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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

Jacob Halder (active 1576-1608)

Armour garniture of Sir Christopher Hatton for the field, tourney, tilt and barriers 1585

RCIN 72835

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This armour is illustrated in the 'Almain Armourer's Album', a record of all the decorated armours made in the royal workshops at Greenwich between 1557 and 1587. Many of the designs, documented by the Master Armourer, Jacob Halder, were for prominent advisors and military leaders at the Elizabethan court. The drawings, along with small traces of blueing on the armour, indicate that it originally had a striking blued ground, which has since partly oxidised to a russet colour.

The helmet of the armour is particularly ingenious. It incorporates a series of hooks, catches and push-buttons to secure and protect the wearer's head. Two hinged cheek-pieces meet and lock at the chin, and their lower edges rotate and lock onto the gorget (neck-piece) to provide rigid protection for the neck. A sprung stud above the right cheek-piece serves as a prop for the visor, keeping it in a raised position if desired.