The Knight is Young | Armours of Childhood

There has been much academic debate as to the nature of childhood and children’s experiences throughout the ages. As few children set down accounts of their lives and innermost thoughts, we often rely on their surviving possessions to build a picture of the worlds they inhabited. Today we share just a few of the artefacts in our collection designed for use and wear by children.  Armours for boys fall into three categories: for war (called field armours), for foot combats (in theRead more

Illustrating Armour

The Royal Armouries, Leeds has teamed up with local artist Sean Casey to showcase some of his latest works inspired by the Museum’s collection. The drawings Sean has produced at the Royal Armouries relate to a lifelong interest in armour, from playing with toy Timpo Knights, because he couldn’t get Greek warriors, but which were beautifully made all the same, to an admiration for the awe-inspiring skills of the people who produced the armour itself. For him war games, at theRead more

Tales of the Tournament

Few things can compare with the colour, theatre, and spectacle of a Medieval tournament which at the time were hugely popular. The archetypal image is of armoured knights on horseback galloping towards each other with lances. However tournaments took place over a period of about 600 years, evolving from military exercises and including courtly displays of wealth and sportsmanship. The tourney probably began in the 11th century, as opposing groups of Norman knights practiced tactics for the battlefield. These early combatsRead more

Weird and Wonderful

At first glance, this surprising object could almost be mistaken for an impressive piece of skeleton from a whale or something similarly enormous. In actual fact, it is an extremely rare preserved example of a late 15th/early 16th-century German jousting saddle, which was used in the form of joust known as the ‘Gestech im hohen Zeug’. The saddle supported knights in a standing position rather than seating them on the back of the horse. The saddle consists of a largeRead more

Painted Sallet

Over the last six weeks we’ve had two students from the University of Huddersfield, Jonathon and Vikki, in residence within our Curatorial Department. Here’s an object which caught Vikki’s eye whilst working behind the scenes. This German Sallet dates from about 1490, from the early 13th century to the early 16th century helmets were commonly decorated with paint, and by the end of the 14th century, whole jousting armours were painted black to prevent rust. Painting was a very cheapRead more

Collections Up Close Special

With Royal Wedding celebrations in full swing this month we’re exploring armours which relate to one of the most influential marriages in British history. The Royal Armouries at the Tower of London is home to ornate armours which belonged to King Henry VIII and commemorate his marriage to Katherine of Aragon. Henry was crowned and married Katherine in 1509 when he was 17 years old and she was 23. Katherine had previously been married to his elder brother, Prince ArthurRead more