The various stages of producing an original carved Crest and Coat of Arms
A small sample of the wood and bronze Family Crests and Coat of Arms carved by Heraldic Sculptor Ian G Brennan; commissioned for private clients, Corporations and the British Royal Household
For over thirty years Heraldic Sculptor Ian G Brennan has been commissioned to create not only carved and painted Coats of Arms and Crests for private and Corporate clients but also has produce a wide variety of over eighty carved Crowns, Crests and Coat of Arms for Royalty and the Nobility from all over the World Ian most recent commissions for the Royal Household have included the two Royal Crests for HM The Queen's two sons, HRH Prince Andrew and HRH Prince Edward; The Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex.
These two Crests shown below were for the most recent Royal Knights to be awarded the highest and oldest Order of Chivalry the Most Noble Order of the Garter. These two almost identical Crests recognises their seniority within the Royal family joining their mother, The Sovereign HM Queen Elizabeth II, father Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, brother Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales and sister Princess Anne, The Princess Royal.
Carved and painted lime wood carved Coat of Arms along with the bronze version
25 inches high ( 64 cm)
Along with the bas-relief carved wood and versions of the Coat of Arms some clients have also commissioned a three dimensional version of their own Crest
A brief description of the various stages in creating a selection of Heraldic sculptures in bronze, wood and marble/resin :-
Carving an individual Family or Corporate Crest or Coat of Arms in wood or bronze :-
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 :-
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 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.
Each carved Coat of Arms or Crest that Ian produces are individually made to order and are therefore totally unique and are treated as such. They are all signed and dated and every care is taken to ensure the client is completely happy with the finished commission, whether it be for a private individual, corporation or one of Ian's latest commissions for the Royal Household.
Carved lime wood Arms shown with and 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 )
Carved lime wood Arms without Supporters - The larger version of the Arms were carved in wood the smaller version was cast in bronze
Please click to enlarge
Commissioned Crests and Coronets for the latest Ladies and Knights of the Garter and Knights of the Bath in Ian G Brennan's Studio awaiting delivery to Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle
Knights Arms carved from oak : St Paul's Cathedral London
click to enlarge
Sculptor Ian G Brennan along with a variety of commissioned wood and bronze heraldic sculptures
Griffin Crest - 27 inches high
Creating a Griffin Crest for a Knight of the 'Most Noble Order of the Garter' now placed in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
A short movie showing how Ian carved this Griffin Crest for a Knight of the Garter; shown in various stages from the seasoned 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 Queen Victoria Crest and modern Cunard Logo in Ian' studio commissioned for the Grand Lobby of the Cunard Liner the Queen Victoria
40 inches x 58 inches high 40 inches wide x 35 inches high.
For further details and stage photographs showing how both Cunard bas relief sculptures were produced; please click appropriate photographs.
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
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 Princess Anne 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.
Ian's carved and gilded Royal Crest for HRH Prince Andrew The Duke of York in position in St Georges Chapel in Windsor Castle
The Royal Crests for HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, HRH Prince Andrew The Duke of York, HRH Princess Alexandra and HRH The Duke of Kent
A copy of the original coloured design obtained by the client which Ian works from.
please click to enlarge
The crest sanded smooth awaiting the first coats of paint - primer and one of the first coats now added
Completed Beaver Crest awaiting packing and delivery.
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 )
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
The various parts of the coat of arms carvings are assembled in their correct positions with most of the roughing out stage of the carving 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, clear wood sealant and the final wax polishing.
The completed Coat of Arms
( 30 inches high x 26 inches wide )
please click to enlarge
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 )
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.
When the wax has cooled the hollow wax replica of the original sculpture is carefully removed from the rubber mould and the 'runner system' or 'tree', which will eventually channel the molten bronze into the sculpture is applied to the wax version of the sculpture.
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.