Object Title

Saddle

Saddle

Date

1400-1430

Object Number

VI.95

Provenance

Old Tower Collections.

Physical Description

Constructed of wood veneered with bone with a high forward curved bow, the outline of the cantle forming two semi-circles set at an angle to the tree. It is pierced on each side with slots for the girth and stirrups, and holes for the panels and harness. The bone plaques are decorated with dragons and foliage, and on either side of the pommel with a scroll held at the top by a hand and below in the mouth of a dragon, inscribed in gothic lettering, in South German dialect, right side, 'ich hoff des pesten / dir geling' (I hope the best fortune may attend you); left side 'hilf got / wol auf sand jorgen nam' (Help God! Forward in the name of St George). Two scrolls at the back of the cantle are inscribed 'im ars / is vinster' (in the arse it is black). At the point of the bow is a cross of St George, and the whole design is emphasised by inlays of black, red and green mastic.

Featured in

Hundred Years War

Dimensions

SaddleHeight375mm
SaddleLength520mm
SaddleWeight7lb
SaddleWidth front370mm
SaddleWidth rear485mm

Inscriptions and Marks

none

Bibliographic References

John Hewitt, Official Catalogue of the Tower Armouries, London, 1859: 41, no.vi.61

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

Sigismundus rex et imperator, Budapest, 2006, no. 4/69 p. 361-2.

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

Notes

A plain saddle of this type is shown in an engraving by the Souith German Master ES, active 1466-8, of St George (M Lehrd, Late Gothic engravings of Germany and the Netherlands, New York, 1969, no. 131). Others are shown in 'the battle' by the Master of the Death of the Virgin, active in the first half of the 15th century (Lehrs no. 9), and on an early 15th century playing card in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (Courtauld box 421, German school). A very good representation appears in an illumination of the mid 16th century Trous'sches Bruchstuck in the Bib. Jagiellonska, Krakow (A von Oechlhauser, Die Miniaturen der Universitõts Bibliothek zu Heidelberg, II, Heidelberg, 1895, pl. 16). Yet another good representation is in the panel painting of St George and the dragon attributed to Van Eyck, in the National Gallery of Art, Washington.


The fullest account of this group of saddles was in Julius von Schlosser, 'Elfenbeinsõttel des ausgehenden Mittelalters', Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien, XV, 1894: 260-94. The publication of the Sigismundus exhibition catalogue in 2006 included an even fuller listing of all 22 of the known saddles of the group (pp. 277-8), an essay by Maria Vero about them (pp. 270-6) and brought eight of them together in the exhibiton. Vero speculates whether this one might be a gift from Sigismund to Henry V along with the York sword in 1416.

Displayed in Agincourt 600 a temporary exhibition at Tower of London, October 2016 - Jan 2016 - 2nd floor East, White Tower. (BC)