Royal Armouries

Vere: forgotten outside the Tower?

Images

monochrome newspaper illustration of an armoured figure on horseback

Figure of Sir Horace Vere in the Horse Armoury, The Penny Magazine, 1840

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of an armoured figure on horseback

    Figure of Sir Horace Vere in the Horse Armoury, The Penny Magazine, 1840

  • monochrome photograph of a full length man's armour

    Cuirassier armour, English, London and Greenwich, 1610-25 (II.94)

  • colour photo of Prince Henry Stuart's full-length armour with decorated banding

    Armour of Henry, Prince of Wales. Dutch, about 1607 (II.88)

  • colour photo of a full-length armour with decorated banding

    Armour used for the figure of George II in the Line of Kings 1768 -1826. English, Greenwich, about 1560 (II.82)

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of a line of mounted armoured figures

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

  • watercolour detail showing the figure of a king in armour on a horse

    Figure of William the Conqueror, detail from a watercolour of the Line of Kings. Early 19th century (I.69 )

  • monochrome photo of an armoured figure mounted on a life-size wooden horse

    The figure of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, photograph about 1870 © Private collection 2013

  • colour portrait of a man in doublet and hose with tasselled spear

    Portrait of Horace, Lord Vere of Tilbury, attributed to George Gower. Possibly English, 1594 (I.104)

17th century armour

Object Number: II.94

Vere: forgotten outside the Tower?

Description

Horace Vere, Baron Vere of Tilbury was one of the nobles introduced into the Line of Kings in the re-display of 1827. The Line of Kings had previously been a representation of selected English monarchs displayed in armour and on horseback from William the Conqueror to George II. Writing in 1824 Dr Samuel Meyrick had criticised this display as being inaccurate with monarchs shown in armour completely inappropriate to their time period.

Meyrick’s re-display attempted to address the inaccuracies as well as demonstrate the collection’s strengths and convey a sense of the development of armour, within a narrative that celebrated still monarchy.

A representation of Horace Vere, like one of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, was used to demonstrate both loyalty to the crown and developments in armour design in the sixteenth and seventeen century. They stood next to each other between an equestrian figure of James I and the armour for Henry Stuart, Prince of Wales from 1827 to 1842.

Vere had been a successful military commander. D. J. B. Trim, who wrote Vere’s entry for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography lamented that Horace Vere has often been overlooked as an example of early modern military commanders, and when the Veres are examined it is his brother, Sir Francis Vere who receives more attention. Even in their burial place in Westminster Abbey, Francis has a large alabaster monument, whereas Horace has no memorial. So it is interesting Horace was represented. This may be because from 1623 Horace Vere was made muster-master-general of the ordnance for life, aligning him with the collection within the Tower of London.

Both Vere and Howard were displayed in cap-a-pie – or full-length – armour and holding maces. This would have a notably different from the titling armour and gilt armour on display on the monarchs beside them.

Though not much of note is said in the Tower of London guidebooks regarding Vere and Howard, the fact that their names were chosen to represent particular suits of armour from the early seventeenth century, shows that they were deemed worthy examples during this period.

17th century armour

Object Number: II.94

Related Objects

Armour for a Boy, probably Prince Henry Stuart Click on the title link above to find out more.

Dates from 1608 | Object number: II.88

Howard: patron of arts and antiquities Click on the title link above to find out more.

Cuirassier Armour Click on the title link above to find out more.

Dates from 1610-25 | Object number: II.94

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

William the Conqueror in the Line of Kings Click on the title link above to find out more.

George II in the Line of Kings Click on the title link above to find out more.

Themes Menu

Line of Kings