The Dumaresq Family: The Coats of Arms Around Salisbury House

In our last post about heraldry and the coats of arms found around Salisbury House, we did some looking into the hatchment hanging in the Great Hall where there is an “escutcheon”. Today, we will be looking at the escutcheon a bit further.

escutcheon: in heraldry, a shield, typically referring to a smaller shield or crest placed over a larger one

Great Hall Hatchment Escutcheon – Close Up

As mentioned previously, this is the crest of someone from the Dumaresq family – which we know by looking at the top left quarter. Today we will be walking through how to trace genealogy through a crest, using this as an example. Reading left to right, top to bottom, we see the order that families married in.

In this case:

Dumaresq marries Dumaresq, whose son marries Bagot, whose son marries Payn, whose son marries Larbelestier.

Diagram of partial Dumaresq family tree

What is interesting (and could be debated) is the last quarter. What could have happened is either

1: another Dumaresq married in

or

2: Larbelestier was the last notable family to marry in, leaving an odd number of quarters and an empty space.

When the second situation happens the first quarter (in this case, Dumaresq) is repeated in the last quarter. Currently, we are unsure which is the case here. Where these marriages occur in this order in the Dumaresq family tree is quite a few generations before Frances Dumaresq, who we believe this belonged to. However, our research is ongoing and we are excited to bring more information.

Stay tuned for the next update on the coats of arms around Salisbury House.

Coats of Arms at Salisbury House

For those unfamiliar, heraldry is the study of family crests and coats of arms, and like anything else deeply studied, it can be a bit complicated. From understanding the rule of tinctures to scrolling through rolls of arms, we at Salisbury House have been doing a deep dive into the crests and coats of arms found throughout the house.

Most are familiar with what a family crest looks like, and Salisbury House’s own Carl Weeks had one.

Weeks Family Crest – Great Hall

Family crests are passed down through the patrilineal line, going from father to son (with some elements added to differentiate between father the sons). Crests can be added onto or combined with other pre-existing crests in a process is called “marshaling.” Crest marshaling was done for several reasons, one of which was the celebration of marriage. Carl Weeks did just that for his personal crest, combining the Weeks coat of arms with Chamberlain, Carl’s maternal side.

Weeks/Chamberlain Crest – Common Room

This style splits the shield in half, showing the paternal family’s crest on the left and maternal family on the right. Another common way to add crests is through “quartering.” Looking at the Chamberlain side of the crest above, we see an example of just that and how it looks when added into other crests.

Quartering Example – Found With the Suit of Armor Near the Main Staircase

As time goes on and arms added to the family crests, one creates a “pedigree” of sorts, showcasing the notable families within a person’s genealogy. After hundreds of years, something like this may happen:

Hatchment – Great Hall

The crest depicted can be overwhelming, but there are some things worth noting right off the bat. The first is the shape: this large diamond with the black border marks this as a hatchment. A hatchment is the coat of arms for someone deceased.

The second is the layering, with a larger crest in the back and a smaller over the center. This smaller shield is called an “escutcheon.” This shows the paternal family in the back on the larger shield, and the maternal smaller in front. By adding the maternal crest in front instead of adding more quarters (which was also possible), the lineage of the wife is preserved. The owners of the hatchment would most likely do this if she were a “heraldic heiress.”

Escutcheon – Close Up

This means that the wife in the couple had no living male relatives to carry on the family coat of arms, so it went to her.

To learn who this may belong to, look to the top left corner. When there is quartering in a crest, that quarter is the “original,” if you will, and is the name carried through the family.

With that, we know that the larger crest belonged to the Lempriere family.

Lempriere coat of arms at St Ouen’s Manor

And that the smaller crest belonged to the Dumaresq family.

Dumaresq coat of arms at Trinity Church

As of right now, we believe that this hatchment is that of Vice-Admiral George Oury Lempriere (m. Frances Dumaresq). However, our research continues as we search through the genealogy of both the Vice-Admiral and the hatchment.

Stay tuned for updates on the hatchment and the other crests at Salisbury House as we discover more.

October – December 2020 Featured Book: Den Geheelen Bibel

Grinnell College Libraries Feature: Den Geheelen Bibel

(Holy Bible in Dutch)

This Bible was published in 1553 and was one of the oldest religious books in the Weeks family collection. Published after the Reformation (1517), this Bible was created during a time when Protestantism was gaining strength in the Netherlands.  

