Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"The greatest thank you gift in English history"

That's how the Telegraph describes the Crystal Scepter of the City of London, that's about to go on public display.

The Crystal Sceptre was given in thanks by King Henry V to the City of London for funding his forces against the French at the Battle of Agincourt, in 1415.

It is safe to say that without the men, arms and equipment those funds purchased– and in particular the longbow archers whose arrows proved so fatal to the French - the course of English history would have been very different.

Now the gift with which Henry showed his gratitude to London is being put on public display for the city's descendants to admire.

It will be the first time in its 600 years history that the Crystal Sceptre has been seen by more than a handful of people.

. . .

Some of Europe’s finest craftsmen were tasked with producing the piece, now regarded as being as beautiful as it is significant.

The carved rock-crystal stem is thought to have been made in Paris – ironically perhaps, given the reason behind its creation – and was inlaid with gold. The jewels which decorate the crown at the top of the stem were sourced from the far corners of the known world; its red spinels from what is now Afghanistan, blue sapphires from Ceylon and dozens of pearls plucked from the seas of the Arabian gulf and traded in Cairo.

It is thought the sceptre was presented to the City sometime before February 1421, as the earliest reference to it comes in a painting of the coronation, that month, of Henry’s Queen, Catherine of Valois, in Westminster Abbey.

There's much more at the link, including more photographs and a great deal of historical detail.

It sounds like a book could be written about the adventures of this scepter and those who owned or safeguarded it.  Recommended reading for history buffs, and the exhibition is probably worth a visit for those within striking distance of England.



The Raving Prophet said...

And in the picture she just looked completely bored by the thing.

"Oh, this? I'm just tired of dusting it."

Chris said...

I was thinking pretty much the same thing. "Did you get the picture? Can I put it down and go take my break now?"