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Beautiful Monsters: Heroic & Grotesque Armour of the Italian Renaissance Dr Tobias Capwell FSA Wednesday 27 November 2019

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 Renaissanace psyche, noblemen began to self-identify in thos 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, and they met the challenge with some of the most magnificent expressions of their art.  Italian armourers, led by Filippo Negroli of Milan, mentioned y Vasari as "the greatest every sculptor in steel", transformed their patrons into living sculptures - the Greco-Roman ideal of physically perfect supermen or, conversely, scaly, reptilian monsters out of some medieval nightmare.

Toby is Curator of Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection in London and an internationally-acknowledged authority of Medieval and Renaissance weapons.  He is the author of numerous books on the subject of arms and armour, including Masterpieces of European Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection (2011; Apollo (Magazine Book of the Year 2012); 
The Noble Art of the Sword: Fashion and Fencing in Renaissance Europe 1520-1630
ex. cat. (2012); Armour of the English Knight 1400 – 1450 (2015; Military History Monthly Illustrated Book of the Year 2017); and most recently Arms and Armour of the Medieval Joust (2018). Toby also appears regularly on television, most recently on A Stitch in Time (2018; BBC4); as presenter and armour advisor on Richard III: The New Evidence (2014; C4), and as the writer and presenter of Metalworks: The Knight's Tale (2012; BBC4). 

In 2015 Toby had the unusual honour of serving as one of the two fully armoured horsemen escorting the remains of King Richard III, from the battlefield at Bosworth to their final resting place in Leicester Cathedral.