Object Title

Horse Armour - Burgundian bard

Horse Armour - Burgundian bard



Object Number



Tower Arsenal. The Bard figures in an inventory of 1519 where it is described as being a gift from the Emperor. Since it is unlikely that an Imperial gift would be sent to the recipient's own country for completion it is probable that the bard was made and decorated in Flanders before van Vrelant's arrival in England in or around 1514.

Physical Description

Consists of saddle-steels, reins, shaffron, crinet, peytral, crupper and flanchards. The bard is decorated with the firesteels and raguly crosses of the Order of the Golden Fleece, intervening spaces being filled with scrolling tendrils bearing pomgranates, the ornament being embossed in high relief with details rendered by engraving. The entire surface was silvered and at least partly gilt; little silver and none of the gilding has survived. Medium carbon steel, air cooled.


Dimensions: As mounted height: 1940 mm (76.6 in); width: 1010 mm (39.8 in); length: 2400 mm (94.7 in) Weight: total 32.46 kg (71 lb 8 oz)

Component parts

Inscriptions and Marks

The maker's mark is stamped on the upper rear plate of the crupper, which is decorated with engraving only.

Bibliographic References

Claude Blair, European Armour, B.T. Batsford Ltd., London, 1958, p.176.

A.R. Dufty and W. Reid, European Armour in the Tower of London, 1968, plate CL.

D. Starkey, Henry VIII, A European court in England, London, 1991, no. III.1, p. 43.

P Connor (ed) All the Queen's horses, Lexington, Kentucky Horse Park, 2003:

G Rimer, T Richardson and J P D Cooper, Henry VIII: arms and the man, Leeds, 2009,


This horse armour has for many years been known as the Burgundian Bard and is certainly a production of the same armourer responsible for VI.1-5, while the engraved decoration at least may with equal certainty be ascribed to Paul van Vrelant. RC2: Permission to lend required from the sovereign