Object Title

Armour - Armour of King James II

Armour - Armour of King James II



Object Number



Old Tower Collection.

Physical Description

Mounted with buff coat III.1306. An harquebusier's armour comprising a pot, breastplate, backplate and long elbow guantlet. The whole is decorated with punched, engraved and formerly gilt bands of trophies. The faceguard is fretted and decorated with the initials IR for Jacobus Rex and with the Royal arms and their supporters, the lion and the unicorn. The central band on the breastplate has at the top IR seperated by a crown and surmounted by a figure 2, with crossed sceptres below.


GauntletDepth140 mm
GauntletLength580 mm
GauntletWidth150 mm
BackplateDepth220 mm
BackplateHeight470 mm
BackplateWidth330 mm
BreastplateDepth300 mm
BreastplateHeight410 mm
BreastplateWidth340 mm
HelmetDepth340 mm
HelmetHeight430 mm
HelmetWidth225 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

The backplate is stamped at the neck with the crowned IR mark of the Tower arsenal under James II.

Bibliographic References

H L Blackmore and C Blair, 'King James II's armour and Richard Holden of London' Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, vol. XIII.5, September 1991, pp. 316-34.

Claude Blair, European Armour, B.T. Batsford Ltd., London, 1958, p.151.

A.R. Dufty and W. Reid, European Armour in the Tower of London, 1968, plate LXVIII.

C.J. Foulkes, Inventory and Survey of the Armouries of the Tower of London, 1915, vol. I, class II, no. 123, p 138, plate XIX.

Viscont Dillon, Illustrated Guide to the Armouries, Tower of London, 1910, class II, no. 22, p 192, plate 25.

J. Hewitt, Official Catalogue of the Tower Armouries, 1859, class II, no. 23, p 9.

C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011 volume 2


The armour is known from its record of payment to have been made by Richard Holden and delivered on 14 December 1686: 'Received into his Ma's Stores of Armoury wth in ye Office of Ordnance from Richard Hoden Armourer, the Armour herafter menconed being for his Ma's owne body viz't: Harquebus armor white parcell gilt chased and lyned wth crimson satin; Breast carbine proofe, Back pistoll proofe, Pott pistoll proofe, Long elbow gauntlet, for all w'ch he is allowed £100.00.00 (PRO WO 51/33, p. 137). RC2: Permission to lend required from the sovereign