brass finial (finial)

New Acquisitions


This brass finial was mistakenly collected as an example of a Friendly Society pole head. Friendly Societies were 19th and early 20th century cooperative organisations to support rural workers. In some ways they were proto-trade unions but they also adopted semi-masonic symbols to create a sense of identity.
Pole heads were recognised as having a strong aesthetic and became collected by those interested in English Folk-Art. Margaret Lambert and Enid Marx were a couple who were pioneer collections in this field, their main collections are now at Compton Verney. Marx and Lambert toured the country looking for examples of folk-art and when in Exeter they found what they thought were Friendly Society pole-heads and donated them to RAMM. Sadly they were mistaken. What they found were probably brass fittings from a church, but one can see a similarity.

This object is not on display.

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