Culture: Tudor English
Setting: early Tudor dynasty, England 1510s-1550s
* Metropolitan Museum of Art > Stone Gallery of Arms and Armor
"Field Armor of King Henry VIII of England
Steel, blackened, etched and gilt; textile and leather
Italian (Milan or Brescia), about 1544
This impressive armor was made for Henry VIII (r.1509-1547) toward the end of his life when he was overweight and crippled with gout. Constructed for use on horse and on foot it was probably worn by the king during his last military campaign, the siege of Boulogne in 1544, which he commanded personally in spite of infirmities. The harness was originally fitted with a detachable reinforcing breastplate, to which a lance-rest was attached, and a reinforce for the left pauldron (shoulder defense). A pair of exchange vambraces (arm defenses) remain in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle.
"The armor is described in the post mortem inventory of the king's possessions, drawn up in 1547, as 'of italion makinge.' It was possibly supplied by a Milanese merchant known in England as Francis Albert, who was licensed by Henry to import luxury goods, including armor, into England for sale. The armor was subsequently given to William Herbert (c. 1507-1570), first earl of Pembroke, Henry's esquire and executor of his will. It is recorded at Wilton House, seat of the Pembroke family, from 1558 until it was sold in the 1920s. By the end of the eighteenth century, and until very recently, the armor was erroneously identified as having belonged to Anne de Montmorency (1493-1567), Constable of France, its royal English origins having been forgotten.
"The armor is an early example of the 'anime' type, in which the breastplate and backplate are constructed of horizontal overlapping plates connected and made flexible by rivets and internal leather straps. The decoration, consisting of foliage, putti, running dogs and Renaissance candelabra and grotesque ornament, is typically Italian." ...