Publication place: Netherlands

Publication date: 1553

Descriptive notes: Book bound in vellum or alum-tawed and has red stamping around the foredge. Inside are multiple wood-cut printed pictures.

Fun facts:

  • There are 1,189 chapters in the modern English Bible.
  • The oldest man mentioned in the Bible was 969 years old.
  • The full Bible has been translated into 683 languages.
  • Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” and Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” are the most replicated paintings.
  • The first complete Dutch Bible was published in 1526 in Antwerp and is known as the Statenvertaling or States’ Bible.
  • King Henry VIII’s Great Bible of 1539 was the first authorized of edition in English.

The Traveling Toad of Salisbury House

Two of the first things one encounters when entering the Great Hall of Salisbury House is the pair of 18th-century bronze, Japanese toad statues. These oversized garden creatures are guest favorites and have children and adults alike, exclaiming excitement when they see them.

It is unknown when or through whom Carl Week purchased the toads, they are believed to have entered the Salisbury House collection between 1925 and 1929. Traveling from Asia to America, the Weeks installed the toads outside Salisbury House leading up to the South terrace. The toads stood guard outside for several decades….

…That is until one started partaking in nocturnal travels.

Des Moines Register article from August 18th, 1957

In 1954, Carl and Edith Weeks sold Salisbury House and the collection to the Iowa State Education Association. Much remained the same for several years, that was until 1966.

Des Moines Tribune article from March 8th, 1966

On March 8th of 1966, unknown persons stole the toad to the left of the terrace steps from Salisbury House. The Des Moines Tribune reported on the theft.

The Des Moines Register article from March 9th, 1966

March 9th, Jessie Schaeffer found the toad abandoned in his residential driveway. Schaeffer turned the traveling statuary over to local police, who saw it safely back to Salisbury House. No information was available at the time as to why of who took the toad.

Iowa City Press Citizen article from October 31st, 1966

Pranksters stole the same toad on Monday, October 31, just seven months after the first theft. The toad was located later the same day on the steps of the Iowa capitol building.

Quad City Times article from November 1st, 1966

This time the event was reported to be the work of teens making mischief on Halloween. Once again, the toad was returned to Salisbury House and installed on its outdoor pedestal in the South garden.

Des Moines Tribune article from October 31st, 1967

After being taken twice in 1966, thieves again took the Salisbury House toad from the terrace on October 31st, 1967. As this was the third abduction in two years, the Iowa State Education Association moved both toads indoors.

1967 article from unknown paper

As this was the third abduction in two years, the Iowa State Education Association moved both toads indoors. While the toad’s traveling days are over, its many journeys around Des Moines continue to delight. Make sure to stop by soon to see the ‘Traveling Toad of Salisbury House!’

The Kings House: Centuries of Inspiring Architecture

When you walk through the door of Salisbury House, you are immediately transported back in time; this is all thanks to the Kings House in Salisbury, England.

The Kings House, Salisbury, England – 1923

Carl and Edith Weeks happened upon the centuries-old building in the early 1920’s while on a trip to England and knew they wanted the home they were building in Des Moines, Iowa, to have the same timeless presence.

Kings House (Left) – Salisbury House (Right)

Though not an exact replica, the similarities between Salisbury House and the Kings House are striking.

Kings House (Left) – Salisbury House (Right)

While Salisbury House’s story began in the 20th century, the King’s House was constructed throughout hundreds of years. First referenced in 13th-century documents, the King’s House was the residence of the Abbot of Sherborne Abbey and was known as the Court of the Abbott of Sherborne.

The property underwent a restructuring in the 15th century; this construction work can still be seen as the central frontage. In the 16th century, the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury Cathedral let the property to secular tenants, and the north end of the house was extended.

Engraving of the King’s House showing exterior prior to the 1634 addition.
1923 photo of the 1634 addition to the King’s House

During the reign of Henry VIII and the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, the property became known as Sherborne Palace.

Henry VIII Monk Hunting at the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Illustration by John Leech from Gilbert Abbott A’Beckett’s Comic History of England, Bradbury, Agnew & Co., London, 1880.

The property would earn the name the ‘Kings House’ after visits from King James I in 1610 and 1613.

Portrait of King James I and VI
Royal seal of James I – Located in the collection of Salisbury House & Gardens

Throughout the following centuries, the house would continue to be altered and subdivided, used for tenancy, a school for young ladies, and a college.

