The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
This object is currently being catalogued
  • Holofernes
  • This object is currently being catalogued
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • England
  • c. 1535 - 1540
  • Gold and enamel, enamelled, repoussé and chased
  • Diameter: 5.3 cm
  • W57
  • Smoking Room
Commentary
History
  • Hat badges were a common adornment at many sixteenth-century European courts. Although they were not as popular at the Tudor court, a few very richly ornamented examples were made in England. Scenes from the Old Testament appear to have been especially popular. This badge shows the Jewish heroine Judith dropping the head of the Assyrian general Holofernes into a bag held by her servant. He had been besieging Bethulia and had hoped to seduce her, but she decapitated him while he was overcome with liquor (Apocrypha: Judith 13). The simplicity and directness of the design are comparable to contemporary woodcut illustrations.