Armour was never something I would cross over the street to see - until I started to look more closely at embroidery - and then something went ping! You are probably familiar with this portrait of George Clifford - I know him better as husband to Lady Ann Clifford, a lady after Bess of Hardwick's heart, I would guess - but that's another story. What might not be so well known is that under that rather alluring embroidered robe, he is wearing a suit of the most amazing armour probably ever made. It is in todays' money, million pound armour!
And here is the very same armour - in the steel - and you can get up close and personal with it in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. It is fabulous. The decoration of this etched blue steel costume is pure embroidery in my eyes.
And just so you know I am not hallucinating after all these years on the embroidery trail - look at this decoration here.
And here, where a garter has been simulated. There is a coat of armour belonging to Henry VIII which is smothered in roses, fleur de lys and pomegranates.
And why pomegranates? Because they were the personal device of his first wife, Spanish Katherine of Aragon - and here you can see a depiction of their marriage with their emblems above.
Suits of armour in Henry VIII's time and of Elizabeth were made at the The Royal Almain Armoury at Greenwich by German and Flemish craftsmen. Recently a whole book of designs of armour made at the Royal Workshops was found in the V&A - it is called the Almain (or German) Album and it contains 30 stunning designs - to see them all click here.
And if you are having problems finding a washer-up - this manly protection might just do the trick to lure some warriors into the kitchen - but do remember to keep anything breakable out of reach....You can buy the apron direct from the Historic Royal Palaces website - just click here for more details.