Aug 12, 2013
Medieval Mondays: The Dunstable Swan Jewel
This beautiful little piece of jewelry is called the Dunstable Swan and is one of the overlooked treasures of the British Museum. It was found in a Dominican Priory in Dunstable, England, and probably dates to the 14th or early 15th century.
Knights at that time liked to think they were descended from one of Arthur's Knights of the Round Table, such as the Knight of the Swan. Both the powerful de Bohun family and the House of Lancaster had the swan as their symbol and when King Henry IV (reigned 1399-1413) married Mary de Bohun he took the swan as his personal symbol.
This was probably the personal ornament of a member of the family or one of the knights who swore fealty to them. I love the detail on this little figure, which is only about two centimeters tall!