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In order to pursue his ambitions in France, Henry VIII formed an alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I. This painting records their meeting and the main events pertaining to Henry’s first campaign against the French in 1513.

The composit
European Armour in the Royal Collection

An introduction to European armour in the Royal Collection.


Four of a set of five saddle-steels of Henry VIII

about 1545

RCIN 67652

Tudor and Stuart gentlemen were expected to become good riders at a young age. Like fencing, riding and hunting were not only considered respectable leisure activities but a vital preparation for war.

These saddle-steels – protective plates attached to the front and rear parts of a saddle – belonged to Henry VIII, who often spent considerable hours each day riding and hunting. The border of each plate is etched with hounds chasing deer, hares and wild boar through a lightly wooded countryside. The main areas are etched all over with battle-scenes involving cavalry and infantry in a wooded landscape. 

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