Royal Armouries

Armour of King Charles I as a Boy

Images

colour photo of a boy's armoured figure with decorated banded edges

Armour of King Charles I as a boy. Dutch, about 1616 (II.90)

  • colour photo of a boy's armoured figure with decorated banded edges

    Armour of King Charles I as a boy. Dutch, about 1616 (II.90)

  • colour photo of Charles I's armour helmet with banded decoration

    Detail of armour of King Charles I as a boy. Dutch, about 1616 (II.90)

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of an armoured figure on horseback

    Figure of King Charles I 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

  • colour portrait of King Charles II in armour

    Charles II when Prince of Wales by William Dobson, 1644. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2013

Date: 1616 | Object number: II.90, VI.59, VI.117–8

Statistics

Object Provenance: Dutch, about 1616
Object Number: II.90, VI.59 shaffron, VI.117–8 saddle steels
Height: 1448 mm (57 in)
Total Weight: 19.52 kg (43 lb)
Pot Weight: 1.19 kg (2.6 lb)
Tassets Weight: 1.19 kg (2.6 lb)
Shield Weight: 2.19 kg (4.8 lb)

Armour of King Charles I as a Boy

Description

The third of the museum’s collection of Stuart royal armours, this one is most likely to have been made for Charles I as Prince of Wales, and subsequently worn by Charles II as Prince. It is another fine example of Dutch decorated armour of the early 17th century. Unfortunately no contemporary accounts or documents have so far been found to confirm the identification.

Unlike the earlier armours, this one is a small field garniture, comprising a complete field armour for a boy, with a shaffron and saddle steels, and a shield, short tassets and a pot for wear on foot. The whole armour is decorated with punched, engraved and gilt ornament, and the steel background was originally black (it is seen quite clearly in Dobson’s portrait of the future Charles II). The punched and incised ornament seen on this group of Dutch armours seems completely to have replaced the etched decoration that was standard for armour of high quality in the previous century. It seems also to have been a Dutch innovation, which was copied by armourers in England for the remainder of the century.

The armour is worn by Charles II as Prince of Wales in the portrait painted by William Dobson in Oxford in 1644 when the Prince was fourteen years of age, and had already seen active service in the first Civil War. However, it is also used in portraits of adults, for example Dobson’s portrait of Sir William Farmor of Easton-Neston, and the portrait of King William III as Prince of Orange, Dutch, about 1677, after Sir Peter Lely (Royal Armouries no. I.40). The armour said to have been presented by the town of Nancy to the Duc de Bourgogne in the Musée de l’Armée, Paris, is almost identical.

Tower arsenal. Probably brought to the Tower in 1649 by Edward Annesley, ‘One Small Field Armor of his late Matie’. Used as the figure of Charles Prince of Wales in the Line after Meyrick’s 1826-27 reorganisation, redisplayed by 1859 on foot, but by 1877 back on a horse; Britton 1830, no. 17; Hewitt 1859, II.68

References

J. Britton, Memoirs of the Tower, London, 1830, 276, no. 17
J. Hewitt, Official Catalogue of the Tower Armouries, London, 1859, 16, II.68
Viscount Dillon, Illustrated Guide to the Armouries, Tower of London, 1910, 186, II.18
T. Richardson, ‘H. R. Robinson’s “Dutch armour of the seventeenth century,”’ The Journal of The Arms and Armour Society, XIII, 1991, 256-278

Statistics

Object Provenance: Dutch, about 1616
Object Number: II.90, VI.59 shaffron, VI.117–8 saddle steels
Height: 1448 mm (57 in)
Total Weight: 19.52 kg (43 lb)
Pot Weight: 1.19 kg (2.6 lb)
Tassets Weight: 1.19 kg (2.6 lb)
Shield Weight: 2.19 kg (4.8 lb)

Related Objects

Charles I in the Line of Kings 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.

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

Themes Menu

Line of Kings