Exhibitions/ Art Object

Kettle Drums

Franz Peter Bunsen (ca. 1725–1795 (master 1754))
Hanover, Germany
Hanoverian (German)
Silver, iron, calfskin, textiles, gilding,
Height: 16 1/8 in. (41 cm) Diameter: 20 7/8 in. (53 cm) Weight: 52.9 lb. (24 kg)
Membranophone-single-headed / kettle drum
Credit Line:
Purchase, Robert Alonzo Lehman Bequest, Acquisitions Fund, and Frederick M. Lehman Bequest, 2010
Accession Number:
Not on view
This pair of drums was created for the Royal Life Guards of George III. A lion, representing England, and a unicorn, representing Scotland, support the royal arms. Scottish kings adopted the unicorn as their emblem from the time of James III (r. 1451–88). His son and, later, his grandson, James V, owned suites of unicorn tapestries—six "great" and eight "little" ones representing the Hunt of the Unicorn. The pairing of a lion and a unicorn, still used today on the British royal arms, dates to the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when James VI of Scotland assumed the English throne as well, as James I.
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