Philippa Sims who you may remember is a volunteer curator at the Costume and Textile Study Centre at Carrow House Museum, Norwich is also a member of the Norfolk Heraldry Society and she has created a pair of heraldic motifs for you to download. The first is a griffon - one of the sixteenth century patterns for lacemakers and embroiderers by Federico Vinciolo, pattern designer to Henry I of France.
Griffons were thought to live in the high mountains of India where they dug up and guarded all the gold - hence their appearance as supporters to the coat of arms of the London Stock Exchange! The second is that other famous heraldic beast, the unicorn. Another of Federico Vinciolo's patterns of the 16th Century shows a Unicorn dipping his horn into the fountain to neutralise the water of poisons. Drinking vessels were often said to be made of 'unicorn horn' to safeguard those fearful of being poisoned. The famous tale of the Unicorn Hunt, where the mythical beast is tamed by a maiden is depicted on the wonderful tapestries now in the Cloisters section of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Click here for the Griffon download. Click here for the Unicorn download.