woodcarving with painted gold accents

The mystery of the Coat of Arms

For many years this hand-carved hardwood, painted Royal Coat of Arms was thought to have hung above the Province House in Boston, the seat of pre-colonial British royal governors. This coat of arms was originally attributed to King George III, whose rule would eventually start a revolution. 

The MGH acquired the Province House from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts shortly after the hospital was chartered in 1811. However, this coat of arms was not part of that year. Its heraldry is that of Queen Victoria, whose reign began a year before the hospital opened. There is little information on its acquisition. The original Province House Coat of Arms still exists, however, and is on display at the Old State House in Boston.