Homage to Napoleon

The month of May marks the 197th anniversary of Napoleon’s death and an opportunity to look at a hidden gem in the Royal Armouries collection. In this blog post, Shannon Kee, placement student at the Royal Armouries Museum, explores the elaborately decorated percussion double-barrelled shotgun, which commemorates the return of Napoleon’s body to France in 1841 and pays homage to his lifetime and legacy. After his final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo Napoleon was exiled to the small island of St. Helena in theRead more

17th century Dutch cuirassier armour

In this monthly blog series, our collections team write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection. In this blog post, Assistant Curator of European Armour Keith Dowen explores the history behind our 17th century cuirassier armour. On Wednesday 23rd of May 1618 two Imperial Lords Regent, along with their secretary, were hurled out of the window of the council chamber of Prague’s castle by incensed members of the dissolved Bohemian Protestant Estates. This event, which became known as the ‘Defenestration of Prague’,Read more

The art of war

Spence – The Art of War focuses on a unique set of watercolours painted by Colonel G.O. Spence, Commander of the 5th Durham Light Infantry, during the First World War. The exhibition is on display at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds until the end of April 2018. Who was Colonel Spence? Colonel Gilbert Ormerod Spence DSO was born in 1879 to Herbert Grant Spence and Elizabeth Dorothea Spence in Stockton-on-Tees. To give a little insight into his family’s history, when researchingRead more

The Tula sporting garniture

In this monthly blog series, our collections team write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection. In this month’s blog, Lisa Traynor, Curator of Firearms at the Royal Armouries Museum, explores the history of the elaborately decorated Tula Garniture.  A show of wealth Prior to the 15th century, weapons of the hunt were largely the same as those used in warfare. However, as the techniques of hunting became more specialised and the grandest weaponry more elaborate, the useRead more

Welcome to the conservation department at the Royal Armouries Museum

The Royal Armouries collection comprises approximately 75,000 objects, covering a complete range of arms, armour and related material, including guns, swords, armour, artillery, and polearms. The maintenance and preservation of these objects is a critical role within the museum. Dr Lauren McGhee, Conservator for the museum,  tells us a little more about some recent changes to the conservation laboratory in Leeds, and the important work carried out there. Preserving our collection The preservation of the collection is one of theRead more

The writhen hilt sword

In this monthly blog series, our collections team write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection. In this blog post, Assistant Curator Scot Hurst traces the fascinating history of the Writhen Hilt sword, from the hands of two of the world’s most prodigious collectors of art and antiques to the silver screen.  It would be impossible to even begin writing about this hand-and-a-half sword without addressing the obvious talking point. Our eye is instantly drawn to the beautiful, almostRead more