Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Happy Saint Dunstan's Day!

St. Dunstan tweaking the devil's nose.

In the Middle Ages St. Dunstan (909 - 988) was recognized as the patron saint of English goldsmiths and jewelers.  A man ahead of his time, Dunstan was a Renaissance man five hundred years before the Renaissance.  He served as an adviser and state minister to several English kings and as Archbishop of Canterbury in the late 10th century.  St Dunstan was also a noted harp player and composer of hymns, a gifted writer and illustrator of manuscripts and an accomplished silversmith.

May 19th is celebrated as St Dunstan's Day. This is why before 1660 the date letters used in English hallmarking ran from May 19th of one year to May 18th of the next year.  After the English Restoration, Charles II decided it would be better if the date letters ran from his birthday (May 29th) instead.  It is nice to be king.

Pictured above is St. Dunstan engaged in one of his favorite activites - tormenting the devil.  Here he is pictured in an early 14th century manuscript tweaking the devil's nose with a smithy's fiery tongs.  Did I forget to mention St. Dunstan was also an accomplished blacksmith?

At the Antique Cufflink Gallery we hope everyone enjoys a
pleasant and safe St. Dunstan's Day!