Joan of Arc
October 4, 2010 at 3:39 am #10975
I recently lucked into a bell that I found very intriguing.
It is 4 1/4 ” high, 1 7/8″ diameter. brass with some copper (blue) corrosion. Clapper is a very rough drop form of a bulb on a copper wire. Inside shows a white corrosion.
What is interesting is that it appears to show a female in partial armor and wearing a sword scabbard. My first guess was Joan of Arc, although I hadn’t seen this form before. She appears to be cradling one arm (possibly injury?) but I can’t make out if she is actually carrying anything in it.
I finally found a partial reference to this bell in a photo on page 136 of Elsinore Springer’s “the collectors book of bells”, which lists it as one of three variations for Joan of Arc. While the form fully armored as a handle has somewhat more detail
From this I was able to cross reference it in Donna Baker’s “collectible Bells” Page 129 which suggests she is carrying her helmet. If so it would be quite out of proportion as the object at her elbow doesn’t seem to match the size of her head. Also allowing for the fold of the sleeve as shown on the other arm, there isn’t much room left for the helmet. Further the helmet she is supposed to have worn did not have a visor, it was essentially only a skull cap form she favored as she didn’t want to hide her face to encourage the troops. This means there is no loop piece for the arm to slide through to hang from the elbow.
Compare this to a known drawing of Joan, as depicted on page 147 of Donna’s book, and you can clearly see the helmet as much larger (but with a face guard) -sigh wouldn’t it be nice if historians would agree?- to show perspective, and you can see why I have trouble thinking that she is carrying her helmet in the version I have.
I do note that all references emphasize that she is in PARTIAL armor in this form. I note the sword is missing. Could it not be instead that she is actually in the stages of dressing in armor? And perhaps putting on the armored forearm piece where, what is being called ‘helmet’ is actually the folds of the dress’s arm being pushed back?
I would be interested in any further information or thoughts others might have on this one!
PS, don’t forget, double click the image to make larger!
October 5, 2010 at 12:54 am #14126hjlong3Participant
Some armor had a small shield to deflect sword blows and was worn at the elbow opposite the sword hand. I do not know whether she was left handed or not, but if so, this could be a small shield. A woman would not be expected to carry a large shield, nor would she be expected to carry a broadsword. Whether she is holding her arm or not is even more speculative, but Joan was known to have sustained an arrow to her shoulder and could not use that arm when she led her troops to victory.
Harry Long, MD
October 5, 2010 at 11:01 am #14127
EXCELLENT information Harry!
I hadn’t thought of a small shield and didn’t remember about the arrow wound!
Fascinating what one can learn from bells!
October 6, 2010 at 3:11 pm #14128GlockensammlerParticipant
I have a similar bell which you can see on my homepage in the photo gallery. In my case Joan of Arc keeps her arms crosswise in front of her chest. The right hand is holding a sword and the left hand is supporting the right arm.
Manfred Bicker / Glockensammler
October 7, 2010 at 12:56 pm #14129
While I don’t see the bell you described, you do have a fantastic collection! Many of the styles you have I have never seen before. (I live in an isolated area so that might not be unusual.)
You certainly have a varied and interesting collection! Gives me something to aspire to!
Thanks for sharing!
October 7, 2010 at 3:13 pm #14130AnonymousInactive
When you go to Manfred’s website, find the word “galerie” in the menu at the bottom of the page in the green section. Joan is the third bell in the third row. If you look at her elbow, you will see the shield on her elbow. Then it’s easier to see the sword that she is holding vertically. Manfred’s bell is a different design from yours.
October 9, 2010 at 1:45 am #14131hjlong3Participant
Manfred’s bell has great detail and the small shield or Bouclier (Buckler) is quite evident. These were popular in France during the era of Jean d’Arc. They allowed for great mobility during sword battle, but were useless against arrows. The large shield could be used to shield from arrows but was quite heavy and limited mobility. They were more commonly used by the infantry and not by the horse mounted knights.
Harry Long, MD
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