CORBETT, Thomas. Engraved armorial bookplate.

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CORBETT, Thomas Engraved armorial bookplate

Engraved Chippendale Armorial bookplate of Thomas Corbett. The arms bear a single raven which appears to be the mark of the Corbets of Moreton Corbet (the spelling of the surname seems interchangable with one or two 't's). There have been two Corbet Baronetcies of Moreton Corbet, the first created in 1642 for Vincent Corbet, the second in 1828 for Andew Corbet, the great-great-grandson of the first baronet's brother Richard. The motto displayed, Deus Pascit Corvus (God feeds ravens), is the oldest one associated with the family. Interestingly Sir Andrew Corbet (the first to bear that name and who lived during Edward IV's reign) who was the first to use the towered elephant crest seen here rather than the traditional raven, used a second motto - Virtutis laua actio - not seen here.
The most intriguing aspect of the coat of arms is the use of a double brisure – at the top of the shield is a three pointed label over a crescent, acting as cadency marks. An eldest son would use a label of three points (as here) and the crescent would denote a second son. In this case the combination is to denote the first son of a second son (as the label is on top). Cadency marks are unusual in English heraldry, and even then it is rare to see two combined marks. Unlike in Scottish heraldry, where each coat of arms must be individual to its bearer and the only person allowed to bear undifferenced arms is the head of the family, in English more than one member of a family may bear the same arms - assuming they have the right. Combined marks can be confusing (as a nephew might bear the same marking as his uncle for instance) so Scottish heraldry tends to use different borders to achieve the effect. The age of the plate would suggest that Thomas was the grandson of one of the first two baronets of the second creation, however we have been unable to confirm his identity precisely.