This wonderful old TRUSTY SERVANT "HIRCOCERVUS" Door Knocker has a Registration date on the back for 1913 and was made by PEERAGE.Most of these old internal door knockers date to the late Victorian and Edwardian periods AND WERE OFTEN SOLD AS SOUVENIRS by the various Cathedrals, towns, and historical land marks.This is nice little knocker with excellent casting and definition ...it measures 3 1/2" in length and is of solid brass.
The hircocervus was a legendary creature imagined to be half-goat, half-stag. Plato utilised the idea of a fabulous goat-stag to express the philosophical concept of something that is knowable even though it does not really exist.
The word hircocervus first appears in the English language in a medieval manuscript dating from 1398 (now at the Bodleian Library). A hircocervus is depicted in a wall-painting called The Trusty Servant, painted by John Hoskins in 1579 which hangs outside the kitchen of St Mary's College Winchester in Hampshire. The far-famed figure of the Trusty Servant; a man with the ears of an ass on a pig's head, the snout of which is padlocked, while the feet are those of a stag. The right hand is held out and open, the left is loaded with a shovel, pitchfork, broom and gridiron. On his left hip hangs a sword and over his right shoulder peeps a shield. An inscription in Latin elegiacs with an English translation in heroic couplets, probably of the year 1778, gives its meaning:
"A trusty servant's picture would you see,
This figure well survey, who'ever you be.
The porker's snout not nice in diet shows;
The padlock shut, no secret he'll disclose;
Patient, to angry lords the ass gives ear;
Swiftness on errand, the stag's feet declare;
Laden his left hand, apt to labour saith;
The coat his neatness; the open hand his faith;
Girt with his sword, his shield upon his arm,
Himself and master he'll protect from harm."
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