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Look, think, do: Armour

Description of this object or artwork

Although its various parts were not originally made to go together, this imposing ensemble illustrates excellently the kind of ‘panoply’ produced in the last great period of European armour manufacture.

A suit of armour was not only intended to protect its wearer from missiles, swords or hammer blows - although the kind of steel plate manufactured in Italy and Germany in the 16th century did this job admirably. Armour such as this drew attention to one’s social status, one’s fashion consciousness and, by virtue of its great cost, one’s wealth. This was never more true than in Germany in the 16th century when full armour was worn at political meetings, weddings and civic ceremonies.

Whole composite armour
Early 16th century South Germany, for field or cavalry use. Decorated with fluting in the Maximilian fashion.


  • Look carefully at the suit of armour.
  • Can you estimate how many separate pieces of armour there are on the knight?


  • Watch the video below showing the horse being dressed. This horse is wearing a bright patterned headress and clothing which is called barding.
  • Why do you think the knight would want to stand out? 


  • The colours on the barding are from Lord Fitzwilliam's coat of arms.
  • What colours would you choose to represent you and why?
  • Design your own special coat of arms and create a matching outfit for the horse using our printable activity sheets.

Collections record

Collection record: 17686

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