Parade Shield, 1350-1450. Museum no. 3-1865

Parade Shield, 1350-1450. Museum no. 3-1865

Parade Shield
Italy (Florence)
1350-1450
Painted and gilt gesso over wood
Height 42 cm x width 22 cm
Museum no. 3-1865

This shield is dominated by a griffin, the coat of arms of the Villani family of Florence. The shield is for display rather than protection, and it would have been carried by family retainers at processions and pageants staged in the city at the time. For much of the 1400s various mercantile families vied with each other for supremacy in Florence. The shield serves to emphasise the importance of this particular family who had made their money in the 1300s in the wool trade.