The Art Fund supports major acquisition for the Royal Armouries Museum

  • 16 May 2008

The Royal Armouries Museum has added a historically important item to its collection with the help of a £28,750 grant from The Art Fund.

The Royal Armouries Museum was able to purchase the 17th-century gun worth £115,000, after receiving further grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF). It is the earliest known English silver-mounted long-gun by a specialist silversmith in existence.

On advice from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council the government placed a temporary export bar on the gun so that funds could be raised to keep it in the country.

The gun was made in 1688, having been commissioned by George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth, from Henry Crisp, Gunmaker to the Ordnance and Furbisher at the Tower (1680–1707). The firearm has strong ties with the Armouries as George Legge was Constable of the Tower of London, 1685-88.

The gun’s silver furniture, made by William Knight and hallmarked 1688, is unusual as it was built around an earlier Turkish barrel, which was considered to be highly fashionable at the time.

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: ‘This flintlock gun is a magnificent and very rare piece of late-17th century English craftsmanship by one of the great gunsmiths of his day - Henry Crisp. It is also closely linked to the epoch-making events of the Glorious Revolution of 1688. It was something the Royal Armouries simply had to have and The Art Fund is very pleased to have made the purchase possible.’

Notes to editors:
1. The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art.
2. It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections.
3. Recent achievements include: helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million; putting together a unique funding package to ensure Dumfries House in Ayrshire and its contents were secured intact for the nation in July 2007; and running the ‘Buy a Brushstroke’ public appeal which raised over £550,000 to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK.
4. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit