roundels 3, 2 and 1 Or and for augmentation on a chief Gules a lion passant gardant Or. 2 & 3. Sable a saltire Or. Over all an inescutcheon Or thereon a bend sinister Azure.

CREST: A greyhound’s head.

Which matches the engraving.

(Boast: Regular readers may remember that the self-portrait shown in the engraving was re-discovered by yours truly a few years ago.)

The arms also appear on the frontispiece of Van Dyck's Iconography engraved by Jacques Neefs, which was published four years after his death.

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