King Henry VIII’s crown 3D printed at Hampton Court Palace

King Henry VIII’s crown 3D printed at Hampton Court Palace

23 May 2014

'Let them print crowns!' King Henry VIII’s crown 3D printed at Hampton Court Palace. Visitors can try Henry’s crown on for size at the palace this half-term

Wednesday 28 – Friday 30 May 2014

In the infamous Tudor monarch’s reign, it would have been touched by a mere handful of privileged people: the Archbishop of Canterbury, the royal jeweller, and, of course, the King himself.  But this May, for the first time, visitors to Hampton Court Palace will be able to touch and even try on a 3D printed version of King Henry VIII’s crown.

Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity responsible for Hampton Court Palace, have created the first 3D printed version of a royal crown - and made the 3D model available free for all to download.

The real crown - on display to the public at Hampton Court - is a re-creation of the original, which was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell in 1649, after the execution of King Charles I.  A potent symbol of royal power, the crown is made of silver gilt and holds 344 rubies, sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and pearls and five religious sculptures.  It was painstakingly recreated in 2012 by the then Crown Jeweller, Harry Collins, following extensive research by Historic Royal Palaces’ curators into original inventories and contemporary paintings.

The crown was scanned at the palace using a combination of structured light 3D scanning and cross polarised photography, and following processing of the data into a workable 3D model file, was printed using Stereolithography (SLA) and Selective laser sintering (SLS) techniques.  The crown’s delicate shape and fine details made this process a particular technical challenge.

The printing is part of Historic Royal Palaces’ commitment to explore how new digital technologies can take the palaces and their stories to new audiences in previously impossible ways. Future plans for the printed crowns include using them as a tactile experience for blind and partially sighted visitors, as well as for school groups – both for handling, (especially for children with Special Educational Needs) and as a printable code for schools experimenting with 3D printing in the classroom.

Tim Powell, Digital Producer for Historic Royal Palaces said:
'The crown is such a powerful symbol of Henry and his reign – but historically, it was touched by so few people. It’s deeply exciting to be able to use 3D printing technology to put this piece of history into people’s hands – and allow them to imagine what it must have felt like to wear something so spectacular and meaningful.  Thankfully this technology wasn’t available to King Henry – who knows what he might have done with a few more blocks and axes!’

Notes to Editors

Available media: images of 3D printed crown (including the crown being worn by Henry VIII) plus video of the process (including scanning and printing) For further information please contact Laura Hutchinson: 0203 166 6338.

Visitor information: The 3D crown will be available for visitors to handle in the Tudor State Apartments.

Open daily from 10.00 – 18.00 (on Sunday the Chapel Royal & Royal Pew will be open to visitors between services from 12.45 - 14.00).

Tickets can be purchased on the day or in advance by telephone 0844 482 7799.

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace. We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built.

We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors. These palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

We believe in four principles. Guardianship: giving these palaces a future as long and valuable as their past. Discovery: encouraging people to make links with their own lives and today’s world. Showmanship: doing everything with panache. Independence: having our own point of view and finding new ways to do our work. Registered charity number 1068852

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