Rewards From Brassing

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Many rewards can be gained from the art of brassing which is the hobby pursued by one couple who mentions ho the process is not as easy as people might think. Should you wonder what brassing is you should ask them nicely to know about it. To understand what brassing is, it is transferring the images of the flat metal figures commonly seen in tombs, images in stones in churches, and other decorative pieces from 13th to 17th Century England to paper to make artwork that could be exhibited.

The process doesn't sound difficult, but the couple insists that it is. Actually, before they were transferred to an Air Force base about a year ago they were stationed in England for four years. Other than being able to obtain antique furniture and other things, the display resulting from this couples interest in collecting antiques also include antique dishes and utensils. Although brassing is unheard of in most parts of the United States, when the couple arrived in England they grew fond of the activity which was rather popular over there.


In the 13th Century, the upper class English began honoring their dead by having flat-brass portraits of the dead engraved and placed over their tomb or on floor of a nearby church. So that an image could be copied, special black paper is used and then as it is placed over the brasses a special gold colored wax bar is rubbed against it.

There is an image recreated as the wax rubs off on the paper following the ridges in the brass. Able to bring back from the original monument 200 paper images and a duplicate brass was the couple. What the couple considers the most valuable is the brass of Sir John d' Abernon who died in battle in 1277. Bookings for rubbings had to be made months earlier in order to accommodate the people who want to take rubbings off of this earliest known brass.

What the Vicars in charge of the brasses were strict about as the couple said was only permitting those who have experience to make duplicates of the brasses. In New York some Americans sold copies of the brass for $2,000 each and this resulted in the English not being as accommodating when it comes to those who are interested in making copies requiring each and every one to first sign a waiver promising that they would not sell any of the duplicates they bring back home.


When it comes to the remaining monuments from the large number originally put down from 1250 to 1650 8,000 are left. It is with many thanks to these brasses that the historians have been able to get the clues from the monuments that were necessary for them to trace the development of everything from armor and clothing to lifestyle. A couple of things they were able to learn from these include a lion pictured at the feet of a knight means that he died in battle and a hound at someone's feet meant that he liked to hunt with dogs.

You could say that art is not as advanced in the US so only a few brasses can be found here. Such things as manhole covers, etchings on tombstones, and other decorative engravings can be duplicated by rubbing. Although the rubbing of Sir d' Abernon needed four hours for the couple to accomplish it is still a fun hobby. Asked from the couple by several schools and art shows is that they display their rubbings.

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