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Object Title

Armour - Silvered and engraved armour

Armour - Silvered and engraved armour

Date

about 1515

Object Number

II.5

Provenance

Probably transferred from the Palace at Greenwich about 1649

Physical Description

Armet, with low, keel-shaped combe pierced with a key-hole slot for attaching a crest. At the back is a hole for the stem of the missing rondel. The front of the skullpiece is covered by a reinforcing plate, the sight being formed by the gap between the lower edged of this plate and the upper edge of the visor. The latter, in one piece, projects in a moderate point and is pierced with vertical and horizontal slits for ventilation. It is attached to the pivots by concealed hinges with removable pins. The cheek-pieces are hinged to the skull at the upper edges, overlap at the chin where they are secured by a stud and extend to the back where they meet a narrow extension of the skullpiece; this latter has a T shaped end under which the rear edges of the cheekpieces are sprung when closed. The lower edge of the cheekpieces are bordered by rivet holes for the attachment of a finge of mail. A mark in the form of a crowned helmet is stamped on the back of the skull. The helmet is provided with a reinforcing bevor or wrapper fitting over the chine and the lower part of the visor and secured by a strap round the neck. It has three gorget plates.

Breast and back-plates of simple form, the former wity slight central ridge, both plates having outward turns at the neck and arms. To the bottom edge of both plates single plates are attached to carry the steel bases. This reaches to the knee and is fluted in imitation of the folds of the wide skirt of a civilian doublet and has an arched opening front and back to enable the wearer to sit a horse. These openings could be filled with plates or fabric (now missing) attached by laces. The bases which fit loosely on the lower plates of the cuirass open on hinges at the back and are fastened by pins and staples at the front.

Arms with pauldrons of unequal size, the left being larger and having the upper part of the main plate prolonged into an upstanding neck-guard. The main plate of the right pauldron also forms a neckguard but lower, the pauldron being shallow in front to allow for the couching of the lance. It may be noted that the breastplate is not intended to be fitted with a lance-rest implying that the armour originally was provided with an alternative breastplate. Rerebraces made in two pieces joined by a turner; couters with large fan-plates curving well round the bend of the elbow. The gauntlets are missing.

Leg armour with cuishes of a single plate with strong turns at the upper edge; poleyns with rectangular fan-plates with central V-shaped flute; greaves slit at the back for the spurs. The toe-plates of the sabatons are shaped square with no outward splay.

Decoration. This is negraved and consists of a figure of St. George on the breastplate and one of St. Barbara on the backplate. The rest of the suit is decorated with an all-over pattern of scrolling branches from which sprout Tudor roses and the Pomegranates of Granada with, on the leg armour, the addition of fleur-dr-lys. On the back of each greave is a female half figure emerging from the calyx of a flower the neck-band of the chemise of the figure on the left greave being inscribed GLVCK. The fan-plates of the poleyns bear the sheaf of arrows bade adopted by Ferdinand II of Aragon and the combined Rose and Pomegranate badge of Katherine of Aragon while on the toecaps of the sabatons are the castle of Castile and the Tudor portcullis. The surface of the entire armour was originally silvered and gilt the ground of the engraving being hatched to retain it, some of the silver being preserved in several places.

Featured in

Dimensions

Dimensions: see under notes. Waist external 880 mm (34.75 in) Weight: Helmet 3215 g , wrapper 1055 g, cuirass complete 4205 g, breastplate 2225 g, backplate 1370 g, base complete 7285 g, left half 3490 g , right half 3795 g, right pauldron 1270 g, left pauldron 2055 g , right vambrace 2405 g , left vambrace 2150 g, right cuisse and poleyn 1290 g , left cuisse and poleyn 1375 g, right greave and sabaton 2005 g, left greave and sabaton 1825 g total 30,135 g (66 lb 6.25 oz).

Inscriptions and Marks

A mark is stamped on the back of the skull in the form of a ªrowned Helmet.

Associations

Bibliographic References

A.R. Dufty and W. Reid, European Armour in the Tower of London, 1968, plate I mounted figure, XIV, XV, LXXXI, CXLI details, LXXXI armet.

C. Blair, 'Silvered Armour of Henry VIII in the Tower of London', Archaeologia, Vol.XCIX, 1965.

Ian Eaves, 'The Tournament Armours of King Henry VIII of England', Livrust Kammaren, 1993, pp. 8-9, figs 7-8.

C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011, volume 1

Notes

Displayed with VI.1-VI.5 Horse armour.
The gauntlets are associated.
For many years this armour was thought to be the suit presented to Henry VIII by the Emperor Maximillian I on the occassion of his marrige to Katherine of Aragon in 1510 and was ascribed to the hand of Conrad Seusenhofer of Innsbruck.
It is now however, considered more probable that the wedding gift armour was another tonlet suit with applied decoration of pierced silver of which the only part to survive is the helmet IV.22. Armour II.5 is probably the work either of the Italian armourers brought to England by Henry VIII in 1511, the chief of whom were Filippo de Grampis and Giovanni Angelo de Littis, both of Milan, or of the Flemings. The mark found on the horse armour is that of Guille Margot, and it seems possible that the man's armour is by another Fleming, Peter Fevers. The decoration is almost certainly the work of Paul van Vreland of Brussels who held the appointment of the King's 'harness-gilder' from 1514 to at least 1520. RC2: Permission to lend required from the sovereign. Dimension details: Helmet internal height 11 in, width 7.5 in, brow to base of skull 9 5/8 in; external height 11.75 in, depth 12.25 in, width 8 9/16 in. Cuirass internal centre of breast to back 11 1/8 in, width at base of arm holes 12.75 in, neck opening front to rear 7 in, side to side 8 1/16, waist front to rear 10 in, side to side 10.75 in, height shoulder to waist 14 in, external waist 34./75 in, chest 41.75 in. Base height 21 7/8 in, width 35.5 in, depth at bottom 24 in, waist front to rear 11.75 in, side to side 12 5/8 in. Right vambrace length 21.25 in, upper cannon length 10 in, lower cannon length 9 3/8 in, girth at turner 14 7/8 in, at wrist 10 in. Left vambrace length 20.75 in, upper cannon length 9.75 in, lower cannon length 9 in, girth at turner 14 7/8 in, at wrist 10 1/8 in. Right cuisse and poleyn length 13 7/8 in, cuisse length 10 in, width at top 6 1/8 in, at knee 4.75 in. Left cuisse and poleyn length 13.75 in, cuisse length 10 in, width at top 6 1/8 in, at knee 4.75 in. Right greave and sabaton height 17 7/8 in, foot length 11 7/8 in, girth of calf 15.75 in, of ankle 10 in. Left greave and sabaton height 18 1/8 in, foot length 11 3/8 in, girth of calf 15.75 in, of ankle 10 1/8 in.

Thumbnail image of Armour - Silvered and engraved armour Silvered and engraved armour
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