Upcoming Tobias Capwell Events & New Publication!

We’re very happy to report that Tobias Capwell has a rather busy schedule for the next couple of months! First of all, he has contributed a chapter to the new book, THE FUNERAL ACHIEVEMENTS OF HENRY V AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY: THE ARMS AND ARMOUR OF DEATH, which is published by Boydell & Brewer. The author’s chapter is ‘The Funerary Helm of King Henry V: A Helm for the Joust of Peace, c.1390-1420’. Here’s the book’s synopsis…

Ground-breaking new studies of Henry V’s chapel, tomb and funeral service have new revelations and insights into the time.

Before Henry V set out in 1415 on the campaign which culminated in victory at Agincourt, he made a will laying down precise instructions for a chantry chapel to be constructed in Westminster Abbey after his death, so that he could be buried close to his saintly ancestor Edward the Confessor. Seven years later the king died at Vincennes, and his body was brought back for burial in the Abbey; the elaborate funeral took place on 7 November 1422. His chapel was probably finally completed in the 1440s, and remains a distinctive feature of Westminster Abbey to this day.

This book, stimulated by the 600th anniversary of the death of this iconic king, sheds new light on his funeral service and the design of his ornate chantry chapel and tomb. It also considers each of the “funeral achievements” — saddle, helm, shield and sword – traditionally associated with him. Drawing on up-to-date research by experts in each field, with exciting input from new technologies, it investigates the construction and form of the arms and weapons, as well as providing fascinating insights into the material culture and commemoration of royalty in the fifteenth century and beyond.

Capwell will also be taking part in a number of events in October and November. Fans of Tobias’s work should definitely add the following dates to their calendars…

Monday 24 October, 18:00- 20:00 — Wallace Collection, ‘In Conversation’ series — Capwell will be interviewing Philippa Langley, discoverer of the grave and remains of Richard III.

In 2012, Philippa Langley led the successful search for the grave of King Richard III through her ‘Looking For Richard Project’. Following seven and a half years of enquiry, she identified the likely location of the church and grave, leading to the sensational discovery of the remains of Richard III – a story told in the new feature film from Pathé, The Lost King, directed by Stephen Frears.

Tuesday 25 October, 18:00-20:00 — THE FUNERAL ACHIEVEMENTS OF HENRY V: THE ARMS AND ARMOUR OF DEATH book launch at Westminster Abbey.

Sunday 30 October, 18:00: Interview at the Riverside Cinema in Woodbridge, about his work on THE LOST KING film — a live event introducing the cinema’s first showing of the film.

1-4 November — Capwell will be in Lisbon, speaking at the Institute for Medieval Studies.

Monday 7 November, 18:00-20:00 — Wallace Collection, ‘In Conversation’ series — Capwell will be interviewing author and historian Dan Jones about Richard III, and also discuss the new film THE LOST KING.

Must history be transformed into mythology in order to be remembered? How can we tell the difference? Join curator Tobias Capwell and internationally bestselling author and historian, Dan Jones, as they discuss how the real history of King Richard III has become intertwined with myth and misconception.

Saturday 12 November — Capwell and six of his knights will ride in full plate armour in the Lord Mayor’s Show in London, to mark the 700th anniversary of the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers (Capwell is a Freeman of the Company).

Monday 21 November, 18:00-20:00 — Wallace Collection, ‘In Conversation’ series — Capwell in conversation with armourer Fred Ryall and historical costumier Ninya Mikhaila — they discuss THE LOST KING, and their work on the film.

Richard III is one of only two English medieval kings to be slain in battle. His image as a warrior dominates our view of him today – an image reimagined many times in popular culture. Now, a new portrayal has been created for the feature film from Pathé, The Lost King, directed by Stephen Frears. 

How Realistic are Weapons in the Movies…?

Today, we’re very happy to share with you a short video featuring Tobias Capwell. In ‘How Real is it?’, the curator of arms and armour at The Wallace Collection in London examines 11 memorable scenes featuring medieval weapons and armour, and gives his assessment of their used based on whether or not they are historically accurate.

Capwell takes a look at Sauron’s armour, flails and maces in The Lord of the Rings; he discusses the Corinthian and Greek influences behind the Mandalorians’ helmets; whether or not swords and shields are realistically used in Vikings and The Last Kingdom; whether or not it is possible to reforge a sword that is fit for purpose (as in Game of Thrones); and also various aspects of knightly combat.

Capwell has written a number of books and articles on weapons, armour throughout history, as well as books on knighthood and tournaments. In 2015 he had the honour of serving as one of the two fully-armoured knights who escorted the remains of King Richard III to their final resting place in Leicester Cathedral:

Back in June 2020, the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities hosted Toby for a lecture on ‘Armour and the Knight in Life and Afterlife’, which you can watch below…

‘Sir Capwell’ Escorts Richard III to His Final Resting Place…

Dr. Tobias Capwell, a client of the Zeno Agency, is Curator of Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection in London. As not only one of the world’s leading experts in his field, but also a skilled practitioner and key figure in the modern competitive jousting community, he regular appears on television and radio, and has written numerous books and articles.

Recently, however, he was involved in something rather unusual, even for him: he was one of just two horsemen in full armour escorting the remains of King Richard III on his final journey to Leicester Cathedral. The story was covered around the world, including this story in the L.A. Times.

Of the involvement in this historic event, he says: ‘I write and talk about the Middle Ages all the time, but I’ve never felt like a part of that history before. It was extraordinary to experience the medieval period crashing into the modern world like that. Magical.’

Toby was born in California and found his calling when, as a young boy, he visited the collection of medieval arms and armour at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. He now lives near London with his family.

2015 is a very special year for Toby. Not only is it the 600th anniversary of King Henry V’s victory at the Battle of Agincourt (25 October 1415), but he has recently written an appendix on armour for Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ new book Agincourt: My Family, the Battle and the Fight for France. This summer, Toby will be publishing his major study ARMOUR OF THE ENGLISH KNIGHT 1400-1450. Fifteen years in the making, this lavishly illustrated book will be the first of a series of three volumes telling the story of armour in England from the Hundred Years War to the advent of the Tudor dynasty.