The Life Guards

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The Life Guards in military art prints, 1st Life Guards, 2nd Life Guards, military art prints by Cranston Fine Arts.

Excerpt From The Navy and Army Illustrated October 1st 1896 by G F Bacon  The Glories and Traditions of the British Army

The custom of the employing men skilled in the art of war and in the use of deadly weapons to guard the sacred body of the Sovereign is of considerable antiquity, and is said to have been introduced by Saul in 1093 BC. The first English monarch to form a personal guard for himself was Richard I, although there are grounds for supposing that the Saxon and Danish kings retained about their persons a company of picked men, landsmen and sailors, who acted as guards of the royalty. The mighty and chivalrous Coeur de Lion selected 24 archers, renowned even amongst the sturdy soldiers of his army for individual bravery and loyalty, to keep watch around his tent, accompany him wherever he went, and arrest traitors and other evildoers about the Court. Sir Walter Scott, in The Talisman, alludes to this bodyguard, although it is to be hoped for the sake of their honour, that no real foundation existed for the story of their want of vigilance which nearly cost their Royal master his life, when the fanatics dagger was arrested by the disguised knight. These archers, clothed in complete suits of armour, and equipped with bows, and straight bladed cross hilted swords, were the ancestors of those guards whose functions are now wholly of a civil nature, known as Sergeants-in-Arms.

Henry VII also had a special guard of picked men, whom he clothed right royally, called Yeomen of the Guard; while his successor bluff King Hal, created a bodyguard of 50 gentlemen called Spears, each with an archer, a Demilance (light lance) and a Custrell (armour bearer) to attend him. They wore a most sumptuous dress and evidently cost the king an inordinate amount of money, for shortly afterwards they were disbanded, on account of their expensive maintenance. They were restored in 1539 on a less magnificent scale under the title of Gentlemen Pensioners and are known at the present day as Her Majesty's Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms. All these bodies were rather calculated for the splendour of the court than the operations of the field and it was not until the reign of Charles II that a body of the Life Guards was properly organised and equipped; although Charles I after the opposition encountered at Hull, enlisted into his service as a bodyguard a regiment of trainbands, 600 strong and mounted them on horses and appointed the Prince of Wales as their Captain. The year 1660 will remain ever memorable in the annuls of the British Army, for it was then that the nucleus was formed of the first standing army England had possessed, and it consisted of the troops of cavalry now known as the First and Second Regiments of Life Guards. It is true that four years earlier Charles II formed a corps of Life Guards to which he added a regiment of Horse Guards and 3 regiments of Foot Guards; but it was not until 1660 that the Life Guards were placed upon a proper footing. Previous to the Restoration, Charles had with him some 3,000 Cavaliers who after adventuring their lives in many a hard fought battle for the sake of his ill fated father, rallied round the Stuart Standard in Holland, and it was from this body of staunch and true hearts that he selected 80 Cavaliers and appointed Lord Gerard, afterwards Earl of Macclesfield, to be their Captain and Commander. When the king enjoyed his own again, and had been welcomed by the clamouring citizens of London, he took his Life Guards in hand and increased their establishment to 3 squadrons of 200 men each and apportioned to them their duties, which were to mount guard at whichever of his Palaces His Majesty was residing and to attend him whenever he went out of doors. Their Commander was a member of the Royal Household and his special duty was "to wait upon the King's Person at all times of war or peace with a considerable number of horsemen, well armed and prepared against all dangers whatsoever."

To continue the history of the Life Guards Click here.

Both Regiments amalgamated in 1928.  To become The Life Guards  (1st and 2nd)

Further Battle Honours.

  • Second World War
  • Iraq, 1941,   Palmyra Syria 1941,   1942- 1943, El Alamein  North Africa
  • 1944,  Italy.
  • 1944- 1945  Souleuvre, Brussela, Nederrijn, in North West Europe,

The Regimental Museum, at Comberere Barracks,   Windsor Berkshire, England,  but will be moving shortly to middle of London.

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Officer, 2nd Regiment of Life Guards in Full Dress by J C Stadler after Charles Hamilton Smith.


Officer, 2nd Regiment of Life Guards in Full Dress by J C Stadler after Charles Hamilton Smith.

