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Sunday, 7 April 2013


Patrick Damiaens
Heraldic Woodcarver

Heraldry carved in wood  
The SIX Family, Amsterdam

Family coat of arms carved in wood
One of my specialties is the carving of Heraldic family coat of arms in wood. To carve a family coat of arms in wood is a bit of a personal challenge for me. Heraldry is a most interesting subject and I always look forward to taking on new assignments involving heraldic arms.

You learn about interesting people that captivate the imagination, all of whom have their own fascinating life story or family history. And for me personally it’s always nice to hear that my craftsmanship and quality are greatly appreciated.

Every heraldic coat of arms is different. Most of the time, it starts with an example that serves as a source of inspiration in the form of a drawing, an old sketch or some photographic material delivered to me by the client.
In some cases it occurs that the design for the family coat of arms is not entirely suited as the blueprint for the carving of it in wood. 

This might be due to the fact that the design is in a format which is a lot smaller than what the client had in mind (e.g. a large heraldic panel), in which case the family coat of arms has to be redesigned. If one were to simply enlarge the small design, the proportions or the composition of the design would be distorted. 
Usually things have to be added to the composition in order to make better use of the available space. It might also be that there is no logic to how the mantling was arranged, and it’s entirely possible that the design was never meant to be carried out in wood. After all, wood has its limitations.

It is equally important that the relief fits the dimensions of the coat of arms.
We always try to resolve these small and sometimes larger issues together with the client.


The Six Family, Amsterdam

The Six family is originally a northern French family whose descendants settled in Amsterdam around 1586. the latter was the father of the Dutch lineage whose members in 1815 and 1841 were included in the Dutch nobility.

The proven lineage begins with Guillaume Six, cloth dyer in Armentieres and Lille (France). His son Charles, who lived in Saint-Omer settled after the fall of Antwerp in 1586 in Amsterdam. Also there was the family active in the cloth and silk weaving. In the 17th century the family became one of the most important families of Amsterdam and are supplied the city many administrators and mayors

The family distinguishes two family branches Oterleek and Hillegom, both descended from  Charles Six and named after the properties which came later  into possession of the family. In 1815, Mr.. Cornelis Charles Six of Oterleek raised in the Dutch nobility, and he became in 1820 the title of baron by birthright granted. In 1841, Mr.. Henry Six, of Hillegom, enlisted in the Dutch nobility.

Several family members were painted by Rembrandt. The name Six is an abbreviation of Sixtus, a name given to the sixth child of a family. 

Jan SIX painted by Rembrandt (1654)

The SIX Collection, Amsterdam
Family Belongings, including family portraits, archive, art, furniture and antiques have been placed in the Six Collection (Amsterdam).

Six family heraldic Coat of Arms

Drawing, Family Coat of Arms

First we create a detail drawing of the family coat of arms. The source of inspiration was an old etching from the 19th century. Over the next few weeks, this drawing/blueprint will serve as a reference for carving the heraldic weapon in wood.(oak)

The drawing is redrawn on carbon paper and by a pen is applied to the wood. (oak)
A router is used to remove the wood around the drawing. A relief of 1.2 cm is created to carve the heraldic coat of arms in (bas-relief). 


The actual carving can begin.  
This stage is called modeling. Many years of studies and full-time experience are crucial.

Carving a family Coat of Arms


Because of the modeling, the original drawing disappears. During this stage, the drawing is reapplied on the rough shapes of the coat of arms with the help of a marker or a pencil.
SIX Family Coat of Arms, Carved in wood , Amsterdam
The ornaments, heraldic details and carving gets its proper height. Insight into the depths and the relief of the ornament, and knowledge of the maximum depth of an ornament are from great importance, as well as routine and experience in this art form. The use of plaster models and images can also be very helpful in this stage. 

Family Crest in wood
Coat of Arms Six : in blue two Wassenaar, Dutch for  enlarging of the Moon, accompanied  with a star, all of them silver

Wassenaar = The 
enlarging moon or crescent is the moon shortly after new moon. Wassenaar : the word means 'increase'. From the northern hemisphere, is the illuminated crescent moon on the right side of the moon.
Helmet partly steadily at. Torse: silver and blue. Crest: the star of the shield.

Manteling: silver and blue. 
Supporters: Left a silver horse, right beholding lion of natural color, red tongue, both on a brown tournament lance, a banner under the shield, with silver fringe and cords.

Arms Motto: STELLA DUCE (the star directed to Christ) in black letters on a white ribbon.

Coat of Arms in wood

On Youtube


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