Royal Armouries

Armour of King Henry VIII

Images

LOK buffe II.9

Buffe - Portions of an armour of King Henry VIII. English, Greenwich, 1539 (II.9) The remainder of the armour is in the Royal Collection.

  • LOK buffe II.9

    Buffe - Portions of an armour of King Henry VIII. English, Greenwich, 1539 (II.9) The remainder of the armour is in the Royal Collection.

  • monochrome photo of armoured figures on foot and horseback

    Figure of Henry VIII in the New Horse Armoury, 1870s. © Private collection 2013

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of an armoured figure on horseback

    Figure of King Henry VIII in the Horse Armoury, The Penny Magazine, 1840.

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of an armoured figure on horseback

    Figure of King Henry VIII in the Horse Armoury, The Penny Magazine, 1840.

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of a line of mounted armoured figures

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

  • monochrome engraving of a man in a long wig above an inscription

    Edward Ward by Michael Vandergucht, line engraving, published 1710 © National Portrait Gallery, London 2013

  • colour photo of a carved wooden head of Henry VIII

    Carved wooden head of Henry VIII. English, about 1689-91 (XVII.1)

  • LOK II.9 toe cap

    Toe cap - Portions of an armour of King Henry VIII. English, Greenwich, 1539 (II.9) The remainder of the armour is in the Royal Collection.

Date: 1539 | Object number: Formerly II.9

Statistics

Object Provenance: English, Greenwich, about 1539
Object Number: Formerly II.9

Armour of King Henry VIII

Description

The second late armour of King Henry VIII is that formerly in the Tower collection but since 1916 in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. This armour was made for the tilt, with the reinforces for the left side of the body, the grandguard, pasguard and manifer, and may have been made for the jousts held on 11 January 1539/40 to celebrate his marriage to Anne of Cleves.

It is decorated with etched borders, most probably to designs by Holbein. An interesting feature of the decoration appears on the sabatons, where the edges of each lame are given a different border, one of which was chosen by the King for the rest of the armour. The armour has been modified during its lifetime, and for this reason has always been regarded as the armour ‘all graven and parcell gilt both for the field and tilt’ that was modified for the King to wear at Boulogne in 1544.

However recent examinations suggest that it was never gilded, and the main recorded modification to the armour for Boulogne was the cutting away of the legs defences for Henry’s still-poorly legs. For these reasons, it is probably best identified as the ‘Complete harnesse parcell graven with all doble peces longing to the Tylte and the felde’ at Greenwich in the 1547 inventory, the only one of the King’s decorated armours which is not recorded as gilt in the inventory.

Armour for the field and tilt by Erasmus Kyrkenar.

Transferred from the Palace at Greenwich 1644. Used for the figure of Charles Brandon in the Line after Meyrick’s reorganisation, 1826-27; Britton, 1830, no. 5; Hewitt 1859, II.7; transferred to Windsor in 1914.

View the armour on the Royal Collection Trust website

Statistics

Object Provenance: English, Greenwich, about 1539
Object Number: Formerly II.9

Related Objects

Ned Ward’s Humorous Account of the Tower as a Visitor Attraction Click on the title link above to find out more.

Henry VIII in the Line of Kings Click on the title link above to find out more.

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

Henry VIII (reigned1509-47) Click on the title link above to find out more.

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