To arms, to arms

TCD MS 11423 coat of arms

TCD MS 11423 coat of arms

In December we drew our readers’ attention to a new acquisition, a fifteenth-century Italian breviary (MS 11423). The main illustration in the manuscript, a depiction of the Virgin and Child, was used as the Library’s Christmas card. The little codex was placed on display in the Long Room; the accompanying description referred to the unidentified coat of arms, which formed part of the illustration, with the comment that if the origin of the arms could be identified, the provenance of the book itself might be revealed.

We were recently contacted by a Dutch visitor to the Long Room, the owner of the website Heraldry of the World (, who suggested that the same arms can be seen nestling behind a portrait in the Wikipedia entry for Marcantonio Memmo, the Doge of Venice from 1612 to his death in 1651.

The dates do not quite fit but it may be that Signore Memmo was not the first of his family entitled to use these arms.

Jane Maxwell