This pipe pouch with clay pipes and tobacco stopper from the Wallace Collection in London is believed to have been Sir Walter Raleigh's own.
|Composed of Leather, metal, clay, bone, bamboo, wood and silver |
Height: 24.2 cm, pouch, open
Width: 12 cm, pouch, open
|Sir Walter Raleigh's cell in the Tower of London|
The hand written inscription on the tobacco pouch reads:
'Comes meus fuit in illo miserrimo tempore'
'He was my companion during that very unhappy time'
Below the inscription is a hand drawn heart enclosing the initials W.R. and the year of 1617.
|Walter Raleigh in 1611 for his book on the History of the Worlds, written while in prison|
In 1617, Sir Walter was sitting in prison with hopes of a royal pardon dissipating, looking back at his life. Quite an eventful life it had been...
With such highs as becoming the favorite (or rather one of a selected few) of Queen Elizabeth I,
|Portrait of Elizabeth to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588), depicted in the background. Elizabeth's hand rests on the globe, symbolising her international power.|
being granted in 1583 a Royal Patent to explore the New World and lay the grounds for a colony north of Spanish Florida,
naming the new found land Virginia, in honor of his Queen and protector Elizabeth the "Virgin Queen",
|Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607|
|Jamestown in 1610|
Photograph courtesy Michael Lavin, Jamestown Rediscovery. National Geographic News
|Pipes dated 1608-1610 "stamped with the names of Sir Walter Raleigh and other eminent men back in England such as Earl of Southampton (Henry Wriothesley), Shakespeare’s major patron and top Virginia Company official." Photograph courtesy Michael Lavin, Jamestown Rediscovery. National Geographic News|
coming back from the New World a fervent tobacco pipe smoker who introduced Queen Elizabeth I and her Court to this new found pleasure,
|First known image of a man smoking in England, from Chute's pamphlet "Tabaco", 1595|
being knighted in 1585,
Arranging for the construction of "The Ark Royal" , which weighed 800 tons and was completed in 1587. The "Ark Royal" was chosen to lead the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588.
|The Ark Royal had four masts and a normal crew of 270.|
Launching expeditions to find the El Dorado,
and publishing upon his return an account of the riches to be found in Guiana: first in The Discovery of the large, rich and beautiful Empire of Guiana in 1596, followed by his Brevis et admiranda descriptio regni Guianae: auri abundantissimi, in America.
Eldorado, Illustration from "Regni Guianae," by G. Raleigh, 1594-96
The lows included being emprisoned and disgraced for secretly marrying one of the Queen's Ladies-in-waiting,
|Full-sized portrait of Elizabeth Raleigh, ca. 1600 by Robert Peake the Elder (ca. 1551-1619)|
the loss of protection when Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603,
|King James I of England, VI of Scotland in 1606|
the aversion that her successor to the throne, King James I of England, VI of Scotland, had for tobacco,
As he made clear in his violent Counterblaste to Tobacco in 1604.
|Richard Braithwaite’s The Smoking Age (1617)|
But the lowest point of all, and clearly of more critical relevance than tobacco to his current predicament, was his repeated failure to find the gold mines and treasures of El Dorado.