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Dunstable swan jewel
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The dunstable swan jewel is a livery badge, worn as a declaration of allegiance to a noble family or a king. It is made from opaque white enamel fused over gold, and the chain and coronet attached to the swan's neck are also gold.

The emblem of the swan was very popular among medieval nobles eager to demonstrate their descent from the Swan Knight of courtly romance. The most notable English family to use this symbol was that of de Bohun. The swan was adopted by the house of Lancaster when Henry of Lancaster married Mary de Bohun in 1380. When Henry became King Henry IV in 1399, the swan badge became associated with the Prince of Wales. Although descriptions of similarly fine pieces of livery jewellery exist in documents, the Dunstable swan jewel is the only known surviving example of such a badge.

Dunstable swan jewel

Made in France or England, c. AD 1400
Ht 3.3 cm
Purchased with contribution from the Art Fund, the Pilgrim Trust and the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths

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