Saturday - 26 July 2014

Victorian brass rubbings emerge at Norwich fleamarket

11 April 2014Written by Joan Porter

An item with an interesting local connection which is for sale at this Saturday’s Norwich Fleamarket is a rare Victorian large folio of European brass rubbings collected by a Norwich cleric.

The Irish-born Reverend William Creeny, vicar of St Michael-at-Thorn, a pre-Conquest church in the city destroyed in 1942 by what were known as the Baedeker Raids (Luftwaffe targets identified from the famed tourist guides), was a past president of the Monumental Brass Society, founded in 1887 by a group of Cambridge undergraduates and still going, with 500 members.

He was a leading authority on continental brasses and copies of his A Book of Fac-similes [sic] of Monumental Brasses on the Continent of Europe published in 1884 are in the V&A, the Royal Academy and the British Museum.

Bought at auction, the folio which is being offered by local dealer Malcolm James at £110 is in its original binding and has some 80 illustrations with fascinating details.

Measuring 15 x 22.5in (38 x 57.5cm), it covers the period 1231 to 1600 and includes rubbings from Belgium, Holland, Prussian Poland, France, Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden. Rev Creeny visited churches in towns such as Meissen, Ypres, and Ghent later wrecked in both world wars.

Brasses include those of the Danish King Eric and Queen Ingborg of Ringstead (1319) and Don Parafan, Duke of Alcala of Seville (1571).

The monthly 100-dealer Norwich Fleamarket is at St Andrew's Halls on Saturday, April 12.

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