Royal Armouries Head of Creative Programmes, Karen Whitting dreamed up the idea for a mighty dragon, inspired by the small figures of a dragon and a hydra in the scale model of the Grand Storehouse at the Tower of London. Working with the creative team at Haley Sharpe Design a concept drawing was produced which York-based Paragon Creative have brought wonderfully to life.
Building on the tradition of trophies of arms and armour created at the Tower of London from the late 17th century, this new dragon has been constructed using objects and materials that represent nine institutions which were housed in the Tower and took 500 hours to design, assemble and install.
From concept to construction
The spectacular 4.5m tall dragon forms the centrepiece of the Royal Armouries’ permanent new exhibition at the White Tower – Power House. We felt that such a magnificent beast deserved a befitting name. Thanks to all those who entered the Royal Armouries and History™ competition, we are delighted to reveal the dragon will be called Keeper.
The mighty mythical beast is 3.5m long and comprises over 2,672 items – all representing the great organisations of state that took refuge behind the mighty Tower’s walls.
Keeper of the Tower
The dragon, weighing 1,200kg, comprises the following:
- Ordnance Office – armour, swords, firearms and cannon to create the back legs and body, including 22 antique pistols, four swords, four rifles, two bronze cannon and 20 bayonets
- Menagerie – a cage for the ribcage
- Prison – 30m of chain to create the tail
- The Royal Mint – 2,000 gold and silver coins, representing the dragon’s fire
- The Observatory – 26 telescopes
- The Records Office and Ordnance Survey – parchments and maps for wings
- The Jewel House – 400 glass rubies, plus a replica King Henry VIII collar.
Other items include eight breastplates, six muskets, 15 poleaxes, 10 mail vests, four shields and bucklers and 50 replica trial plates.
Blogger: Beckie Senior, Communications Officer