Armada Britannia

English Arts & Crafts Sailing Ship Turquoise Vase by Pilkington Royal Lancastrian (LEO Design)

Everyone remembers the Spanish Armada—which is funny, considering that Spain lost the altercation.  Spain launched its Armada of 130 vessels in 1588 with the goal of overthrowing England’s Queen Elizabeth I.  Spain had several reasons for the attack.  First, Spain had never accepted Elizabeth as the legitimate heir to the British throne as she was born of Henry VIII’s “adulterous” second marriage.  As Roman Catholics, they believed that Henry’s first wife (Spaniard Catherine of Aragon) was the only legitimate marriage.  Furthermore, English privateers had been attacking Spanish vessels and keeping the ships and their cargoes as bounty—and Spain wanted to put an end to this.  And, of course, one cannot discount the tension between Catholic countries (striving to maintain the Roman Church) and those countries which had jumped to the new, Protestant denomination.  The attack ended very badly for Spain.  They lost many ships and many lives.  And the English win only strengthened British national pride and Queen Elizabeth’s reputation.  For many, the outcome was interpreted as God’s choice of the Protestants over the Catholics.

The vase above was made some 350 years later—in the 1920’s or 1930’s—by British ceramics workshop Pilkington Royal Lancastrian.  A proud “Armada” of incised ships ply roiling waters around the body of this handsome, turquoise vase.  At the time it was crafted, it may have been considered appropriately masculine and heroic for a young boy’s room—certain to plant dreams of adventure and conquest in his young, impressionable mind.  Please click on the photo above to learn more about it.


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