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11 February 2020Beautiful Monsters: Heroic and Grotesque Armour of the Italian Renaissance
14 January 2020Sweet Swan of Avon: William Shakespeare and his Turbulent World
10 December 2019Fizz and Crackle: Imagination, Innovation and Curiosity in the Work of John Singer Sargent
12 November 2019A Child of 6 Could Do It: Cartoonists and Modern Art
08 October 2019The Borgias
10 September 2019Garden Landscapes with a Gainsborough perspective
11 June 2019Programme change Photographic Odyssey : Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition Captured on Camera.
14 May 2019The Science Behind the Art of Leonardo da Vinci
09 April 2019Victoria and Albert – Art and Love
12 March 2019Tantrums and Tiaras
12 February 2019The Art and Culture of Japan
08 January 2019Historic Gardens of the Italian Lakes
11 December 2018Jane Austen’s Christmas
13 November 2018Looking for Aphrodite
09 October 2018250th Anniversary of the Royal Academy
11 September 2018Classical Sicily
12 June 2018The Artists of Montmartre "The Pilgrims of Babylon"
08 May 2018Now You See, Now You Don't - The Art of Visual Deception
10 April 2018Vivaldi in Venice
13 March 2018Chinese Imperial Court Costume A Journey through the Imperial Wardrobe
13 February 2018Dale Chihuly - The World’s Foremost Glass Artist
09 January 2018Golden Paintings of International Gothic 1380-1430
12 December 2017The Story of Christmas in Medieval Art
14 November 2017Mille Miglia – Cars & Culture
10 October 2017Edward Seago: From the Circus to Sandringham
12 September 2017The Other Side Counter memorials - Germany’s post-WW2 culture of apology and atonement
13 June 2017Betty Joel – Glamour and Innovation 1930’s Style
09 May 2017The Art of the Great Parisian Jewellery Houses
11 April 2017The Stone of Heaven – Jade, 1500 BC to 1800
14 March 2017Undressing Antiques
14 February 2017Horse: Bronze Equine Sculpture from pre-history to the Present Day
10 January 2017The Art and Beauty of Old Maps of the World
13 December 2016In Need of Nativity — Social History of the Favourite Biblical Scene
08 November 2016William Moorcroft & His Legacy
11 October 2016John Constable & The Making of Masterpieces
13 September 2016The Elgin Marbles
14 June 2016When Britain Clicked - Fab Photos from the Swinging Sixties
10 May 2016Lancelot 'Capability' Brown (1716-1783) - Landscape, Art & Dame Nature
12 April 2016The Corked Conjurer: comedy, contempt & credulity in Georgian England
08 March 2016The Development of the Drinking Glass ‘Drink thy wine with a merry heart’
09 February 2016English Delftware Drug Jars ‘in paynted pots is hidden the deadliest poison’
12 January 2016The Green Man in Art & Mythology - Part 2
08 December 2015Inventors of Christmas
10 November 2015Encompassed by the Inviolate Sea Marine Painting in Cornwall from Turner to Alfred Wallis
13 October 2015The Glory of Fabergé
08 September 2015History of the Harp From Mediterranean Antiquity to 20th century Europe
09 June 2015Islamic Art & Design
12 May 2015Medieval Stained Glass
14 April 2015O I do like to be beside the Seaside
10 March 2015Three Great Families and their Gardens
10 February 2015Amazing Playing Cards
13 January 2015Australian Artists
09 December 2014(Programme Change) ‘Christmas Pie’
11 November 2014Pub Signs
14 October 2014Life and Times of the Sundial
09 September 2014Wimples and Wellingtons
10 June 2014The Royal Forest in the age of Magna Carta
13 May 2014What is a Painter-Stainer?
08 April 2014The Sistine Chapel Cracked
11 March 2014Are You Sitting Comfortably?
11 February 2014Monet at Giverny
14 January 2014A View from the Plinth
10 December 2013‘Sing We Yule’
12 November 2013The Miseroni Family, Lapidary Artists of Milan and Prague
08 October 2013The Australian Country House
10 September 2013The Story of the Renaissance
11 June 2013As if by Magic: The Secrets of Turner’s Techniques
14 May 2013‘Brilliant Things’ Ancient Egyptian Faience
09 April 2013The Boy Who Bit Picasso
12 March 2013The Genius of Antonio Stradivari
12 February 2013From Phaetons to Phantoms: 100 Years of coach building
08 January 2013Mrs Beeton presents: Beeton’s Book of Household Management (in its culinary context)

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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