Field armour of Henry Wriothesley

Contributed by Royal Armouries

Armour owned by Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton- Shakespeare's only acknowledged patron.  C Royal Armouries

Imprisoned for treason to Elizabeth I, then reprieved, Wriothesley was instrumental in the settlement of America.Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton was an important Elizabethan military and political figure. Campaigning in Cadiz, the Azores and Ireland, he also secretly married one of Elizabeth I's maids of Honour in 1598. After supporting the insurrection of 1601, he was sentenced to death and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Pardoned in 1603 following Elizabeth's death, he was made a Knight of the Garter. Southampton played an important role in the early settlement of America- serving as Treasurer of the Virginia Company in the 1620s. Southampton may have obtained this armour when in Paris in 1598 on a diplomatic mission. The armour's fired blue surface is acid etched and gilded with a design of entwined snakes and vines in the High Mannerist style popular in northern Europe in the 16th century. Purchased with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund, National Heritage Memorial Fund, Sir Emmanuel Kaye and a public appeal.

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Imprisoned in the Tower of London - 1601


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