Cutting Edge Fantasy | Damascus Steel & Valyrian Steel

Following the season finale of HBO’s epic ‘Game of Thrones’, Stefan Maeder, Director of Collections here at the Royal Armouries gives us a fascinating insight into the legendary traits of Valyrian steel and it’s real life parallel – Damascus Steel.  Damascus Steel, A Myth? All attempts at “myth-busting” are doomed to fail when it comes to fantasy or fiction. On the other hand it is important to be aware of the degree to which even nowadays myths shape our perception ofRead more

Cutting Edge Fantasy | Swords in A Game of Thrones

As HBO’s epic retelling of George R.R. Martins ‘Game of Thrones’ draws to a close, Stefan Maeder, Director of Collections here at the Royal Armouries gives us a fascinating insight into the swords of the series.  Swords and Symbolism  Having become obsolete as a weapon of war, the sword even today maintains its significance as a potent symbol. In the bible it epitomises the word of God, as well as being a synonym for justice, punishment, and violence in general.Read more

Swords and Guns in Popular Culture

In the world of arms and armour, the objects featured in contemporary popular culture are often underrepresented. Much of the public perception of arms and armour is coloured by the cultural mainstream, yet many museums have been slow to appreciate and preserve the wonderful things made for films, games and other media. For many, popular culture is the primary means of exposure to such objects and for museums, this area is key to developing a successful future events programme. PrecedentsRead more

Preview: Dangerous Arts

With the release of ‘Dangerous Arts’ the newest publication from the Royal Armouries, we are providing you with the chance to preview a sample of the book. From the earliest times, the finest craftsmen in the world created beautiful objects for their wealthiest patrons. Worn by kings and coveted by emperors, these items not only revealed the owners’ power but also their standing as great connoisseurs of the arts. Dangerous Arts reveals a world that combines art with conflict, deathRead more

Siborne’s Waterloo model: Reuniting soldiers with their swords

Conservation of Captain William Siborne’s large-scale Waterloo model is underway at the Royal Armouries in Leeds in advance of the bicentenary of the battle. The model is in fairly good overall condition considering its age (about 170 years), but it has understandably suffered damage over the years. Some of the soldiers’ weapons have been bent, detached or, in some cases, lost completely. While conserving a section of the model I came across a row of cavalry who had lost theirRead more

Swords of the Middle Earth…

To celebrate the premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, four heroic swords based on weapons used in the epic The Lord of the Rings film trilogy will go on display at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds on Thursday (December 13). Royal Armouries’ curator of European Edged Weapons, Bob Woosnam-Savage, reveals all about the magical swords. After our highly successful The Wonderful World of Weta: Arms and Armour from the Movies exhibition in 2008, I have kept in closeRead more