The Black Prince

The Black Prince. Sir Thomas Brock. Bronze. 1902. City Square, Leeds. Thomas Brock was given the commission by Colonel Walter Harding in December 1896. The statue was cast in Brussels by the Compagnie des Bronzes and shipped by boat to Hull, then by canal barge to Leeds. It was unveiled in Leeds City Square on 16 September 1903. [Click on image to enlarge it]

Edward Prince of Wales (1330-76) is shown in chain mail armour with helmet and sword. Brock based his design on the Black Prince's effigy and accoutrements in Canterbury Cathedral. The top of the pedestal is decorated with shields showing the Royal Arms and the three ostrich figures of the Prince of Wales. At the four corners of the pedestal are leopards' heads.

Benedict Read has written that in the Black Prince Brock “demonstrates the application of New Sculptural qualities to a work of this scale, formulating striking detail work in bronze, not with the delicate intricacy of Gilbert or Frampton, which would be lost at that height, nor certainly with the flashy trickiness of, say, Marochetti, but with a studied firmness and power that is most effective" (364).

Three views of The Black Princ. [Click on thumbnails for larger images.] The plaque reads,

Prince of Wales
The Black Prince
The Hero of
Crecy and Poitiers
The Flower of England's Chivalry
the Upholder of
the Rights of the People
in the
Good Parliament
1330 —— 1376

The Battle of Crecy

The Battle of Crecy depicts the victory by the famous English long bow.

The two bronze plaques show a land battle and a naval battle. The land battle could be Crecy, when the Prince “won his spurs” at the age of 16 or Poitiers, when he captured the King of France. The naval scene is often referred to as the battle of Sluys; but as the Prince was only 10 years old at the time, it is more likely to be the sea-fight off Winchelsea known as the battle of L'Espagnols-sur-Mer (1350).

The Battle of L'Espagnols-sur-Mer

Probably the battle of L'Espagnols-sur-Mer (1350; see above).

Photograph and caption by Robert Freidus. Research and commentary by John Sankey. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite it in a print one.]


Read, Benedict. Victorian Sculpture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982.

Spielmann, M. Journal of the Royal Society of Arts. 53 (10 March 1905): 241.

Last modified 10 May 2011