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An early 20th century Edwardian hand painted escutcheon mounted on an oak shield representing the Coat of Arms of the University of Cambridge. Made by A.W. Crisp & Co. of 16 King’s Parade, Cambridge, who operated from this address as heraldic artists between 1884 to 1974.


English, circa 1910


Height: 19.5cm / 7¾"
Width: 15.5cm / 6”

The University of Cambridge was founded in 1209 and is the world’s third oldest university. Cambridge’s founding followed the arrival of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with some local townspeople. The coat of arms of Cambridge University was granted in 1573 and is painted on a red background with a cross of ermine fur between four gold lions walking but with one fore-leg raised, and facing the observer. Heraldically the lions always face left. On the centre of the cross is a closed Bible with its spine horizontal and with clasps pointing downward. The lions represent the university’s royal patronage, the ermine represents dignity and the Bible on the cross represents both knowledge and the Christian faith. The Cambridge colleges are not as old as the university itself. The colleges were established later and were initially endowed fellowships of scholars. There are 31 colleges within the university, the oldest being Peterhouse which was founded in 1284 by Hugh de Balsham, the Bishop of Ely. Cambridge and Oxford are sometimes described as rivals but also share many common features and are often jointly referred to as Oxbridge.

An Edwardian Coat of Arms Representing the University of Cambridge, c.1910



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