Object Title

Field and tilt armour

Field and tilt armour



Object Number



Probably transferred from the Palace at Greenwich about 1649

Physical Description

The armour takes the form of a small Greenwich garniture for the tournament, including reinforces, the grandguard, pasguard and manifer for the tilt, and a shaffron for the horse. There is no evidence in the pieces that survive that it was provided with extra pieces for the field, but likely that these existed. It is decorated with broad recessed bands etched and formerly gilt with strapwork, joined diagonally by the ragged staves of Warwick. The badge of the Lesser George of the Order of the Garter occurs frequently in the decoration, and on the breastplate, backplate and left pauldron is the muzzled bear badge of Warwick, surrounded by the collar of the French Order of St Michel, which Dudley received in 1566. On the escutcheon of the shaffron is embossed the bear and ragged staff badge.


Dimensions: As mounted: height: 1740mm; width: 830mm; depth: 560mm Weight: 32,660 g (72 lb)

Component parts

Bibliographic References

A.R. Dufty and W. Reid, European Armour in the Tower of London, 1968, plate XLIV, XLV extra pieces, XCIV helmet.

C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011 volume 2


One 'compleate Armor graven and gilt' valued at £25 was in Leicester House in 1588, recorded in the Inventory for Probate of the goods of Robert, Earl of Leicester, British Library Harl. Roll D 35 (Archaeologia lxx: 44). The Jacob album illustrates two other armours designed for Dudley, and it is thought that this armour represents a third (no. 15) where there is a gap in the number sequence of the figures. The armour is shown with its original blued or russet finish in a portrait by Frederico Zucchero (now lost), but it is evident from a Zucchero sketch in the British Museum (P&D G.91.415) that the original portrait showed Dudley wearing the russet field and tournament garniture decorated with narrow bands (no. 3) and was subsequently altered. This armour no longer survives, and neither does the second (no. 8). That this armour too was made is attested by the portrait of Dudley's brother-in-law Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon dated 1588 (Royal Armouries no. I.46). The present armour is dateable stylistically to about 1575, and it is thought to have been made for Dudley to wear at the entertainment that he staged for the Queen at Kenilworth that year.