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Showing posts from November, 2018

Royal Armouries, Leeds

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Update: they appear to have had a slight revamp of the Civil War Gallery. There's a few extra bits on display. 

One of the most stunning museums I have visited. One of my favourites too.
Lots to see and do. If you have small people in tow, check their Events page.  They usually put a tournament on over the Easter weekend. If you have particular interests check out the schedule of talks and demonstrations before you go, and plan accordingly.


On entry choose the stairs which give close up views of the Hall of Steel.


Civil War interest lies with the Littlecote Collection, the most important surviving armoury of the Civil War; in the audio visual theatre tucked away at the back of the gallery there is a 15 minute dramatisation of events at Marston Moor (on a continuous loop). Plus of course the harquebusier, cuirassier and pikemen in the main hall. Daily talks on the ECW collection - the highlight being why the armour has bullet dents in them (no spoilers here thank you!).



Colonel Alex…

Cannonball

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Occasionally something really quite good crops up on fleabay.

Listed recently were some metal detector finds of civil war era cannonballs. I contacted the seller who assured me that he had permission to detect on the land.

So for £20 posted I bought one.


Uncleaned, with coaster to give idea of scale.
A gentle clean with a wire brush Dremel attachment, and a spray of Waxoyl followed by a buff with a cloth and here it is:


A 9lb demi-culverin cannonball

Now residing on my desk. One of my cats steals anything and everything that is left on my desk; I'd like to see her try to steal this.

Witchfinder General (1968)

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A confession: I have watched this film. I therefore apologise to everyone that knows me, and will no doubt burn in hell for all eternity as a consequence


Described on Wikipedia as a 'cult film', this is clearly a reference to how pants this film actually is: it is absolutely dire. When released there was consternation as the plot of torture and saucy thrills was deemed too much for audiences. Starring Vincent Price as Matthew Hopkins, an appearance by Wilfred Bramble ("'arold, 'arold") as a horse trader, and a host of young ladies screaming in what can only be described as a Carry On style. I am impressed by how shoddy the uniforms of the New Model Army cavalry troopers are: grey felt armour is possibly the highlight of the film.

The film exudes low budget, awful script and wooden acting. If for some reason your interest is piqued by this, it is available on DVD and Blu-ray, or pop over to YouTube where the whole film is available gratis.

Just don't. Trus…

Casualty Markers: Take Three

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As Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer oft said "you wouldn't let it lie". Clearly I haven't. Whilst perusing the Warbases' website I noticed that they make custom casualty markers; identical to the ones I already owned but with the text of your own choice. Nice idea I thought.

That bit of knowledge sat in the back of my memory, slowly formulating an idea: wouldn't it be really good to have casualty markers with custom messages for each faction? Nice idea but preposterous! I'd have to rebase all my casualty figures, then the cost of doing it, plus there's nothing wrong with my current markers.

But, like an itch that needs to be scratched... well, I scratched.

First of all, I needed a font, and also could Warbases 'do' different fonts? They could, and I found a suitable seventeenth century pamphlet style font: Chapbook italic.

Chapbook font is available to download here - CAUTION downloading fonts can leave you open to malware and other nasties, ensure …

London, Part Three: Museums

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Regular readers (hello both of you), will hopefully already be familiar with my posts on The National Army MuseumThe Museum of London and The Wallace Collection. This post will look at what, Civil War wise, is on display at The British Museum and the V&A.

The British Museum is one of the world's great treasue houses, for those of us with an interest in the Civil War make for Gallery 46. Easy to spot, you'll pretty much have it to yourself as everyone else will be swarming around the mummies and the Sutton Hoo displays.


Newark Siege Coin
The highlight, for myself at least, are the examples of siege coins and tokens.


There are some nice terracotta busts of Charles and Cromwell.



Most of the gallery is devoted to crockery and glassware from the period, particularly striking is a commemorative plate of General Monck.


There is also the obligatory death mask of Oliver Cromwell: their mask is bright red, whereas all the other masks I've seen have been wax brown. It is believed…

London, Part Two: Tower of London

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The Tower of London is a visitor site of world significance; one time royal palace, treasury, prison, royal mint, barracks, arsenal, it is now a place for small people to run riot whilst their parents are engrossed with updating their status on social media.


Detail from a Royalist cannon.
From a Civil War perspective, the Royal Armouries collection in the White Tower is the big ticket item.



The stand out artefact is Charles I's gilded suit of armour.



Charles's 'head' from the Line of Kings


There are a number of sets of pikeman's armour on display. The small cannons in the second picture were fully functioning toys(!) belonging to Charles II when he was a boy.

There are a number of suits of cuirassier armour on display too.

Higher up in the White Tower are a pair of Royalist gun barrels, and a secret (an item I haven't seen on display anywhere else).



There is also a civil war cuirass used to test the impact of cannon balls.


Elsewhere in the Tower is a display about …

London, Part One: National Galleries

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A few days in town tramping the tourist trail made me wonder what does our capital have to show us about the Civil Wars?

I shall start by looking at the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the immediate vicinity.

First let's look at the National Gallery: this is a wonderful resource for researching clothing colours, you can see my thoughts and research here.

The National Gallery has a large collection of Van Dyck's portraits. His famous equestrian portrait of Charles is not currently on display, as they are currently renovating a number of the renaissance galleries: hopefully, this will soon be back on display.

Currently there are a number of Van Dyck's portraits of the extended royal family on display, including:


Prince Rupert


The Stuart Brothers
The National Portrait Gallery has a whole gallery devoted to the Civil War (and a better café too).

The stand out artworks are:


Bronze bust of Black Tom

King Charles

Cromwell

Charles and Sir Edward Walker

The Capel Famil…