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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

Erasmus Kyrkenar (c.1495-1567)

Sabatons from the armour garniture of Henry VIII for the field and tilt (RCIN 72834.l and m) c.1540

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Detail of Henry VIII's shoes in Remigius van Leemput, Henry VII, Elizabeth of York, Henry VII and Jane Seymour, which is a 1667 copy of The Whitehall Mural.  RCIN 405750

Detail of Henry VIII's shoes in Remigius van Leemput, Henry VII, Elizabeth of York, Henry VII and Jane Seymour, which is a 1667 copy of The Whitehall Mural. RCIN 405750 ©

During the period of armour's regular use, the fashionable shape of civilian shoes influenced the shape of the sabaton – the piece of armour covering the foot. In the fifteenth century, long, tapering sabatons echoed the pointed poulaines of medieval dress, but by the first half of the sixteenth-century these had given way to square-toed sabatons such as these, which were made for Henry VIII (1491-1547) in about 1540. Contemporary shoes and sabatons of this type are known as 'bear's-paw' fashion. The king wore domestic shoes of this shape in the 'Whitehall Mural', which was commissioned in 1537.