Object Title

2.7 in Gun - Falcon

2.7 in Gun - Falcon

Date

1608

Object Number

XIX.294

Provenance

This with other damaged pieces, was sent to Woolwich apparently for scrap. Fortunately it was preserved and was subsequently exhibited at the Rotunda (Class I, 87), to be finally returned to the Tower in 1972

Physical Description

The muzzle portion of a richly decorated gun, damaged in the Grand Storehouse fire of 1841. It is cast with raised decoration of arabesques and formal patterns on a granulated ground. Near the muzzle ring is the crest, in cameo, of a Prince of Wales (on a cap of maintenance, a lion statant guardant royally crowned, wearing a label of a three points). The prominent muzzle ring has a base of billet ornament and a circle of diamonds, rectangles and strawberry leaves representing the base of a crown

Dimensions

Dimensions: Present length: 30 in (71.1 cm) Weight: 1 cwt 1 qtr 18 lb (71.7 kg)

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number nvn

Calibre

2.7 in (6.9 cm)

Associations

Places England

Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London, Ordnance Catalogue, H.M.S.O. London 1976, p.63.

Notes

The 1750 'Guide' (p.42) refers to two cannon made for Princes of Wales:
'12. A beautiful Piece of Ordnance, made for King Charles I when Prince of Wales: It is finely ornamented with several emblematical Devices, among which is an Eagle throwing a Thunderbolt in the clouds.'


15. A most curious Brass Cannon made for Prince Henry, eldest son of King 'James I', the ornamenting whereof is said to have cost 200 l. It is inscribed with the makers Names 'Thomas and Richard Pit', 1608, who no doubt were proud of the Performance, which is indeed admirable.'


These descriptions are repeated in subsequent editions. In 1831 No.15 is said to be ' covered with rich carved work, and ornamented with the Prince of Wales's plume', and in 1838 No. 12 (under a different number) is described as 'A handsome 22 pounder English brass cannon, made for Charles, Prince of Wales, A.D. 1621'. It seems clear, therefore, that the fragment now surviving, which is approximately the calibre of a 2pdr or falcon, came from the gun made for Prince Henry.


The 1726 Inventory (App. 1) does, in fact, include amongst the 'Brass Ordnance on Skidds for Show' a 2[Pounder] Prince Henry's and the 1713 Inventory refers to it as a 'Falcon Prince Henry 8.5 [feet long]'. It can be traced back to the 1683 Inventory where it is described as a rich brass falcon mounted on a carriage which is specially noted in the 1665 Inventory as 'gran'. The first 'Guide' published after the 1841 fire, which described it as 'a most beautiful gun, richly arabesqued over its whole surface', reported that it had been completely destroyed. Neverless the mutilated muzzle portion remained and is probably the 'Muzzle of Gun injured by fire' which Hewitt included inthe manuscript version of his 1875 'Inventory'. This, with other damaged pieces, was sent to Woolwich apparently for scrap. Fortunately it was preserved and was subsequently exhibited at the Rotunda (Class 1. 87), to be finally returned to the Tower in 1972.
Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, 1594-1612, was noted for his interest in naval and military matters. The gunfounders Thomas (d. 1645) and Richard (d. 1638) were the sons of Henry Pitt (cf. Nos.XIX.224 and XIX.29-33.)
c.f. I.777 for an illustration, pre 1841, of the decoration on the missing section of this gun.