The Knight in Art: 1066-1918

Online course

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

The image of the armoured knight is ever-present in European art. This course explores the sources of its iconographic power, revealing the visual vocabulary that drives the expressive impact of many western masterpieces.

Learn from our world-class experts wherever you are, whenever suits you: watch lectures live or view the recording later in your own time. You can experience the full breadth and depth of the V&A's collections with 12 hours of study over 6 weeks. Learn at your own pace: lecture recordings and study materials, lecture notes, copies of the presentations, and additional study materials are available in our secure Microsoft Teams environment for 6 weeks after the course ends, so you'll never miss a thing. And finally, join the conversation: share your perspective with your fellow students, and support each other in your further enquiries outside of class time.

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course photo
Portrait of Course Leader Dr. Tobias Capwell

Course Leader
Dr. Tobias Capwell

Dr. Tobias Capwell is an internationally-acknowledged expert on Medieval and Renaissance Arms and Armour. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers of London, and the author of many books including the three-volume Armour of the English Knight (2015, 2021, 2022).

I have already booked onto my next V&A course online. I love the fact you can participate from home. The presentation, speakers and subject matter are always fascinating and excellent. Previous V&A Academy Student

Course overview

Beyond his role as a highly-trained warrior, the knight also had huge social and cultural significance, foremost, as the defender of Christendom. This status lent a special resonance to his appearance, both in life and in depictions of knights in art.

The knight’s armour was not just equipment for fighting. It was also a form of wearable art, which radiated visual statements about the wearer’s identity, status and power. These same messages were employed by artists working in other media by faithfully reproducing the knight’s image.

Exploring a thousand years of European art, with guest speakers including Angus Patterson of the V&A and Keith Dowen of the Royal Armouries, we trace the knight’s place in that story, as he dominated the cultural and military landscape (c. 1100-1550); through his military decline (c. 1550-1650); to his triumphant return as the champion of the Gothic Revival and the Medievalist movements of the Victorian and Edwardian periods (c. 1750-1918).


V&A Members get priority booking

Membership Priority Booking opens at 10am on Friday 13 October. General Booking opens at 10am on Monday 23rd October.

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Online course: The Knight in Art: 1066-1918

11 January 2024 - 15 February 2024


Call to book +44 (0)20 7942 2000

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+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 10.00 - 13.00, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)

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