Royal Armouries

Saddle

Images

VI.495 saddle

Saddle with later cloths. English, about 1550-70 (VI.495)

  • VI.495 saddle

    Saddle with later cloths. English, about 1550-70 (VI.495)

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of a line of mounted armoured figures

    ‘Interior of the Horse Armoury’, anon engraving, The Penny Magazine, 1836 © Royal Armouries 2013

  • colour photo of a saddle made of bone and decorated with dragons

    Saddle, possibly for the Hungarian Dragon Order. Austrian or Hungarian, early 15th century (IV.95)

Object number: VI.495

Statistics

Object Provenance: Saddle, English, about 1550-70, with later cloth
Object Number: VI.495

Saddle

Description

Some of the original saddles from the Line of Kings and New Horse Armoury survive, although time and open display have dulled their colour and they require extensive conservation to bring them up to display standard again – as has been the case with this saddle. The tree or base of the saddle probably dates from the 16th century and is made from a combination of wood and coarse canvas. Its green velvet covering has a metal braid border and fringing and judging by its colour and condition is later. The high pommel to the front of the saddle slopes down on either side, while the high rear or cantle curves forward on either side. Associated saddle steels fitted.

The pommel steels consist of three plates with sunken borders and decorative roped edges; three decorative flutes splay out from the lower edge of the central plate. The two cantle plates do not meet fully leaving a sizeable gap which has been filled by the insertion of a later panel.

The general horse furnishings are largely unremarked on in the early guidebooks as the figures are the stars of the show. After Meyrick’s reorganisation in 1826-7 complete horse armours and more decorative elements receive passing mention. Hewitt in his 1859 catalogue under class 6 ‘Horse Armour, saddles, stirrups, bits and spurs’ notes: ‘As many of the horse armours comprise parts from different suits, complete bardings being extremely rare, it has been thought best to describe the armour of each figure as it now appears’ with loose pieces and single examples at the end of the class. The illustrations of the various figures from the Horse Armoury at the Tower published as a series in The Penny Magazine in 1840 show them slightly better, but in the later photographs and stereographs, the finer detail is often submerged.

Statistics

Object Provenance: Saddle, English, about 1550-70, with later cloth
Object Number: VI.495

Related Objects

Samuel Meyrick and the Rearrangement of the Horse Armoury, about 1824-1827 Click on the title link above to find out more.

Saddle, possibly for the Hungarian Dragon Order Click on the title link above to find out more.

Dates from 1416 | Object number: VI.95

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