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DateLecture
20 May 2020*CANCELLED* The Norman Knight; Arms and Armour and the Bayeaux Tapestry
15 April 2020*CANCELLED* Heritage from the Orient – The Birth of European Porcelain
18 March 2020*CANCELLED* Dame Zaha Hadid
19 February 2020Hidden Canvasses – Street Art and The City
15 January 2020Home Sweet Home: Victorian Interiors 1840 to 1910
18 December 2019Snakes, Saints and Pawnbrokers – The Truth about Christmas
20 November 2019The Queen of Instruments: the Lute within Old Master Paintings
16 October 2019Three Great Families and their Gardens; a History of the Astors, Rothchilds & Sackville Wests
18 September 2019David Hockney: The Old Master of Modern Art
19 June 2019Doctoring - a very fine art
15 May 2019Adventures among the Nomadic Tribes of Iran and Afghanistan - searching for the woven art of the nomads
17 April 2019Marks on Books or "What old books tells us about their owners"
20 March 2019Victoria and Albert - Art and Love
20 February 2019Lawrence of Arabia - Excavating a Legend
16 January 2019Sensation and Pleasure in 18th Century France
12 December 2018Christmas at Covent Garden: 300 years of Christmas Shows at one of London's greatest theatres (CANCELLED)
21 November 2018Gustav Klimt and the Viennese Secession 1900
17 October 2018How Time was Told through the Ages
19 September 2018Vivaldi in Venice
20 June 2018Vermeer's Shadow: Han van Meergeren, Master Forger
16 May 2018Adventures among the Nomadic Tribes of Iran and Afghanistan - searching for the woven art of the nomads (NOT PRESENTED)
18 April 2018The Art of the Great Parisian Fine Jewellery Houses: Joanna Hardy goes "behind the scenes"
21 March 2018Votes for Women! Art, Suffragettes and Female Politicians
21 February 2018The Cult of Celebrity: Omai, the Exotic and Joshua Reynolds
17 January 2018The Golden Section - Divine proportion in art and architecture
13 December 2017Singe we Yule - a musical portrait of a Medieval Christmas
15 November 2017A Child of Six could do it! -Cartoonists and Modern Art
18 October 2017The Dollar Princesses: American Women who married into the European aristocracy and whose wealth helped preserve houses and estates
20 September 2017Power, Propaganda and Men In Tights: English Art under the Tudors
21 June 2017Austen's Arcadia - The Life & Times of Jane Austen
17 May 2017The Gleaming Spires of London - an armchair tour of London's finest buildings from the Normans to Norman Foster and beyond
19 April 2017Tulipomania: A 17th Century Passion in Art & Collecting
15 March 2017The Great Twelve: An Introduction to the Senior Livery Companies of the City of London
15 February 2017Inn Signia: Pub Signs, the artwork & the stories behind their names
18 January 2017Leonardo da Vinci - Pathfinder of Science
14 December 2016Grandfather Frost & Old New Year: Russian Christmas
16 November 2016Cremona and the Golden Age of Violin Making
19 October 2016Out of the Blue: The Story of Blue in Art
21 September 2016J.M.W. Turner: The Sun is God
14 July 2016ABINGDON DFAS: Storms, Wars and Shipwrecks
15 June 2016'MARS AND THE MUSES' - The Renaissance Art of Armour. Please note - change of lecture
18 May 2016Lost on the Titanic: The Making of the Great Omar Binding
20 April 2016Gertrude Jekyll: Artist and Gardener
16 March 2016On Cupboards and in Drawers: When is a Cupboard Not a Cupboard?
17 February 2016The History of Windsor Castle and its Royal Occupants: 1080 - 2002
20 January 2016"Guerra! Guerra!" Music, the Arts and War: 1800 - 2000
16 December 2015The Development of the Christmas Dinner from Edward I to Edward VII
18 November 2015Treasures of the Silk Road - from China to the Mediterranean
21 October 2015In the Wake of Handel: the impact of Handel on 300 years of British culture
16 September 2015The Artists of Montmartre - "The Pilgrims of Babylon"
17 June 2015Beneath the City Streets - London’s Unseen History
20 May 2015The Consolation of Movement - the sculpture of Edgar Degas and Auguste Rodin
15 April 2015The Golden Century: Dutch Painting 1600-1700
18 March 2015All Done on Ginger Beer: the creation of English National Opera, The Royal Ballet and the National Theatre by Lilian Baylis at the Old Vic
18 February 2015Fabergé: The Life and Work of the World’s Greatest Goldsmith
21 January 2015Now you see it, now you don’t – The Art of Visual Deception

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*CANCELLED* The Norman Knight; Arms and Armour and the Bayeaux Tapestry Tobias Capwell Wednesday 20 May 2020

We regret that this lecture has been cancelled, but it has been re-scheduled for April 2022!

The Norman invasion of England in 1066 is commonly understood as the stage on which the medieval knight made his spectacular debut, fighting on horseback with spear and sword, trampling 'The Dark Ages' under the hooves of his warhorse and ushering in 'The Age of Chivalry'. Although there is some truth to this idea, the reality is more complex. Certainly the Norman way of knightly warfare was quite new in certain ways, as was their use of the image of the mounted knight in their art, foremost, the Bayeux Tapestry. This epic embroidery employs the knight in armour as one of its key visual elements. However, because Norman arms and armour is not very well understood by most historians, many of the subtleties of the 'tapestry' as a form of graphic storytelling have been overlooked or misunderstood. Here we delve deeper into the realities of war at the time of the Conquest to better appreciate the ways in which the Bayeux Tapestry was intended to be 'read' and interpreted.


Toby Capwell is Curator of Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection in London and an internationally-acknowledged authority on 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); ans 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.