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19th Century Crests

19th century crests throw up all sorts of unusual material, the meaning of which is often not clear today. I should be delighted if anyone can throw light on their meaning, origins or dates.


Mr Edmund Yates's Invitations

Q I can find material on Edmund Yates, and on the Egyptian Hall, on the internet, but cannot make sense of it. What and when was the exhibition?

A While I cannot answer the query directly, the following information may prove of interest: The Egyptian Hall was one of the most popular venues for exhibitions and spectacles during the 19th century, situated in Piccadilly, it was built in 1812 and demolished in 1905.


A I think I can hazard a guess about about the Egyptian Hall crest. One of the most popular exhibitions at the Egyptian Hall in the 1850s was that on Albert Smith’s ascent of Mont Blanc. It included panoramas and there was a series of accompanying lectures - numerous printed guides and programmes were published.

Edmund Yates was a close friend of Smith and when Smith died in 1860 Yates wrote a memoir of his friend for the latest edition of Smith’s book on his climb. It seems highly likely that Yates was allowed to issue free invitations and the seal might have been affixed over the price to an ordinary admission ticket.


A The following appeared in the classified advertisement section of The Times newspaper of February 1863:

Mr Edmund Yates’s Invitations to Evening Parties and the Seaside will be issued at the Egyptian-hall every evening (except Saturday), at 8 o’clock. Mr Harold Power will be one of the party. A morning performance on Saturday, at 3 o’clock. Stalls, 3s; area, 2s; gallery, 1s. The box-office is open daily from 11 till 5 o’clock.”

Does anyone know what type of performance was taking place?



Love Truth, Cherish Reason, Hate Hypocrisy, Fight Superstition

Q The apparent Irish connection has not enabled me to identify the organisation (?) which produced this beautifully executed crest; it is possibly 20th century.


Throw fhysic to the dogs/To be or not to be

Q The barrel is labelled “The Pills”, and the dog appears to be holding a pill. Are both the phrases quotations from Shakespeare? Could it be connected with the music halls?

A Yes. Macbeth and Hamlet are both feeling somewhat low at this point of their respective plays. Perhaps the pills offer a way out. Whether Fhysic is a misprint or the P is damaged I cannot tell.

Malcolm Shifrin



This regular feature invites answers by email to members’ questions on an item of ephemera.