King’s House, Salisbury England – 1923 – Classroom in the former common room

In 1981, the King’s House became the new home of the Salisbury Museum. Today the museum offers eight permanent display spaces and three temporary exhibition galleries and is open to visitors Thursday through Sunday.

The Salisbury Museum, Salisbury, England

Though both properties have a distinct look, it is evident which features from the Kings House were reproduced by Carl and Edith across the pond. From the team here at Salisbury House, we hope you enjoy the following photos that illustrate the reverence the Weeks family paid to the King’s House through their imitation.

King’s House – Gothic Portico 1923
Salisbury House – Gothic Portico Reproduction
King’s House – Gothic Portico Ceiling 1923
Salisbury House – Reproduction Gothic Portico Ceiling
King’s House – Porch Room 1923
Salisbury House – Porch Room
King’s House – Great Hall 1923
Salisbury House – Great Hall

The ISEA Years by Sheila Bingamann

saliisbury guide book cover

The ISEA Years

Each year in the late 1960s the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) held a convention in Des Moines during October. For those of us in the Des Moines Schools it meant an all-day recess in the beautiful fall weather. During their convention, ISEA opened the Salisbury House for tours by their members. In 1969 as a senior at nearby Roosevelt High School, I was honored to be a student-guide in the House. I recently found my notes from this tour and the Guidebook published by ISEA with a copyright of 1967. These documents record how the house was used by the ISEA.

The First Floor

Only a few rooms on each floor were available to tour. The first floor rooms included the Great Hall, the Common Room and the Library. According to my memory, the Common Room still had its original draperies in 1969. The Library or as the ISEA referred to it the “Rare Books Library” had become the office for the secretary to ISEA’s Executive Secretary. The Dining Room was the Executive Secretary’s office. The breakfast room was work space for two additional secretaries. The kitchen and pantries were office space for the Publications Division of ISEA.

The Second Floor

To access the rooms on the second floor, we merrily went up and down the main staircase on the Wilton Carpet. The only rooms on public view were Mrs. Weeks’s bedroom, Mr. Weeks’s bedroom, the Coachman’s Room and the Queen Anne Room. Mrs. Weeks’s sitting room was the women’s lounge. Mrs. Weeks’s beautiful lavender bathroom was the women’s public toilet (Oh My!). Mr. Weeks’s bathroom served at the men’s public toilet. (Was it during this time that the marble sink was broken?) His bedroom was the ISEA board room with the dining room table used as the board room table. The four boy’s bedrooms were used as office space.

Basement and Third Floor

After the ISEA members were given tours of the first and second floors, the tour continued up the back staircase to the third floor. The third floor was used as offices for the Public Relations and Research Divisions of ISEA. Steel cupboards that had previously been in the kitchen and pantries were relocated to the third floor for storage.

After touring the third floor, the ISEA members proceeded down to the basement level which housed more offices for various ISEA divisions. There is a reference on page 27 of the Guidebook to a gymnasium in the basement. Finally, the Indian Room was used as a conference/dining room with a kitchen/cafeteria next to it.

The Mystery of the Dining Room Table

One of the ongoing debates at Salisbury House was whether the dining room table (circa 1600) was cut down by the Weeks or ISEA. The Guidebook appears to answer that question:

“The board room table was originally the dining table in what is now the executive secretary’s office. It has been refinished and restyled but is still supported by the carved bulbous legs of the original table. The table top is now narrower at one end to give all board members a full view of the chairman.” (page 25)

Pictures and Furniture Moved

A number of pictures and some major pieces of furniture were exhibited in different locations. The Van Dyck portrait of Cardinal Rivarola was displayed in the Common Room. It had been loaned out for an exhibition of Van Dyck’s work at Genoa, Italy (Cardinal Rivarola’s home town). The Guidebook claims that the painting is “one of the three greatest of Van Dyck’s works.” (page 16)

The Warwick Romney (now no longer thought to be a genuine Romney) and George Romney’s portrait of Lady Charlotte Milnes were hung in the Dining Room. Both of these paintings are now in the Common Room.

Two Stella paintings were in the East Passageway. These included the Birth of Venus now in the Great Hall and Tree of My Life which was sold by the ISEA for much needed funding.

Finally the choir stalls from Wimbourne Abbey that are now in the upstairs passageway were located in the Friendship Hall.

