The Irish Sword of State
- Maker: George Bowers (goldsmith, active 1660)
- Dated: 1660 - 1661
- Medium: steel, silver gilt; the scabbard of wood, velvet, silver gilt
- Acquirer: Charles II, King of Great Britain (1630-85), when King of Great Britain de facto (1660-85)
- Provenance: supplied to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1660
The sword has a broad, straight, flat, two-edged steel blade with etched decoration, and a cruciform silver-gilt hilt, the quillons in the form of a rampant lion and unicorn, a harp at the front of the quillon block and a portcullis above. The wooden scabbard is covered in velvet with applied silver-gilt emblems including a rose, a thistle and the coat of arms of the period 1714-1801.
This sword was used to represent the sovereign when he or she was not physically present, as a symbol of royal authority. This example was used by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland as the sovereign’s representative and was borne by him on state occasions.
It was supplied to the Lord Lieutenant in 1660, although the scabbard dates from a later period. The Irish Sword of State was used until the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, and was kept in Dublin until that date. It was added to the regalia in the Jewel House in 1959.
Source: Copyright © 2014 Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II