Installation of the Knight of the BathIn Henry the Seventh's Chapel Westminster Abbey June 1 1812.
Hand coloured aquatint. On watermarked paper, 'J. Whatman, 1814'. Sheet size: 570 x 425mm (22¼ x 16½"). Repaired damage in title area. Trimmed inside platemark.
An interior view of the chapel of Westminster Abbey, with knights, wearing plumed helmets, standing in the choir at either side, looking towards the large windows at the back, beneath which is the royal box. The surrounding congregation standing below are bathed in sunlight from right. The Most Honourable Order of the Bath was established as a military order by Letters Patent of George I on 18 May 1725, when the Dean of Westminster was made Dean of the Order in perpetuity and King Henry VII's Chapel designated as the Chapel of the Order. However, the Order was a revival of an older custom going back to medieval times when part of the ceremony of knighthood included a ritual bath symbolic of spiritual purification and a vigil the night before receiving the honour. There is an account of this ceremony in the reign of Henry IV in 1399 and it was kept up until the time of Charles II, after which it fell into disuse.
[Ref: 33635] £240.00