I hope you have enjoyed this walk down memory lane. A copy of the Guidebook and my notes are available for perusing.  Feel free to have the admissions desk associate in the Great Hall of the museum to show you these, if you’d like.

Salisbury House Guide book back cover

Salisbury House, 1935: Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, & Carl Weeks

On a January afternoon over eighty years ago, two celebrated American artists visited Des Moines as guests of Carl Weeks.

Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton, increasingly famous for their Regionalist art, lectured at Hoyt Sherman Place as guests of the Des Moines Women’s Club in the winter of 1935. The Des Moines Register covered the event and noted that, “Appearing in a gray suit in need of pressing and assuming a nonchalant, slouchy stance with hands in trouser pockets, Benton…launched into a detailed explanation of the development of art through the various ages.”

Carl_Grant_Thomas_smaller
A newspaper clipping from The Des Moines Register picturing Thomas H. Benton seated in the middle with Grant Wood on the left and Carl Weeks on the right.

Next, the artists motored several blocks to Salisbury House. Carl Weeks, Grant Wood, and Thomas Hart Benton were photographed together in the Library at Salisbury House. All three appeared to be having a grand time!

We can’t say for certain if Wood and Hart Benton stayed the night at Salisbury House (it seems likely.) However, we do feel confident that Carl and Edith would have entertained their guests in fine style.

The Weekses acquired a Benton painting while they lived at Salisbury House. This work was later gifted to the family of Hud Weeks, Carl’s third son. To the best of our knowledge, the Weeks family did not own an original Grant Wood painting…but they’ve got an amazing story!

Grapes of Wrath title page

The title page of a 1940 edition of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath published by the Limited Editions Club and illustrated by Thomas Hart Benton, Salisbury House Permanent Collection.

Main Street illustrated by Grant Wood

An illustration by Grant Wood from a 1937 edition of Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street published by the Limited Editions Club, Salisbury House Permanent Collection.

 

Books illustrated by Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood from the Salisbury House Permanent Collection can be seen on display in the Library during a regular guided tour of Salisbury House through January 28, 2018.

 

 

The American Chap-Book Christmas ~ 1904

Our annual holiday blog post turns this year to a “little magazine” from the Salisbury House Library, entitled The American Chap-Book: Christmas, A.D. MCMIV by William H. Bradley.

Chap book 001

As its whimsical cover suggests, this little book is a delight.

A peek inside the front cover reveals Carl Weeks’ book-plate (nearly all of the books in the Library collection contain this book-plate):

Chap book 002

And the following page immerses us into the marvelous world of Mr. William H. Bradley.

Chap book 003

Bradley’s diminutive booklet (it measures 4″ x 7″) combines his essay on “Appropriateness” relative to type composition in advertising, alongside selected examples and various Christmas greetings.

Suffice it to say that, on the subject of typography and design, Bradley had strong feelings. Born in 1868 in Massachussetts, Bradley began working in a printer’s workshop at the age of twelve after his father’s death. He later moved to Chicago for a short period of time. His sojourn in the Midwest produced The Chap-Book, a forerunner to The American Chap-Book. Although the publication ran only from 1894-1898, its influence was immense. Bradley’s design for the cover of an 1894 Chap-Book, entitled “The Twins,” also produced in poster form, is considered by many to be the first American Art Nouveau poster.

twins.jpg

After a few years in Chicago, Bradley returned to New England and worked independently. He established The Wayside Press in 1896 and, among other things, published Bradley: His Book. He described it as, ““a little magazine of interesting reading, interspersed with various bits of art, and privately printed at the Wayside Press[,] Springfield, Mass.”

Bradley_His Book

The publication was successful, but Bradley was eventually forced to sell the press because of health concerns. After regaining his strength, Bradley continued his work. He relaunched The Chap-Book as The American Chap-Book in 1904, in association with the American Type Founders Association.

Bradley became increasingly well-known through the rest of his career as an illustrator and designer. He later dabbled in film as well. The Saturday Evening Post eventually named him the “Dean of American Designers,” and he died in 1962.

His talent and panache shines through the pages of this little Christmas American Chap-Book in the Salisbury House Library. Each page has been scanned and included below. Happy holidays!

Chap book 003

Chap book 004

Chap book 005

Chap book 006

Chap book 007Chap book 008

Chap book 009Chap book 010Chap book 011Chap book 012Chap book 013Chap book 014

Chap book 015Chap book 016Chap book 017Chap book 018Chap book 019Chap book 020