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The carved, painted and gilded Crowns, Coronets and Crests for the Royal Knights, Extra Knights, Knights and Lady Companions of the Most Noble Order of the Garter which have been created by sculptor and woodcarver Ian G Brennan for over two decades. 

 


 

 

The completed carved, painted and gilded coronets and crests for the latest Ladies and Knights of the Garter photographed during 2006, 2007 and 2008 in sculptor Ian G Brennan's studio

Please click images to enlarge

The crests and coronets pictured above were commissioned for : -

 

Lady Soames LG  - (Coronet):  Lord Bingham of Corhill KG (Griffin): Sir John Major KG (Stag) --- the Royal Crests for HRH Prince Edward The Earl of Wessex and HRH Prince Andrew The Duke of York --- Sir Thomas Dunne(snakes) : HRH Prince William: Lord Luce.(swan)

 

Crowns, Coronets and Crests for the Royal Knights, Extra Knights and Ladies, Knights and more recently, Lady Companions of the Most Noble Order of the Garter have been placed above the Knights stalls (seats) in St Georges Chapel in Windsor Castle for over six Centuries. 

The Order of the Garter is the most senior and the oldest British Order of Chivalry and was founded by Edward III in 1348. The Order consisting of the Sovereign The Prince of Wales and twenty-four knights, plus Royal knights. Every knight is required to display a banner of his arms in St George’s Chapel Windsor together with a helmet, crest and sword, along with an enamelled stallplate

The patron saint of the Order is St George (patron saint of soldiers and also of England) and the spiritual home of the Order is St George's Chapel, Windsor. If there are vacancies in the Order, appointments are officially announced from Buckingham Palace on St George's Day (23 April).

 

Three Knights of the Garter Crests alongside four Knight of the Bath Crest awaiting delivery to Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey

 

The Knights Crowns and Crests were originally worn on top of the Knights helm (helmet) during pageants and tournaments in the fourteenth century and used as a form of identification; fighting at tournaments was also a good way of training for battle. Each Knights Crest Ian produces which are placed upon a wreath are mostly carved from lime wood to represent a circle of two twisted ropes of silk, each of a different colour. The original purpose of the wreath was to disguise the join between the helm and the Crest. Up until the seventieth century all the wreaths in St George's Chapel were still made from actual twisted cloth, however since that time they have been carved mostly from lime wood.   

Ian G Brennan was officially appointed the Sculptor to the Most Noble Order of the Garter and the most honourable Order of the Bath in 1989 and has been commissioned to carve, paint and gild these Crowns, Coronets and Crests for all the Royal Knights, Extra Knights, Knights and Lady Companions of the Most Noble Order of the Garter along with several Knights swords. Ian also creates the Crests for the most senior Knights Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath which are then placed in Henry V11 Chapel in Westminster Abbey.

 

St George's Chapel Windsor Castle

 

 

A small selection of the thirty nine Knights of the Garter Crowns, Coronets and Crests carved by Ian G Brennan placed upon the Knights Helmets in St George's Chapel Windsor.

Please click image to enlarge

Each of these Royal Crown, Coronet or Knights Crest can take Ian between two and six weeks to produce and are mostly carved from lime wood which Ian then paints and gilds, the sizes range from between 12 - 28 inches high. The Royal Crowns and Coronets are carved with gilded rims set with carved and gilded jewels, or when appropriate for Sovereigns the jewels are coloured. The golden arches Ian makes for many of the different Sovereigns Crowns are fitted with rows of large white or silver carved wooden ‘pearls’ which are placed above either open Crowns or above a carved crimson caps. 

 


 

On 23 April in 2006, St George's day; HRH Prince Andrew The Duke of York and Prince Edward The Earl of Wessex were both made Royal Knights of the Garter by Her Majesty the Queen. The Duke of York and Prince Edward The Earl of Wessex were both appointed to this the most senior British order of chivalry amid a weekend of celebrations to mark Her Majesties 80th birthday. This high honour recognises their seniority with the Royal Family and join their father HRH Prince Philip, their brother HRH The Prince of Wales and sister The Princess Royal and more recently in 2008 HRH Prince William of Walesin the Order.  

 

    Crest for HRH Prince Edward the Earl of Wessex   -    Crest for HRH Prince Andrew the Duke of York  -  The Duke of York’s Crest placed in position in St George’s Chapel.

The Royal Crests for The Duke of York and The Earl of Wessex which Ian carved during 2006 were then placed above the Royal Knights stalls in St George's Chapel Windsor Castle. To distinguish the two Princess crests each of the central points on the white labels around the Lions necks have there own individual design; an anchor for The Duke of York and the Tudor rose for The Earl of Wessex . 

 

HRH Prince William’s Royal Crest – The Prince’s Crest and Sword in St Georges Chapel Windsor – the small red escallop.

 

HRH Prince William’s Royal Crest and Sword made by Ian G Brennan now placed upon the Prince’s helmet in St George’s Chapel Windsor Castle. As the second in line to the British throne; Prince William of Wales like his father the Prince of Wales, also uses a white label of three points but in addition on the lion is a small carved red ‘escallop’ to honour the memory of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales. The decision for Prince William to recognise his mother this way is a break with tradition as it is highly unusual for members of the Royal Family to include maternal symbols in their heraldic emblems.

