Royal Armouries

The Reverend John Skinner’s Visit to the Tower 24 May 1827

Images

monochrome newspaper illustration of a line of mounted armoured figures

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

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of a line of mounted armoured figures

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

The Reverend John Skinner’s Visit to the Tower 24 May 1827

Description

In the spring of 1827 the Reverend John Skinner came to London to attend to various personal matters, not least to secure a cadetship with the East India Company for his son, Joseph. As a committed antiquarian, however, Skinner combined personal business with a number of visits to the Society of Antiquaries, the British Museum, the India House Museum, and the British Gallery on Pall Mall. Also on his list of places to see was the Tower of London. Yet Skinner went away less than pleased.

‘We then went to the Tower, and saw everything that is shewn, which costs about 14s; a most shameful imposition. At the exhibition of works of individuals, it is very fair they should be remembered, for the trouble and expence they have been put to in order to bring their work to perfection; but when there is a public exhibition of things, for which the public, either directly or indirectly has paid, and the persons in attendance have already been paid, by the salaries they receive; it seems to be a disgraceful imposition, and must draw down the most serious animadversions of foreigners more especially whose exhibitions are conducted on such liberal principles…’

Skinner did not mention the recent rearrangement by Samuel Meyrick although it is unlikely that he had been unaware that the latter had undertaken the work to modernize the Tower Armouries exhibitions. Meyrick’s redisplay of the Tower’s collections in the New Horse Armoury had made little impact on Skinner it seems. Meyrick had also, of course, been concerned about the system of charging and had said so to the Principal Storekeeper, Mark Singleton, in about 1821; and it was cost, in the end, that mattered even to an antiquarian like Skinner.

Related Objects

Samuel Meyrick and the Rearrangement of the Horse Armoury, about 1824-1827 Click on the title link above to find out more.

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