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11 February 2020Beautiful Monsters: Heroic and Grotesque Armour of the Italian Renaissance
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14 April 2020John Ruskin: His Impact, Achievement and Legacy
12 May 2020Icons: Exploring their History, Power and Enduring Mystery
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Beautiful Monsters: Heroic and Grotesque Armour of the Italian Renaissance Tobias Capwell Tuesday 11 February 2020


Armour was equipment for war and costume of a profoundly impressive kind.  Iron and steel can be sculpted into whatever extraordinary form the artist can imagine.  As the heroes and monsters of Classical antiquity proliferated in the Renaissance psyche, noblemen began to self-identify in those terms, casting themselves as the descendants and heirs of Hercules, Hector, Alexander and Caesar. 

On the front line of this movement, armourers tasked with proving those claims, met the challenge with some of the most magnificent expressions of their art.  Italian armourers transformed their patrons into living sculptures – the Greco-Roman ideal of physically perfect supermen or, conversely, scaly reptilian monsters out of some medieval nightmare.

Tobias Capwell - Toby is Curator of Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection and an internationally acknowledged authority on Medieval & Renaissance weapons.  He is the author of numerous books and articles on the subject.  Toby appears regularly on television most recently on “A Stitch in Time” BBC4 as presenter and armour advisor on “Richard III: The New Evidence”.  Toby had the unusual honour of serving as one of the two fully armoured horsemen escorting the remains of Kind Richard III from the battlefield at Bosworth to their final resting place in Leicester Cathedral.

Picture: Armour helmet of the Italian Renaissance