Horse Armor, Landeszeughaus (Styrian Armory), Graz, Austria

Horse Armor, Landeszeughaus (Styrian Armory), Landhaus, Graz, Austria

This majestic charger comes to you courtesy of Konrad Seusenhofer, master armorer to the stars. Once the property of Georg von Stubenberg-Wurmberg, it is one of only 7 complete horse armors in the world.

In the early 16th century, Seusenhofer had the good fortune to work for a famous patron – Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor. Maximilian was a rabid fan of jousting and tournaments, and kept his new employee more than busy. One of Seusenhofer’s most important tasks was to create an unusual suit of armor for the multi-spousal Henry VIII.

At that time, Henry VIII was still married to his first wife and behaving himself like a ‘umble Catholic should. By appealing to Henry’s overinflated ego, Maximilian was hoping to enlist the English king in the war against France. (The tactic worked.)

Henry’s armor is famous for its odd horned helmet. Due to its bizarre appearance, some once thought it belonged to Will Somers, Henry’s beloved court jester.

Full Horned Helmet by Konrad Seusenhofer | Date: 1511-14 | Object number: IV.22 | Royal Armouries Leeds

Although the rest of the armor was lost, the helmet survived. You’ll also see its ghost in the symbol for the Royal Armouries in Leeds.