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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

An introduction to European armour in the Royal Collection

South Germany

Composite 'Almain' corselet about 1600-10

RCIN 67356

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Similarities between the silhouette of armour and of contemporary civilian dress were not uncommon. In particular, the waistline of a breastplate (whether high, natural or low) and its shape (straight or pointed) frequently followed changes in the style of doublets. Here, the breastplate of the corselet copies the civilian doublets fashionable in the second half of the sixteenth century, bulging outwards at the sides as it projects down to a central 'V'; a style known as 'peascod'. 

Like its accompanying pieces, the breastplate is decorated in the so-called 'black-and-white' fashion. This was achieved by polishing to a bright or 'white' finish the raised bands and borders so that they contrasted with the black-from-the-hammer finish of the remainder of the surface. This breastplate forms part of a corselet – a half-armour for infantry use equipped with an open-faced helmet.