RARE AND IMPORTANT MOURNING ESCUTCHEON BEARING THE HANCOCK-HENCHMAN FAMILY COAT-OF-ARMS FROM THE FUNERAL OF THOMAS HANCOCK, BOSTON, AUGUST, 1764.

Est. $20,000-$30,000
Sold: $10,800 ($9,000)

At the time of his death, Thomas Hancock was one of Boston’s wealthiest merchants. His funeral is said to have been the last in Boston that observed the "old extremes" of mourning. In the late 17th – early 18th centuries the funerals of especially prominent people in the colonies were patterned after those given the nobility in Britain, with lavish displays of heraldry such as hatchments, banners and small funeral escutcheons, which would have been placed on the bier. After Hancock’s passing, the growing hostility with Britain curtailed the import of its luxury goods, as well as the practice of its customs. The Hancock-Henchman escutcheon displays a shield divided vertically with the Hancock arms on the left and the Henchman arms on the right, for the marriage of Thomas Hancock and Lydia Henchman. The black background behind the Hancock side signifies the decease of the husband| the white, the survival of the wife. Of painted and gilt silk, 16 x 14 inches.

Provenance: Lydia Henchman Hancock| to her nephew, John Hancock| his brother, Ebenezer Hancock| his son, John| his son, James Scott Hancock| his daughter, Mary Ellen Hancock Tilton| her son, John Hancock Tilton| and by descent to the present owner.

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