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The Bull of Clarence

The latest coin in The Royal Tudor Beasts Collection features the Bull of Clarence, who stands proudly as one of the creatures that guard the Moat Bridge at Hampton Court Palace.

The first Duke of Clarence, Lionel of Antwerp, also the son of Edward III, used a black bull as a badge. The inclusion of his symbol as one of the King’s Beasts demonstrates the Yorkist lineage of King Henry VIII.

Windrush

York and Wales

The origins of the bull may stretch back even further, to the Clare family, as Lionel married Elizabeth de Burgh, Countess of Ulster and granddaughter of Elizabeth de Clare. The bull may also reflect Henry VIII’s Welsh heritage as Lionel and Elizabeth’s son married Catrin Glyndŵr, the daughter of legendary Welsh rebel Owain Glyndŵr, the last native Welshman to hold the title of Prince of Wales. The king’s pride in his Welsh roots is clear in his choice of the Welsh dragon as one of the supporters of his Coat of Arms.

Reimagined for The Royal Tudor Beasts Collection by artist David Lawrence, the bull bears the Tudor Rose on its shield. Henry VIII’s father, Henry VII, united the two rival royal houses of Lancaster and York. The Tudor Rose visually represented his marriage to Elizabeth of York, combining the red rose of Lancaster with the white rose of York in one emblem. Emblazoned across the land, the Tudor Rose symbolised the end of the ‘Wars of the Roses’ and the beginning of a powerful new dynasty.

Coin

A Gilded Age

Bulls, calves, cows and buffalo can all be found in heraldry. They are styled in many colours, as they are so diverse in the real world that they are never depicted ‘proper’, which means to be seen in their natural colours. In Henry VIII’s time, the statue of the Bull of Clarence would have been painted black, with many features that would appear unusual to the modern eye. His eyes and pupils would also have been black, with horns, hooves and crests of hair highlighted in gold. David Lawrence has successfully made his bull fierce and imposing, its power captured with great skill in the low relief and single colour of the coin.

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Historic Royal Palaces

© Historic Royal Palaces 2024 Produced under licence from Historic Royal Palaces Enterprises Limited

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