Battles and Dynasties: Major treasures including a Van Dyck masterpiece coming to Lincoln


Following the outstanding success of Lincolnshire’s Great Exhibition, held to commemorate the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta in 2015, Lord Cormack, Chairman of the Historic Lincoln Trust, has been giving further details of this year’s great Exhibition Battles and Dynasties.  Arranged to commemorate the 800th Anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln in May 2017, the Exhibition will run in the David P J Ross Magna Carta Vault in the Castle and in The Collection from May 27th until September 3rd.

Lord Cormack said today “the most outstanding of all the treasures we will be showing is Domesday Book. Never, in almost 950 years, has it been displayed anywhere in the provinces.  Domesday Book is, in effect, the birth certificate of Norman England, a detailed inventory of land and landholdings throughout England produced in 1086.  But the appearance of Domesday Book in Lincoln, a truly memorable landmark in our city’s and county’s history, should not detract from the interest and splendour of the other exhibits.

Visitors to The Collection, where the rest of the Exhibition will be displayed, will be able to see the near contemporary illustrations of the Battle of Lincoln from the 13th century Matthew Paris Chronicle.  There will also be an illustration of the earlier battle of Lincoln, that of 1141, when King Stephen was captured at the Castle.  There will be the prayer book which Richard III took to Bosworth Field and the personal book of devotions of Mary Tudor as well.  On a more sombre note visitors will be able to see the Bill of Attainder which led to the execution of Katherine Howard and the death warrant of Mary Queen of Scots.  We shall be displaying the great illuminated bible of Henry IV, Henry Bolingbroke, the only king to be born in Lincolnshire, and the will of Henry V.  We shall also have the contemporary parliamentary account of the trial of Charles I in Westminster Hall and the Act of Settlement which brought to a close the constitutional upheavals of the 17th century and laid the foundations for the Hanoverian succession.  And, from much more recent times, there will be the Instrument of Abdication of Edward VIII.

The Exhibition will also include some remarkable royal portraits, generously loaned by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection, including Van Dyck’s great triple portrait of Charles I and Hans Holbein’s drawings of Anne Boleyn and John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester. All three of our longest reigning Queens will be celebrated with painted portraits of Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, and photographs of Her Majesty The Queen, when Princess Elizabeth, featuring in the exhibition.

Other exhibits, including further outstanding royal portraits come from the National Archives, the British Library, the Lambeth Palace Library, the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Society of Antiquaries, Eton College and many other public and private collections in this country.  We have been fortunate enough to secure from the Pierpoint Morgan Library in the United States manuscript life of the great William Marshal, one of the two heroes of the Battle of Lincoln written less than a decade after his death in 1219.   We will also have his seal and that of the other hero of the battle of Lincoln, Nicola de la Haye, Constable of the Castle.

All in all this will be a sumptuous and memorable feast of exhibits – manuscripts, documents, portraits and even Queen Victoria’s throne.  It has been made possible by the generous sponsorship of the David Ross Foundation, Investors in Lincoln, and a number of Lincolnshire companies and individuals.  I would urge everyone in Lincolnshire to make an effort to come for these things will never be seen together again.” Patrick, Lord Cormack, Chairman, Historic Lincoln Trust.

“What an embarrassment of riches is coming to Lincolnshire” said Mary Powell, tourism manager Lincolnshire County Council “If it was just Domesday Book that would be exciting enough, but add in wonderful items like Van Dyck’s triple portrait of Charles I and Holbein’s Ann Boleyn and this summer’s exhibition is going to be an unforgettable treat for locals and visitors alike.”


Tickets can be bought through The Collection’s website  or by calling 01522 782040.