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Sir Robert Viner and his family, as painted by John Michael Wright.

Sir Robert Vyner, 1st Baronet, (alternatively Viner) (1631 – 2 September 1688), Lord Mayor of London, was born in Warwick, but migrated in early life to London, where he was apprenticed to his uncle, Sir Thomas Vyner (1558–1665), a goldsmith-banker, was Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1674–1675.[1]

After moving to London, Robert soon became a partner in his uncle's business, and in 1666 was elected an Alderman of the City of London; in 1665 he was made a knight, and in the following year a baronet. He was sheriff during the year of the Great Fire of London, and was chosen Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1674. Combining like his uncle the business of a banker with that of a goldsmith, Viner, who produced the jewel-studded replica of the Crown of St. Edward and the King's Orb, used for Charles II's coronation in 1661,[2] was brought much into contact with Charles II and with the court. The king attended his mayoral banquet, and the Lord Mayor erected an equestrian statue in his honour on a spot now covered by Mansion House.[1]

Sir Robert bought Swakeleys House in Ickenham, west of London (near its outer edge, which has one open day per year) from the wife of Sir James Harrington soon after Harrington had fled to France in 1660. Following the banquet attended by Charles II, Samuel Pepys visited the house twice to borrow money on behalf of the king. Pepys recorded in his diary how Sir Robert had shown him the body of a black boy who had worked as a servant, but had died of consumption. The body had been dried in an oven and kept in a box, which would be shown to visitors.[3][4] Vyners School, a secondary school in Ickenham is named after Sir Robert.[5] In 1659 he served as High Sheriff of Norfolk.

Having been appointed the king's goldsmith in 1661, Sir Robert was one of those who lent large sums of money for the expenses of the state and the extravagances of the court; over £400,000 was owing to him when the national exchequer suspended payment in the move called the Great Stop of the Exchequer 1672, and he was reduced to the necessity of compounding with his creditors. He obtained from the state an annuity of £25,000. Viner died in Windsor on 2 September 1688.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ SDt Edward's Crown; the King's Orb.
  3. ^ "Thursday 7 September 1665",
  4. ^ Hughes, Morris. W. (1983). The Story of Ickenham. Uxbridge: London Borough of Hillingdon. ISBN cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  5. ^ Bowlt, Eileen. M. (1996). Ickenham & Harefield Past. London: Historical Publications. ISBN 0-948667-36-2.


Further reading

5 Annotations

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Per L&M Companion:

A family of goldsmith-bankers; among the most important financiers of their day. Sir Thomas (1588-1665) established the firm, at the sign of the Vine, in Lombard Street. He was knighted by both Cromwell and Charles II, and made a baronet in 1661. He was Sheriff 1648-9 and Lord Mayor 1653-4. His country house was at Hackney. His partner and successor was his nephew Robert (1631-88), knighted in 1665, made a baronet in 1666. He remade many of the regalia at the Restoration, and is said to have had 400,000 L involved in the Stop of the Exchequer in 1672. He was Sheriff 1666-7 and Lord Mayor 1674-5. His wife was Mary (d. 1675), widow of Sir Thomas Hyde, who brought with her a great fortune. Their country house was Swakeley's, nr. Ickenham, Middlesex. Sir Thomas's son George, the 2nd. baronet (c. 1639 - 73)was also a goldsmith-banker.

For the Michael Wright family group portrait of 1673:

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Sir Robert Vyner, 1st Baronet,...

In 1665 Samuel Pepys visited Sir Robert at Swakeleys House twice to borrow money on behalf of the king. Pepys recorded in his diary how Sir Robert had shown him the body of a black boy who had worked as a servant, but had died of consumption. The body had been dried in an oven and kept in a box, which would be shown to visitors.


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Royal Collection Trust has a nice bit on Robert Vyner, or Viner, who was Royal Goldsmith from September 1660 until his death in 1688.

He was instrumental in the creation of new regalia and royal plate for the coronations of both Charles II and James II. Today, the items he supplied remain the central components of the Crown Jewels.

When Charles II returned to England at the Interregnum, all the medieval Crown Jewels except the coronation spoon had been sold or melted down. Charles commissioning replacement pieces for his 1661 coronation, based closely on medieval precedent. The commission was passed from the Jewel House in the Tower of London to Robert Vyner, Royal Goldsmith, in September 1660.

Robert Vyner oversaw the production of some of the most important pieces of regalia in the Royal Collection, including St. Edward's Crown (used at the moment of coronation), the Sovereign's Orb and the two Sovereign's Sceptres. He also procured some of the outstanding 17th-century banqueting and church plate in the Royal Collection, including the Communion chalice and paten, and the Exeter Salt and Plymouth Fountain.

Robert Vyner's role was more of a financer and a manager than of a craftsman. With his business partner and uncle, Sir Thomas Vyner, they outsourced work to other jewelers, goldsmiths and silversmiths, many of whom remain unidentified. Once completed, their productions were gathered and an aggregate bill submitted to Charles II. In 1661, the bill for new regalia came to £12,184 7s. 6d.

Robert Vyner's position as Royal Goldsmith was secured for life by letters patent in July 1661, and he was knighted in 1665.

Sir Robert Vyner was created a Baronet in 1666.

Late and incomplete payments from Charles II led to a number of petitions from Sir Robert Vyner and his associates, including one in 1673 in which Vyner pleaded that he was close to bankruptcy.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

A 1673 family portrait of Sir Robert Vyner (1631-1688) and his wife Mary (née Whitchurch; d. 1674), the wealthy widow of Sir Thomas Hyde, whom he married in 1665; Bridget Hyde (1662-1734), Lady Vyner's daughter by her first marriage; and Charles Vyner (1666-88), their only son.

The family is shown in the garden of their house, Swakeleys, in Middlesex, which according to Samuel Pepys was 'a place not very moderne in the gardens nor the house, but the most uniforme in all that I ever saw - and some things to excess'.

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