Armour for a courtier of Queen Elizabeth I
Dates from about 1590 | English, Greenwich | Object number: II.40, IV.581
This is the only armour in the gallery that is made up for the tourney. A tourney was fought between two teams on horseback, first with lances and then with swords.
Did you know?
- It was the oldest form of tournament combat and helped prepare knights for battle. For that reason the armour worn was like field (battle) armour with two main differences: the helmet and right gauntlet.
- The close helmet fitted onto the collar to protect the face and head against blows from all sides. The right gauntlet was a special invention for the tourney. It is called a ‘locking gauntlet’ as it locked around a sword so it could not be knocked out of the hand. Its decoration features engraved finger nails.
- It was made in the royal workshops at Greenwich under master armourer Jacob Halder. The Jacob Album, or ‘Almain Armourer’s Album’, preserved in the Victoria Albert Museum, contains drawings of decorated armours and details of their original owners. However, as this armour is plain, its owner cannot be identified in the Jacob Album.
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