Heraldic shields, from the Hatton-Dugdale Book of Arms

Heraldic shields, from the Hatton-Dugdale Book of Arms, Late 1630s
Compiled by Sir Christopher Hatton (bap. 1605-1670) and William Dugdale (later Sir) (1605-1686)
Pen, ink and watercolour on vellum
47 x 72.5 (cm)
Society of Antiquaries of London

Maclagan 1956, pp. 31-48; Willetts 2000, pp. 284-6; London 2007, no. 21
full bibliography (pdf)
 Heraldry and genealogy were subjects of the highest interest to Elizabethan and early Stuart antiquaries, for the history of noble and gentry families was central to national and local history, and besides, many antiquaries were heralds. William Camden was a herald, as was Sir William Dethick, Garter King of Arms (the senior of the three English Kings of Arms) at the end of the sixteenth century, who enabled the Elizabethan society of antiquaries to meet in the Office of Heralds at Derby House, London. William Dugdale rose through the ranks of heralds to become Garter in 1677, the year in which he was also knighted. Dugdale's patron was Sir Christopher Hatton; with Sir Thomas Shirley and Sir Edward Dering, they formed a short-lived group called 'Antiquitas Rediviva' in the late 1630s, and this book of arms is a product of their collaboration. It records the coats of arms copied from 26 medieval and sixteenth-century rolls. The illuminator was probably William Sedgwick, the arms painter who did a good deal of work for Dugdale. Associated productions from this phase of antiquarian activity are the Book of Monuments in the British Library and the Book of Seals in the Northampton Record Office. Dugdale consummated his interest in heraldry with his vast Baronage of England published from 1675 to 1676.

Displayed are pages from the copy of Charles's Roll, named after Nicholas Charles, who owned it in 1605. The Society of Antiquaries has the earliest known manuscript of this roll, which was originally compiled around 1300. It has 486 coloured shields of those entitled to bear arms.