The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds marks the launch of the epic film – The Hobbit; The Desolation of Smaug – today (Friday) by showcasing the latest addition in our iconic The Swords of Middle-earth display.

Royal Armouries is believed to be the only museum in the world to display the highly evocative series of weapons, now comprising five weapons from both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit motion picture trilogies.

The fifth and latest sword, Orcrist is the personal weapon of Thorin Oakenshield, the major lead dwarf character in this latest film.

Along with the other four weapons, Orcrist was crafted by the award-winning Weta Workshop and joins the four existing exhibits – Andúril, Strider’s Sword, Glamdring, and Sting. These are all artists’ proof copies of the mostly long since sold-out limited editions, ranging from only 10 to 25 in number.

Their ongoing display follows the highly successful exhibition, The Wonderful World of Weta: Arms and Armour from the Movies, staged at the Royal Armouries in Leeds in 2008.

Royal Armouries’ Curator of European Edged Weapons, Bob Woosnam-Savage, has kept in touch with Weta and one of its directors, Sir Richard Taylor, in New Zealand since the exhibition closed.

Bob said, “We are probably the only museum in the world to have the full set of swords. We intended, last December, to display these as a temporary exhibition but they have proved so popular and successful that they have stayed here all year. We are delighted to be adding the fifth sword to the collection, which continues to attract so much interest from our visitors.”

Although the swords are not used movie props, they were crafted using the same designs, methods, materials and tools that were used to create the original hero weapons for ‘The Lord of the Rings’ motion picture trilogy. They were also made by the same Master Swordsmith, who created the original weapons for the movies, Peter Lyon.

The pieces showcase a multitude of sword making, metal crafting and wood working techniques and are examples of present day, world-class sword-making skills.

Bob added, “Pursuing the idea of using our Royal Armouries’ treasures to inspire modern-day creations, it is worth noting that the design of some of these swords was based on real medieval and renaissance designs, similar to those held by the museum within the national collection. Orcrist is no exception; it is based on a medieval sword known as a falchion.”

The Swords of Middle-earth can be viewed in the War Gallery. Museum admission is free.

For more information about Royal Armouries – home to the UK’s national collection of arms and armour – visit


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Notes to editors

Royal Armouries is home to the national collection of arms and armour, including artillery, and has three British sites – at the Tower of London; a purpose-built museum in Leeds; and at Fort Nelson in Hampshire.

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