Important collection of Friendly Society brasses to be offered at Clevedon

Important collection of Friendly Society brasses to be offered at Clevedon

Clevedon Salerooms is delighted to announce that its Autumn Specialist Fine Art sale will showcase highlights from an important single-owner collection of West Country friendly society brasses.

Amassed over several decades, the collection is one of the largest to appear on the market in recent years and features an impressive variety of distinctive designs.

These eye-catching objects illustrate a fascinating chapter in the social history of the local area. Friendly societies were clubs which were formed to provide a basic form of insurance for their members against sickness or death, though in addition they played an important part in the social life of the village. Brasses were the emblems of local friendly societies and were common in the west of England between the late 18th and early 20th centuries. They were used as ceremonial staff heads – or pole finals – which members would parade with on certain days of the year.  On a Society's annual 'Feast Day' or 'Walking Day', usually in spring, the members would hold a parade around the town or village, with the officers or sometimes all the members carrying poles or staves between four and eight feet length. Although poles were carried in this procession in many districts, the use of brass heads was largely confined to Somerset and the adjoining counties. The design of the brasses sometimes represented an interest of the club such as the inn in which the meetings were held. These origins are reflected in many of the brasses in the sale. Amongst an array of intriguing emblems in the sale include a swan, a full moon and a lion wearing a crown.


Approximately twenty lots will be offered in the sale, with the remainder of the collection which numbers over 100 brasses, being offered in future sales.

Other highlights in the sale include a large collection of 19th century Grand Tour and Asian bronzes, Victorian and Edwardian gem set stick pins and a silver plated trophy presented to Damon Hill in the 1997 Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix and a fine offering of Burgandy and Barolo in the Wine section. The sale will take place on Thursday September 14th commencing at 10.30am .