Object Title

Armour - Lion armour

Armour - Lion armour



Object Number



Lent by James Cooper, armourer at the Tower, in August 1768. Mounted as 'George II' in the 'Line of Kings'. By 1822 shown as the armour of Charles II in the Line. In 1822 it was judged that Mrs Cooper, widow of James Cooper, had no proof of ownership of the armour.

Physical Description

It comprises a close helmet, an associated gorget (III.1712), another associated gorget (III.2571) a breastplate, a reinforcing breastplate, a fauld with tassets, a backplate, 2 pauldrons, 2 vambraces, 2 gauntlets, 2 cuisses, 2 poleyns with greaves, 2 toe-defences. The armour is distinguised by embossed decoration consisting of a repeat design of a lion mask and counterfeit damascening consisting of predomiminately floral interlace all on a russeted ground.


As mounted (floor to top of skull)Height1730 mm
ArmourWeight20.8 kg


Places Italy

Bibliographic References

C Blair, 'Notes on the history of the Tower of London Armouries 1821-51, part I', Journal of the Arms and Armour Society II, 1958: 233-53

A V B Norman, 'A note on a Tower armour pedigree', Journal of the Arms and Armour Society VIII.1 (2), June 1974: 91-3

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

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


The burgonet illustrated in a drawing, I.393, appears to be an extra piece of the Lion armour. It also appears in a still life, attributed to the circle of Madeleine Boulogne, 1648-1710, sold at Christies, 14 December, 1990, Lot 336, which also included the helmet from the Henri II armour, once at Hever Castle, and a shield in the collection at Waddesdon Manor. [Letter from Stuart Pyhrr, 7 July, 1993.] What appears to be a 19th century copy of the burgonet appeared in a Paris sale (Marc Ferri, Tableaux anciens et moderne, extreme-orient, Druout-Richeleau, Paris, 31 March 2000 lot 290). In poor condition thius did not match the lion armour in quality and differed in details from the drawing. The muzzle of the lion mask appeared to be more a copy of the Paris lion armour.

The armour appears in a number of portraits. The earliest is a three-quarter length portrait of about 1625, formerly in the Charles Sedelmeyer collection, sold P Chevallier, Paris, 25-6 May 1907, lot 54 (ill.), said to have come from the collection of Walter Long of Presham House, Bishop's Waltham Hampshire (Norman 1974). Also a portrait of Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester, Ashmolean Museum F677. A portrait of General Monck, Duke of Albermarle, by Michael Wright dated 1668, at Longleat . A miniature of Charles II by Samuel Cooper, ex-Pierpont Morgan collection ; a miniature by Samuel Cooper of Cosimo di Medici (of 1669 when he visited England).

Blair suggested attribution to Benedict Clesze, dit le Tudesquin, 'armurier aau service de henri II, Roi de France 1549-1551' (see J Hayward, 'Armourers and gunmakers of the French crown', Journal of the Arms and Armour Society I.12, December 1955: 215-8).