Culture and heritage


Legislative Assembly, etched glass door 1911

This is one of the earliest, if not the earliest, representations of the NSW Coat of Arms in a non-paper form. It is shown here etched in the glass of the doors of the Legislative Assembly wing of the NSW Parliament House.

The photograph is dated 1911, and is likely to have been taken to record the newly-installed doors and their heraldic use. Stained, coloured and opaque glass of all sorts was very popular in the Federation or Edwardian period of the early twentieth century, and the Art Nouveau style of the circular bands and ornamentation around the Arms match the elaborate door handle. The entwined 'NSW' monogram in the left-hand side-panel is placed on an octagonal design of uncertain meaning. The artist who created these representations is not known.

The naturalistic forms favoured in the Art Nouveau styles are reflected in this representation of the Arms: the flowing motto ribbon, the tendril-like tails of the kangaroo and the lion, and the curvaceous shape of the shield, reminiscent of the shield shapes often used in depictions of the Advance Australia Arms. They show the influence that prevailing artistic and architectural styles can have on representations of a coat of arms at any particular time.

Some questions to research:

  1. Why might the earliest non-paper representations of the NSW Coat of Arms be associated with the State's parliamentary buildings?
  2. Are there other examples of representations of coats of arms in which the style of the representation can help to work out when it was created?
Image source: State Library of NSW, Picman, GPO 1 - 12243; State Heritage Register: Parliament House


Page last updated: 01 September 2012