Modern reprint of the coloured lithograph vignettes by J C Stadler after Charles Hamilton Smith from Charles Hamilton Smiths Costumes of the Army of the British Empire, according to the last regulations 1812, published by Colnaghi & Co. 1812-1815, showing the British uniform of 1812 during the Napoleonic war. Only 800 have been reprinted in 2002.
Item Code : UN0368Officer, 2nd Regiment of Life Guards in Full Dress by J C Stadler after Charles Hamilton Smith. - Editions Available
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Coloured lithograph vignette.
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Charge of the Life Guards by Richard Caton Woodville


Charge of the Life Guards by Richard Caton Woodville

1st Life Guards charge against the 12th regiment of Cuirassiers during the battle of waterloo.
Item Code : DHM0945Charge of the Life Guards by Richard Caton Woodville - Editions Available
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Limited edition of 200 giclee canvas prints.
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Limited edition of 200 giclee canvas prints.
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The 1st Life Guards by Malcolm Greensmith.


The 1st Life Guards by Malcolm Greensmith.

Item Code : UN0352The 1st Life Guards by Malcolm Greensmith. - Editions Available
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2nd Life Guards, Waterloo 18th June 1815 by Brian Palmer.


2nd Life Guards, Waterloo 18th June 1815 by Brian Palmer.

Item Code : DHM05022nd Life Guards, Waterloo 18th June 1815 by Brian Palmer. - Editions Available
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Officer, 2nd Regiment of Life Guards in Full Dress by J C Stadler after Charles Hamilton Smith.
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Charge of the Cuirassiers in the Sunken Road by Benigni.
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Pikeman of the Kings Life Guard by Chris Collingwood.


Pikeman of the Kings Life Guard by Chris Collingwood.

Part of a series of seven English Civil War uniform stuies.
Item Code : DHM0672Pikeman of the Kings Life Guard by Chris Collingwood. - Editions Available
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PRINTSigned limited edition of 100 prints.
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Image size 15 inches x 12 inches (38cm x 31cm)Artist : Chris CollingwoodAdd any two items on this offer to your basket, and the lower priced item will be half price in the checkout!37.00

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The 1st Life Guards by G Douglas Giles (P)


The 1st Life Guards by G Douglas Giles (P)

Item Code : UN0706The 1st Life Guards by G Douglas Giles (P) - Editions Available
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Original chromolithograph published 1880.
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Charge of the Life Guards by Mark Churms.


Charge of the Life Guards by Mark Churms.

Captain Montague Lind, leading a Squadron of the 1st Life Guards against the 12th regiment of Cuirassiers during the battle of waterloo, Hougoumont Farm can be seen in the distance.
Item Code : DHM0251Charge of the Life Guards by Mark Churms. - Editions Available
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Original painting by Mark Churms.
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Signed limited edition of 1000 prints.
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The Life Guards by Douglas Anderson


The Life Guards by Douglas Anderson

Item Code : UN0206The Life Guards by Douglas Anderson - Editions Available
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Charge of the First Life Guards at the battle of Klein Zillebeke November 6th 1914 by Harry Payne.


Charge of the First Life Guards at the battle of Klein Zillebeke November 6th 1914 by Harry Payne.

Lower price due to lower quality of print compared to our usual high standard.
Item Code : VAR0161Charge of the First Life Guards at the battle of Klein Zillebeke November 6th 1914 by Harry Payne. - Editions Available
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Image size 12 inches x 8 inches (31cm x 20cm)none8.00

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The Band of Her Majestys 1st Life Guards by Orlando Norie.


The Band of Her Majestys 1st Life Guards by Orlando Norie.

Item Code : DHM0547The Band of Her Majestys 1st Life Guards by Orlando Norie. - Editions Available
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1st Life Guards by Richard Simkin


1st Life Guards by Richard Simkin

Item Code : UN03001st Life Guards by Richard Simkin - Editions Available
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CHROMOLITHOGRAPH
Original chromolithograph published c.1888.
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Image size 10 inches x 13 inches (25cm x 33cm)none140.00

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On Sentry by William Barnes Wollen.


On Sentry by William Barnes Wollen.

A Coldstream Guardsman on sentry as a troop of Life Guards go by.
Item Code : VAR0493On Sentry by William Barnes Wollen. - Editions Available
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2nd Life Guards by Major T. S. Seccombe (P)


2nd Life Guards by Major T. S. Seccombe (P)

Item Code : TS00162nd Life Guards by Major T. S. Seccombe (P) - Editions Available
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Original chromolithograph published 1873.
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