Deadlier than the Mail?

In the 1970s, arms and armour were a man’s world both in use and study. As a recent graduate in 1977, I was fortunate to get a toe hold on the bottom rung of the curatorial ladder in the Department of Weapons and Antiquities at the National Maritime Museum. The weapons side of the Department was all female, and as my boss had a preference for the uniform collection and had mastered its complicated identification coding, I was more thanRead more

Inspired by…Harness

Seamus Moran, the sculptor behind our latest “Inspired by…” exhibit, tells us about the inspiration and creative process of creating “Harness”. The inspiration for this piece came to me after a visit to the Tower in 1995. I was struck by the concept of armour for horses and for children which I saw as darkly inappropriate. I wondered just how willing a horse would be to take on its new role as a weapon of war, or how it wouldRead more

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s campaign for better armour on the Western Front: Part four

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is best known as the creator of the great detective Sherlock Holmes. However, Conan Doyle also used his fame to campaign on behalf of British soldiers during the First World War. Conan Doyle’s conversations with the War Office, in which he suggests equipping the troops with better shields, helmets and body armour, form the subject of this blog series. In this final post of the series – written by Philip Abbot, Archives and Records Manager at Royal Armouries –Read more

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s campaign for better armour on the Western Front: Part two: “Cranks and Lunatics”

  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s campaign for better body armour on the Western Front, part two. (See previous post here.) Written by Philip Abbott, Archives and Records Manager at the Royal Armouries. David Lloyd George noted in his wartime memoirs that when he became Minister of Munitions that he was deluged with letters from “cranks and lunatics” who had some new invention to propose. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s own letters to The Times and The Observer resulted in a number of responsesRead more

New acquisition: the Missaglia Breastplate

On 29th June, at the Thomas Del Mar sale, the Royal Armouries purchased a rare breastplate by a famous family of armourers, the Missaglia family. The breastplate is stamped with the armourer’s mark of the Missaglia family: a Lombardic ‘M’ under a split cross on the right shoulder. The Missaglia’s were the foremost armourers of the Middle Ages, working from their famous workshop in Milan. This breastplate was made by Giovanni Angelo Missaglia (recorded 1504-1529), a third generation armourer ofRead more