Star objects

Star objects

Silver and engraved armour belonging to Henry VIII

As a collection, the Line of Kings is spectacular. But many of the individual pieces of armour and other objects are stars in their own right.

Royal Armours

Silver and engraved armour of Henry VIII, about 1515Silver and engraved armour belonging to Henry VIII

The decoration on this silvered and engraved armour celebrates the marriage of Henry VIII to Katherine of Aragon.

The edge of the skirt has the intertwined initials of Henry and Katherine and there are engraved Tudor roses and pomegranates of Aragon all over the armour. The armour belonged to King Henry VIII and was decorated by Paul van Vrelant in Greewich, London.

Field and Tournament armour of Henry VIII, 1540

Field and tournament armour of Henry VIII, 1540Henry VIII was 49 when this armour was made. By then his fitness and health had declined. The great size of the armour shows that Henry had put on a lot of weight in his later years.

This armour is called a garniture. It is made up of a single piece of main armour and mix and match pieces that could be combined for different tournament events.

 Gilt armour of Charles I, about 1612

Gilt armour of King Charles IThis spectacular armour was made for Henry, Prince of Wales, Charles I’s older brother. On Henry's death in 1612, Charles inherited his armour – and four years later his title.

The surface is covered in gold leaf with engraved and punched foliage decoration. This is unusual as gilt decoration was normally fused to the surface of armour by the dangerous process of mercury-gilding.

Boy’s armour of Prince Henry Stuart, about 1608

Boy's armour belonging to Henry Prince of Wales in about 1607This is the oldest surviving Stuart royal armour. AIthough made for the young prince at about thirteen years of age, it is a miniature version of an adult armour.

The armour is decorated with bands of chased and gilt strapwork containing scenes from the life of Alexander the Great, to whom Henry was often compared in literature.

Boy’s armour of King Charles II, about 1615

Arnour of King Charles I
This horseman’s armour was made for the future King Charles I, possibly to celebrate him becoming Prince of Wales in 1616. He later passed the armour to his eldest son, the future King Charles II.

Armour of King James II, 1686

Armour of King James II, 1686This is a specially decorated version of the armour worn by light horsemen at this time. By the 1680s, armour was in decline as the use of guns became more widespread. This armour was bullet proof.

You can tell this armour was designed for King James II because the elaborate face-guard features the royal coat of arms. The armour’s decoration also features the initials ‘IR’ for Iacobus Rex meaning King James.


More to see

Carved wooden head of Charles IICarved Head of Charles II, about 1685

The head was made around 1685 for the figure of King Charles II in the Line of Kings. The wooden head was probably carved in the workshop of the eminent woodcarver Grinling Gibbons.

Carved wooden horseCarved Wooden Horse, about 1690

A life-sized horse statue for one of the royal figures in the Line of Kings to ‘ride’ in the Horse Armoury display which survived until it was re-modeled in 1826-7.

Ordered in 1688-9 from one of the best woodcarvers in England when the Line was being expanded and improved.

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