Royal Armouries

George II in the Line of Kings

Images

colour photo of a full-length armour with decorated banding

Armour used for the figure of George II in the Line of Kings 1768 -1826. English, Greenwich, about 1560 (II.82)

  • colour photo of a full-length armour with decorated banding

    Armour used for the figure of George II in the Line of Kings 1768 -1826. English, Greenwich, about 1560 (II.82)

  • monochrome engraving of a man with sash and medals

    Engraving of Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington and Master General of the Ordnance from 'The Tower and its Armouries' by J Hewitt. 1841 (I.378)

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of an armoured figure on horseback

    Figure of Sir Horace Vere in the Horse Armoury, The Penny Magazine, 1840

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of a line of mounted armoured figures

    ‘Interior of the Horse Armoury’, anon engraving, The Penny Magazine, 1836 © Royal Armouries 2013

  • George II

    Engraving of George II, London, 19th century, James S.Virtue, from the original painting by J.Faber

Statistics

Object Number: II.82

George II in the Line of Kings

Description

The representation of George II is evidence that the display of the Line of Kings was updated until 1768 following the death of a monarch. The figure of George II was added to the Line almost ten years after his death in 1760. There is no mention of him in the Tower of London guidebooks for 1753 or 1768, but he does appear in the Line of Kings in the 1774 Tower of London guidebook.

In this edition George II was at the start of the Line as it was shown to visitors on a tour of the Horse Armoury. Described as

‘in a complete suit of armour, sword in hand on a white horse, richly caparisoned with a fine Turkey bridle gilt with gold, with globes , crescents and stars, velvet furniture laced with gold, gold fringe and gold trappings’.

This is notably similar to how the figure of his father, George I, had been displayed since about 1750. Both had white horses, gilt Turkey bridles decorated with globes, crescents and stars. Their white horses were a reference to the heraldic device the White Horse of Hanover.

Both would have looked majestic on their white steeds, and the symmetry of the display would immediately have associated the first two members of the Hanoverian dynasty with each other and separate from the rest of the Line. What the display avoided showing was the well-known hostility between father and son. This may have been partly as they both had to fight to secure their thrones against the Jacobite threat. George II was the last British sovereign to fight alongside his soldiers, at the battle of Dettingen in 1743 against the French, at the age of 60.

George II was displayed in a mid 16th century armour. When the armour expert Dr Samuel Meyrick re-displayed the armour in the Horse Armoury, he removed George II’s figure from the Line of Kings. Writing in 1824, a few years before his redisplay, Meyrick was very critical of the inaccuracies on display, the representation of George II amongst them, as he noted ‘and even George II is represented in full armour’.

Though Meyrick’s new display style was toward accuracy there was a lament for the previous displays, and The London Magazine’s feature in 1829 nostalgically recalled when you could see the Line of Kings from William I to George II, regretting that ‘armour off ‘kings’ had been put ‘on to ‘lords and knights’. Clearly the move towards an academic display was not popular with everyone.

The figure of George II was the last to be added to the historic Line of Kings. George II is not represented in the current Line of Kings display.

Statistics

Object Number: II.82

Related Objects

Vere: forgotten outside the Tower? Click on the title link above to find out more.

Charles II in the Line of Kings Click on the title link above to find out more.

George I in the Line of Kings Click on the title link above to find out more.

The Hanoverian Line of Kings 1714-1820 Click on the title link above to find out more.

William Combe and the Microcosm of London William Combe and the Microcosm of London

Themes Menu

Line of Kings