The Black Bull of Clarence | The Royal Mint

Unleash the Black Bull of Clarence

The Black Bull of Clarence is the newest addition to The Queen’s Beasts Collection. Find out more about the majestic bull, its royal connections and how coin designer Jody Clark has brought this rich history to life.

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The Black Bull of Clarence

A symbol of power and might, the Black Bull of Clarence is associated with the rise of the House of York during the fifteenth century.
The bull first appeared on the Royal Arms in the 1560s in the reign of Elizabeth I, when she ordered the recoinage of all silver coins.

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Uncover the history behind the Black Bull with the latest
addition to The Queen’s Beasts Collection. Order your
coins online today!

 

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The Black Bull of Clarence

The bull is one of the most English and ‘earthy’ of the heraldic symbols and is associated with courage, transformation and passion. This could be why Edward VI is said to have chosen the bull as his heraldic symbol.

The Black Bull of Clarence captures just how determined Edward IV was to continue his royal lineage. He was the first king of England from the House of York and a significant figure in the ‘Wars of the Roses’. In 1461 Edward overthrew Henry VI’s troubled Lancastrian rule, forcing the monarch to flee to Scotland. Henry VI briefly returned to the throne some years later before he was finally defeated in battle by Edward in 1471 and executed at the Tower of London.

Almost 400 years later in 1953, Her Majesty The Queen was presented with the Black Bull of Clarence at her coronation. The bull was one of ten sculptures called The Queen’s Beasts.

The appearance of the bull is thought to date back to the early 1560s when arms displayed on coins included a bull’s head for John Bull, one of the five principal Royal Mint officials of the time.

Meet the Designer

Jody Clark is the youngest designer to have created a definitive coinage portrait of Her Majesty The Queen. Jody is in a rare position as a modern coin designer, as his designs can be found on both sides of several new coins, like those in The Queen’s Beasts Collection. We asked Jody about the collection and how he approached the design for the Black Bull of Clarence.

Why did the theme of heraldry appeal to you?

“I’ve always been interested in fantastic beasts, you can ask my mum! I think most children love fairy tales and stories about lions, dragons and unicorns; they’ve got a timeless appeal.”

How do you approach creating your designs?

I start by hitting the internet and reading books to look at what has been done before and to gather reference imagery and inspiration. I think you can spend all day doing research, especially for a subject like heraldry, it’s never-ending.”

How do you approach creating your designs?

“I start by hitting the internet and reading books to look at what has been done before and to gather reference imagery and inspiration. I think you can spend all day doing research, especially for a subject like heraldry, it’s never-ending.”

What did you have to consider in your design for the Black Bull of Clarence?


“Two strong styles kept appearing in my research – the royal and heraldic, or the fantastical approach. I wanted my designs to be somewhere in the middle of the two really. Something that looked like a real beast rather than just a graphic heraldic image. It was important for me to keep a consistent appearance and character throughout the series.”

“For the bull, I continued that balance of realism and a stylised look. I wanted the bull to be strong and muscular, so I looked at lots of anatomical drawings, classical sculptures and the like for reference. I actually found rodeo images really helpful to capture the beast’s sense of power.”

Bull Coins

The Black Bull of Clarence 2018 UK Coin

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