 

 

Click to View Movies

Creating a Griffin Crest for a Knight of the 'Most Noble Order of the Garter' to be placed in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

Creating a Griffin Crest for a Knight of the Garter'- from the tree to the completed crest being placed into St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. To view a short movie showing in various stages how Ian carved this Griffin crest for a Knight of the Garter: please click here

 


 

 

The Crown for King Harald V, KG of Norway

 

H.R.H the Princess Royal, G.C.V.O. F.R.S

Lady of the Order of the Garter

H.M  Juan Carlos I, King of Spain

 

H.M  Beatrix, Queen of the Netherlands

 

H.R.H  The Duke of Gloucester, K.G, G.C.V.O

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan

The Lord Kingsdown, K.G, P.C

Sir William Gladstone KG

Sir Edward Heath KG, M.B.E

The Lord Sainsbury, K.G

Lord Leverhulme KG 

Field Marshal Lord Inge, KG

The Duke of Abercorn, K.G

Sir Ninian Stephen, K.G, P.C

Sir Edmund Hillary, K.G, O.N.Z, K.B.E

Sir Timothy Colman  K.G

Margaret, Baroness Thatcher

LG, O.M, F.R.S, P.C

The Duke of Devonshire, K.G, M.C .P.C

Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk  

L.G. C.B.E

The Duke of Wellington

KG, L.V.O, O.B.E,  M.C

The Lord Ashburton  K.G,  K.C.V.O

Field Marshal Lord Bramall

K.G, G.C.B, O.B.E, M.C.

HRH The Princess Alexandra. LG

The Viscount Ridley

K.G, G.C.V.O, T.D

Lady Soames LG  

The Duke of Westminster, KG

The Right Honourable Lord Butler

 of Brockwell, KG

The Right Honourable Lord Morris

 of Aberavon, KG

 Lord Bingham of Corhill KG

Sir Antony Acland, KG

Sir John Major KG

Sir Thomas Dunne

Lord Luce

HRH Prince William

 

 

 

Although when the Crowns and Crests are placed high upon the Knights helmets in the Chapel a lot of the detail cannot be seen from below, Ian still chooses to finely carve the Crowns and Crests so they could be viewed from any angle, including the top.

Beneath the Knights Crest in St George’s Chapel are placed the Knights swords; These swords have for centuries been carved from pine wood, a tradition Ian continued with when he was commissioned to produce some new swords in 2008 for the latest Knights, including Prince William sword which he also carved mostly from Scots pine.

 

Prince Williams’s sword before and after painting gilding

 

Once the swords were carved they were then painted and gilded, Ian then spent several hours aging the swords so they would blend in with the other swords in the Chapel which were originally produced in the Middle Ages.

 

HRH Prince William’s carved Knight of the Garter Sword

When Ian was carving Prince Williams sword, he was also carving a the sculpture of HMS Victory from original oak removed from the lower gun deck of HMS Victory; so he decided to set into the hilt of the Prince’s sword a piece of original Victory oak from Lord Nelson’s Flagship, as Prince William being second in line to the British Throne; the future King of England will one day also be the Head of the Senior Service; The Royal Navy.

 

Prince William’s Royal Arms

Prince William’s royal crest design on the royal coat of arms drawing shows the royal lion standing upon the top of an open ducal coronet, which as a drawing works very well, unfortunately the difficulties in producing exactly as originally designed, a three dimensional version with the lion standing around the top of the coronet has always been a problem since the middle ages as it is not possible to carve a lion in three dimensions in the correct pose, which would enable all four of the lions legs to fit on the top of the coronet; so many different solutions have been tried over the centuries without much real success. Compromises were made, such as the lion standing inside the open coronet; as for the Duke of Gloucester shown below and also the Lion straddled across the top of the coronet as with the royal crest for the Duke of Windsor.

 

The Duke of Gloucester Royal Crest The Duke of Windsor Royal Crest Prince Williams Royal Crest

 

Prince William’s Crest being made in Ian’s studio

When Ian was commissioned in 2006 to carve Prince Andrew and Prince Edward’s royal crest this long standing problem creating a lion sculpture standing around the top of the coronet once again materialise, so Ian suggested that he could set a thin ‘pole’ in the middle of the coronet for one of the lions legs to rest on, as this gilded pole would not be seen when viewed from below in the Chapel. This idea was approved for both Princes royal crests and two years later Ian used the same technique when he was commissioned to create Prince Williams’s royal crest.

 

Sculptor Ian G Brennan working late in his studio on the crown for Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, with the Crown for King Juan Carlos I King of Spain in the background

 

 

Three  Garter Knights Crests, at the early roughed out stages of the carving

( lime wood 24 inches high approx )

 

 

A close up of some of the Crests carved by Ian in position above the Knights Stalls (Seats) in St George's Chapel Windsor Castle. These include the coronet for Baroness Margaret, Baroness Thatcher - Sir Timothy Colman  K.G (wings) - Sir Edward Heath KG (swan)  The Lord Butler of Brockwell, K.G (badger) and Field Marshal Lord Bramall (Lion)

 

 

The Coronet and Crests for;  Lady Soames LG -  Lord Bingham of Corhill KG ; and Sir John Major KG now in position in St George's Chapel Windsor Castle

For a panoramic view of many of the 39 Royal Crowns, Coronets and Crests created by Ian G Brennan between 1989 and 2009 commissioned for the Royal Knights, Knights and Ladies of the Most Noble Order of the Garter in St Georges’s Chapel Windsor Castle. Please click here.

 

St George's Chapel Windsor Castle

please click to enlarge

 


 

On occasions Ian is also asked to replace damaged or missing carving on some of the older historic Crowns and Crests. Below are a selection of these Garter Crests and Royal Crowns originally made during the middle of the last century, recently restored by Ian.  

 

 

Horatio. Earl Kitchener

Frederick 1X, King of Denmark

Gastaf VI Adolf, King of Sweden

Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia

Sir Winston Churchil

 


 

POSITION OF THE GARTER CRESTS IN THE CHOIR IN ST GEORGE'S CHAPEL DURING 2007

ORGAN SCREEN

South Side                                                                                         North Side

HIGH ALTAR

 

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