The landing of Henry VIII in France. The author of the original is unknown. A copy of J. Basire (1774).
And it was that at the beginning of the XVI century. relations between England and France still left much to be desired. The Hundred Years War seemed to be over long ago, but the English kings all formally considered themselves the heirs of the French throne. On the other hand, after Roz’s extermination war, England was interested in strengthening its position on the continent, so a strong alliance with France was beneficial for her. The French King Francis I and the King of England Henry VIII, realizing this, agreed to meet at the border near the city of Calais, so that ... none of them would feel hurt.
“The field of golden brocade”, engraving by J. Basir (1774) in a 16th-century painting
The fact is that Calais at that time still belonged to the British, so the meeting was to be held in the “neutral territory” between the two countries. To do this, a camp was built right in the field, which became a real city. More than 5000 workers were involved in the works, who leveled the area, dug pits, slaughtered pillars and put up around 2800 tents, which were simply used by a phenomenal amount of velvet and gold brocade, which gave the name to this historical event. In the retinue of both kings and with that, and on the other hand, included several thousand people of courtiers and servants.
Knight's armor of Henry VIII 1520 g. Pic. A. Shepsa.
By order of Henry VIII there was built a palace, the inner courtyard of which had an area of 90 on 90 meters, and its total area was about 10 thousand square meters. On a two-meter-long brick foundation, walls of a ten-meter height made of fabric painted stone and stretched on wooden pillars towered. The roof was also made of cloth, but it seemed that it was made of metal. A particularly strong impression was made by the many glass windows, because of which it received the name "crystal", so that the Victorian "crystal palace" had in the past a worthy predecessor. The fountains of red wine arranged in front of the palace became the peak of wealth and ostentatious extravagance.
Armor 1520 g. With polleksom.
Pay attention to the lattice visor with large holes that could be used for observation, and for breathing. The latter was very important, because the knights in metal armor were overheated, as the iron of the armor was an excellent heat insulator. It was especially important to cool the face and head.
Henry VIII. Painting by Hans Holbein (14971498 – 1543). Walker picture gallery.
Francis I built such a high tent that it looked like the tallest tower known. The tower was crowned with a statue of St. Michael, who plunged the dragon. It had four large rooms, covered with blue velvet, embroidered with golden lilies. The first meeting of the monarchs occurred 7 June 1520 of the year. Moreover, like today, at the meeting of the presidents, the whole ceremony was arranged literally every minute in such a way that none of the parties would be compromised. Both kings were dressed luxuriously and looked at each other with a legitimate interest, which is no wonder. After all, they were almost the same age (Heinrich at the time of the meeting turned 29 years, and Francis - 25), both were famous for their education and advanced views.
Armor with a full-length close-up.
But although the first meeting of the monarchs was held in a “warm and friendly atmosphere,” the hopes for a union were ruined by rivalry between the French and the British, which arose because of the incorrect target setting of this meeting. Practically each of its participants spared neither the strength nor the means to demonstrate to everyone else, and above all to the opposing side, their magnificence. Two weeks of feasts and tournaments have resulted in the very open competition, nothing to do with the “engineering of agreement” (and that is what PR is!), Which has no!
Kulet - “plate ass” armor with pollekom.
For tournaments alone, 1500 swords were made, 1000 swords for horsemen fights and 600 two-handed swords for foot fights.
Francis I. Painting by Jean Clouet, Louvre, Paris.
At feasts, both sides ate more 2000 sheep, some 700 eels and ... 50 herons. But besides the nobility, her entourage, their retinue and their servants were also present at the meeting. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that only for the retinue of the English monarch during the meeting more than 2200 cattle were slaughtered. As was customary at that time, people ate and drunk and it was this that demonstrated their superiority to the opposing side and so strengthened the image of their sovereign.
"Armor with a skirt" 1520
At first, the monarchs managed to achieve a certain mutual understanding and common interests, but everything achieved at such a high price destroyed “His Majesty the case.” Henry VIII, a man of strong build and physically developed, decided to call the French king to the wrestling match, which was obviously inferior in size. Therefore, Henry did not doubt that he would win. But it turned out that Francis I held a seizure and managed to throw Henry to the ground. It was too much for a touchy Englishman, and he could not accept his defeat. If he were a little smarter, he would just be glad that fate itself gave him the opportunity to earn the favor of the French king (I personally, for example, would just succumb to him - well, that it’s worthwhile to hang on the ground for political victory in the end), but ... time though they considered themselves educated, they had no idea how to succeed. In the end, everything turned out the way it turned out ...
