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Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

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

Overview

Creator: Agostino Veneziano (active 1500-30) (engraver)
Creation Date: 
about 1545
Materials: 
Ferrous metal, traces of gilding
Dimensions: 
Right fore plate, width 32.4 cm, height 23.5 cm; l
RCIN 
67652
Reference(s): 
Laking AA 792
Provenance: 
An inventory of 1555 lists, among the armour of the late King kept in the Green Gallery at Greenwich, ‘The fforepart and inderp[ar]te of a guilte Saddle graven and guilte’. The notable width of the saddle-steels would be consistent with their having belonged to Henry VIII in his later years. It is possible that the fore plates were the ‘Saddle Bow, imperfect, highly Engraved in 2 Pieces’ supplied from the Tower. They were noted at Windsor Castle in the 1831 'Account of the Armour and Arms in the King’s Guard Chamber' after the rearrangement of the displays of armour following the accession of William IV. The rear plates were recorded in the Tower Armouries and were transferred to Windsor in 1914 following an exchange of items between the two institutions reuniting matching pieces. Recorded as items 1868, 1869 and 1870 included in the North Corridor Catalogue which records the arrangement of and changes to displays in the North Corridor at Windsor Castle.
Description:

Four of a set of five saddle steels consisting of two plates for the rear arson and two side plates for a symmetrical fore arson (the central plate is missing). The outer edges of each plate are formed with boldly roped partial turns. The turn is accompanied to the inside by a broad recessed border. Each of the fore plates is pierced with two holes for the bolts that originally secured them to the frame of the saddle. The inner edge of the left plate is partly broken away. The left rear plate originally had a flange, no doubt decorated, which overlapped the plain flange at the left edge of the right plate, but this has been cut away. Both rear plates were at one time pierced with two holes to accommodate the three bolts that retained them, the central one of which would have passed through the inner hole of each plate.

All of the plates are etched in relief and were originally fire-gilt overall. The crests of the roping are etched in line with overlapping leaves, rounded and pointed on alternate crests. The recessed border is etched in relief against a densely dotted ground with hounds chasing game (deer, hares and wild boar) through a lightly wooded countryside. The main areas are similarly etched all over with battle-scenes involving cavalry and infantry either in classical armour or in quasi-Oriental dress, all in a lightly wooded landscape. The same figures keep repeating, sometimes reversed and with minor alterations of equipment.

The source of many of the figures is an engraving possibly by Marco da Ravenna, possibly after Guilio Romano, or from the repetition of it by Agostino Veneziano. Others come from an engraving by Marco da Ravenna, possibly after either Raphael or Guilio Romano. The same figures are repeated several times with slight differences of dress and arming.

Further details

Additional Creators: Marco Dente da Ravenna (d.1527) (engraver)
After Giulio Romano (Rome c. 1499-Mantua 1546) (designer)
Northern Italy (place of production)
Category: 
Arms & Armour