The Story of European Armour, c. 600- 1650
with Dr Tobias Capwell (Curator of Arms & Armour, The Wallace Collection)
at Sutton Hoo on Saturday, 24th March, 2018.

As a protective system designed to augment the human body, the history of European armour follows paths and patterns remarkably reminiscent of biological evolution in the natural world. In this series of lectures we follow the development of ‘human exoskeletons’ across more than a thousand years, watching as one remarkable species, the élite armoured warrior, evolves to survive in a dangerous and ever-changing environment.

Provisional Programme

09.50 – 10.15:                Coffee on arrival

10.15 – 11.15:                From Warrior to Knight: 600-1150

11.15 – 11.40:                Coffee break

11.40 – 12.40:                Diversity of Materials Yields to the Ascendance of Steel: 1150-1450

12.40 – 14.00:                Lunch break

14.00 – 14.50:                 The Golden Age: 1450-1550

14.50 – 15.10:                Tea break

15.10 – 16.00:                The End Took Longer than You Might Think: 1550-1815

c.16.00:                            Thanks and Close

About Dr Tobias Capwell

Tobias Capwell is Curator of Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection in London, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and an internationally-acknowledged expert on Medieval and Renaissance weapons. His book, Masterpieces of European Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection (The Wallace Collection 2011) was named Book of the Year by Apollo Magazine in 2012.

Dr Capwell appears regularly on television, most recently as a contributor to A Stitch in Time (BBC4, 2018), as presenter and armour advisor on Richard III: The New Evidence (Channel 4, 2014), and as the writer and presenter of Metalworks: The Knight’s Tale (BBC 4, 2012). Recent publications include Arms and Armour of the Medieval Joust (Royal Armouries, 2018) and The Noble Art of the Sword: Fashion and Fencing in Renaissance Europe 1520-1630, (The Wallace Collection 2012).  Dr Capwell’s most recent book, Armour of the English Knight 1400-1450, was published in 2015 after 20 years of research.  The sequel, covering the period 1450-1500, will be published in 2019.


At a previous Study Day by Tobias, when asked ‘What was best about the day?‘ people said:

  • Really brought it all to life and dispelled myths
  • Excellent speaker – one of the best of many excellent speakers, thank you Wuffings. One who knows his subject inside out and presents his talk with energy, enthusiasm and expertise in most engaging manner (all the ‘e’s)
  • Speaker of high quality with a stunning grasp of his subject
  • Listening to someone who knows his subject from the practical point of view – not merely acadamic research. Understand and demonstrate the practicalities – a rare quality


Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

Blair, Claude, European Armour 1066-1700 (London: Batsford, 1958)

Capwell, Tobias, Armour of the English Knight 1400-1450 (London: Thomas Del Mar Ltd, 2015)

Capwell, Tobias, Masterpieces of European Arms and Armour in the Wallace Collection (London: Paul Holberton, 2011).

Fallows, Noel, Jousting in Medieval and Renaissance Iberia (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2010).

Godoy, José-A., and Stuart Pyhrr, Heroic Armour of the Italian Renaissance: Filippo Negroli and his Contemporaries, ex. cat.

(New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998).

Soler del Campo, Álvaro, and others, The Art of Power: Royal Armour and Portraits from Imperial Spain, ex. cat. (Madrid: Patrimonio

Nacional/SEACEX/Tf Editores, 2009).