Royal Armouries

‘Artemus Ward’ – an American wit’s view of the ‘Line of Kings’

Images

Artemus Ward

Portrait of Charles F.Browne better known as Artemus Ward from his book 'The Complete Works of Charles F Browne', London , 1887

  • Artemus Ward

    Portrait of Charles F.Browne better known as Artemus Ward from his book 'The Complete Works of Charles F Browne', London , 1887

  • monochrome photo of a long hall lined with armour displays

    The New Horse Armoury. About 1870 © Private collection 2013

  • monochrome photo of one wall of long hall lined with armoured figures

    The New Horse Armoury. About 1870 © Private collection 2013

  • LOK Artemus Ward

    Title page from the book, 'The Complete Works of Charles F Browne', London , 1887

  • LOK Artemus Ward

    Pg 432 from the book, 'The Complete Works of Charles F Browne', London , 1887

  • LOK Artemus Ward

    Pg 433 from the book, 'The Complete Works of Charles F Browne', London , 1887

  • LOK Artemus Ward

    Pg 434 from the book, 'The Complete Works of Charles F Browne', London , 1887

‘Artemus Ward’ – an American wit’s view of the ‘Line of Kings’

Description

Artemus Ward was the nom de plume used by Charles Farrar Browne (1834-67), a successful American writer and lecturer. He invented the character and name Artemus Ward and wrote in a style which achieved a great popular following in the USA. In 1866 Browne arrived in England where he applied his humorous approach to many of the sights, including the Tower of London.
‘Artemus’ gave an American tourist’s opinions on some of the figures in the Horse Armoury, and also commented on Queen Elizabeth’s Armoury:

‘A Warder now took us in charge, and showed us the Traters Gate, the armers and things. ...
‘Take the case of Gloster, afterwards old Dick the Three, who may be seen at the Tower, on horseback, in a heavy tin overcoat – take Mr Gloster’s case. Mr G was a conspirator of the bassist dye, and if he’d failed he’d have been hung on a sour apple tree. But Mr G succeeded, and became great. He was slewd by Col. Richmond but he lives in history, and his figger may be seen daily for a sixpence, in conjunction with other eminent persons, and no extra charge for the warder’s able and bootiful lecture.
There is one king in this room who is mounted onto a foamin steed, his right hand graspin a barber’s pole. I didn’t learn his name’.

‘At one end of the room where the weppins is kept is a wax figger of Queen Elizabeth, mounted on a fiery stuffed hoss, whose glass eye flashes with pride, and whose red morocker nostril dilates haughtily, as if conscious of the royal burden he bears’.

‘Artemus’ achieved public success in Britain with his writing, which was taken up by Punch magazine, and his public performances. However, at the start of 1867 Browne was taken ill with tuberculosis and died on 6 March, aged only 32.

Themes Menu

Line of Kings