"Armor with a skirt." Front view.
However, Francis also made mistakes, along with his retinue, who overdid on the part of luxury: after all, France was richer than England and the “Gold Brocade Field” once again emphasized this and seemed offensive to the British.
A carpet depicting the duel of Francis I with Henry VIII.
The meeting of the kings ended on June 24 of 1520, with a solemn mass, after which all participants were granted absolution from the participants. But be that as it may, nothing good came of the meeting. Although the two-year-old French prince Francois and the four-year-old English princess Maria were engaged, because of their early childhood, she was never confirmed. Only two months after the “field of gold brocade” Henry VIII made an alliance with Charles V, and he was the worst enemy of Francis I. And two years later, both England and France launched another war.
This photo from the Royal Arsenal clearly shows how the “armor with a skirt” was arranged, reliably protecting its owner from almost all types of tournament weapons. Again, attention is drawn to the perforated visor, which is designed in such a way that it provides both a good view and quite decent ventilation.
That is, huge funds were thrown into the vanity chamber and did not lead to any positive result. No, in general, the result, of course, was - now we know that “we don’t need to do this,” that is, a negative experience is also an experience, and a valuable one. But then the British and the French looked at the consequences of this “field” as a complete disappointment. However, after the "field" there was not only disappointment. The armor made for King Henry VIII remained, and today we can judge by it the skill of the master armors who served the British crown in 1520.
Badge of the Order of the Garter on the "Armor with a skirt."
It is known that Henry VIII was very worried about the fact that his country depended on the import of foreign armor, but didn’t produce its own, which is why he decided to try to invite Italian gunsmiths to work in Southwestern. But for some unknown reason, this deal fell through. But Heinrich was stubborn and in 1515, he invited craftsmen from Germany and Flanders to come to England, who this time agreed and began to work in the arms workshop created for them in Greenwich. I must say that the English nobility bought armor throughout Europe. Someone richer ordered their famous masters, someone bought armor from visiting traders, which the blacksmiths immediately urged them on the figure. Therefore, they wore armor in the latest fashion, but often used a kind of "mix" of old and modern parts, bought for the occasion.
In any case, the influence of the Italian school, whose influence in England, apparently, was very strong, and the schools of the German-Flemish masters invited by King Henry, gave rise to the appearance of armor of a kind of "Greenwich style".
However, this very “Greenwich style” had a rather small impact on the armor of the main mass of knights in England, since the main customer of the Royal workshops in Greenwich was the king himself, whom their masters served. Many of these armor have survived today, and can be seen in the Royal Arsenal in Leeds. There are four known armor, personally owned by Henry VIII. One of his armor is in Windsor Castle, and two, according to experts, they also belong to Henry VIII - are on display at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
Solety "bear paw".
First of all, this is a very specific type of armor for the foot bout, specially made for the competition on the “Golden Brocade Field”. They weigh 42,68 kg and are designed so that they cover absolutely all parts of the body. But ... to complete these armor to the end and failed. The French changed the rules of the tournament and asked the British to change the tournament armor accordingly. That is why this armor was completed and was not. But the same year the king was made another, called “tonlet” or “steel skirt”.
As time was running out, the armor was clearly made in a hurry, so the masters went according to the “constructor” principle: they took some parts from some earlier armor and only a few for it were made anew. In this case, to show the "unity" of all its details should ... uniform engraving made on it with a chisel.
The armor came out pretty specific. First, he had a huge bascinet made in Milan (as evidenced by the stamp of the arms workshop of the city of Missaglia on the back of the helmet), but with a modified form of the visor. Bracers were made from the details of the old armor, and the leggings had special grooves for the spurs, which were required by the rider, but not needed for the walking armor. Shoulders - from overlapping plates - a distinctive feature of the workshop in Greenwich. Left (when viewed from the front) - of eight lanes, right - of seven. The skirt consists of nine bands at the front and rear, with loops on the left and secured with a belt and buckle on the right. Wambrasses and armor legs were probably made in Italy or in Flanders, and they were clearly taken for this armor from some older armor. The etched finish maintains traces of gilding and includes images of: St. George, the Virgin and the Infant on both sides of the bascinet and on the shoulder pads; The Order of the Garter is around the neck of the bascinet, and the garter itself is depicted on the leg to the left. The skirt was originally gilded and decorated with engraving depicting stylized foliage in the upper rows, and below - Tudor roses. The original decoration of the armor, at the time of its creation, may have been black, which created a bright black and gold checkered pattern. Judging by the size of the armor, the growth of its owner should have been at least 1875 mm. Weight xnumx kg